Sunday, February 24

Review: Devil Engine [Nintendo Switch eShop]


If you’re a massive fan of shooters, the Switch has been an incredible console to own thanks to a wide variety of indie developers. With options that run the gamut from more accessible to brutal, roguelike to bullet hell, and pretty well every combination you can imagine there has also been a great deal of variety. Falling into the school of a very challenging bullet hell side-scrolling space shooter we now have Devil Engine, a title that looks amazing, has tight controls, and may just make you want to cry.


Mechanically the controls are pretty simple. You’ll be able to shoot, set your rate of speed between 3 levels, use one of your “bombs”, or trigger a burst. The burst is probably the most notable feature as it ties to your score multiplier and has an element of risk/reward to it. When you’re in a jam using the burst will negate enemy fire within its radius. However, if you don’t manage to absorb enough enemy bullets at once you’ll end up depleting your multiplier which will also make the radius of your burst slightly smaller.


In general, by grabbing power-ups you can change your moed of firing between spread, laser, and homing fire, and these can make you want to change your approach. Specifically when using the laser, which is obviously very powerful against anything directly in front of you, it may be a good idea to keep things slow since you’ll need to maneuver near walls and won’t want quick movements in that case. Where the other firing modes have their bombs act more as missiles with the laser this will also just temporarily give you more firepower, so getting to know how everything works and feels tends to be important up front.


As you play you’ll unlock “very easy” mode (most deceptively-named mode ever) and a variety of fun visual tweaks that you can enable in the Extras menu for some fun. In general the degree of challenge is unrelenting, which is fine, but there are some spots where it can move into the territory of being a bit unfair. In some boss fights and general situations you can be destroyed by debris aside from bullets but it’s not always clear what may be lethal to you. There are additional appropriately-named Challenge modes you’ll slowly unlock and these will definitely put your skills to the test, but in a variety of more unique ways.


Overall, this is in no way a game for casual shooting fans, it is for hardcore shmup fans who are thirsting for their next serious challenge. If you’re willing to invest the time in understanding the nuances of the game, where it’s best to use what firepower, and how to deal with the game’s difficult bosses there’s plenty here to sink your teeth into. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there are plenty of alternatives available on the eShop.

Score: 7.5

Pros:
  • Has an incredibly cool look
  • Absolutely delivers a serious challenge for veteran shmup fans to dig into
  • As you play more new aesthetic features and more will unlock

Cons:
  • In general the only options for difficulty are Brutal and Brutal-er
  • There are times when it can be frustrating because you can’t tell what you’re being destroyed by
  • It’s really only going to appeal to hardcore shooting fans