Friday, September 7

Review: Shikhondo - Soul Eater [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Bullet hell shmups got off to a bit of a slow start on the Switch but have now gotten to the point where they’re pretty well-represented and fans of the genre have some great choices. Attempting to get a piece of that pie the developers behind Shikhondo: Soul Eater have put together a pretty impressive and challenging package, with an art style and bosses that are sure to get your attention. With your goal being the destruction of yokai that have escaped from Limbo, lead by some truly insane-looking bosses from Asian mythology, Shikhondo is an intense visual feast.

You’ll have the choice of playing as one of two different characters whose style and abilities aren’t terribly different but who do offer some variety. The rules of engagement are pretty typical for the genre, you’ll be trying to shoot everything that comes at you while trying to dodge the mass of enemy fire filling the screen. While you have a limited number of “bombs” you can use the real firepower comes through building up your meter, which you do by flying close to enemy bullets (which isn’t too hard to do, there are always plenty around), and then unleashing your very powerful super attack.

You’ll have a handful of options to change up play with Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulties, a Novice mode, and even a Custom mode where you’ll be able to toy with some options that will affect some rules which was nice. There’s an option to play co-op but honestly with these sorts of games there’s already plenty on the screen without adding a second person, but regardless it’s a nice choice to have. In contrast to a few of the other titles in this genre already on Switch there isn’t an option to rotate the screen to play in vertical mode but since that is often more of a novelty than a game changer it’s hard to say that’s a major crippler. Online leaderboard support is included as well, so if you’re into it you’ll be able to compare your best performances with others in the community.

The draw for Shikhondo is absolutely its gorgeous and unique art style, featuring some absolutely freaky-ass looking bosses in particular. Aside from the visuals it’s not necessarily as distinctive from its competition but with the exception of the genre-leading Ikaruga I wouldn’t say there’s anything clearly better than it either. If you’re a shmup fan who likes a challenge and is intrigued by its unique artwork Shikhondo is a well-made experience at a pretty reasonable price.

Score: 7.5

  • Incredible artwork with wild-looking bosses inspired by Asian mythology
  • A number of ways to change up the basics of play
  • Challenging without being cruel

  • Aside from the visuals it’s a bit more run-of-the-mill
  • No support for vertical mode if that’s important to you
  • In handheld mode, though this is a problem with this genre in general, it gets tougher to see all of the bullets flying easily