Welcome to the first Freeware Friday of 2013! This month we’ll be ringing in the new year with a bang as we look at a collection of shmups from across the sea. First off, let’s look at a bullet hell game by the maker of the Blue Wish series, X_X Gameroom. So, load up on some caffiene and get ready to fight some demons for their huge eating utensils, cause it’s time for Eden’s Aegis
Eden’s Aegis is a rather typical bullet hell vertical shooter; you dodge tons of enemy shots while piloting around your ship (or in this case, schoolgirl) and firing back at enemies and bosses using your own weapons. The games also usually give you a small hitbox, letting you more easily dodging the enemies assault. The gameplay is rather zen-like in a way, with you finding the path of least resistance to achieve victory. Combined with the colorful bullet patterns and the genre is actually rather artistic… and it has explosions, lots and lots of explosions.
Still, I wouldn’t be talking about this game if there was not something special about it. So, what makes this different, than say Mushihime, Radiant Silvergun or one of the Touhou games? For one thing, this game can actually be beaten by the average gamer with a few tries. The controls (which can be customized) are simple: ‘z’ to shoot, ‘x’ to fire a bomb, and ‘c’ to fire your special attack. Also, the bullet patterns are pretty easy to work with, especially since the most frantic moments will, by default, slow down, giving you more time to find gaps to go through. There’s also three difficulties: Heaven, Original, or Hell and the game gives you nine continues (three lives each). Finally, the game lets you take more than one hit a life if you have spare bombs. Considering you get three bombs a life, you technically have 90 lives to beat a game with. With all of these factors, you should be able to get through at least Heaven difficulty with a few tries.
That’s not to say that the game can’t be difficult though. For instance, you can turn off the slow-down to make the patterns a LOT harder to dodge. You can also turn off the ability to trade bombs for extra hits, meaning you’ll have to manually use the bombs to block bullets. You can also unlock two additional girls (each girl has a different way of shooting bullets and special attacks) to play as by meeting high score objectives. Not to mention, there is a secret boss you can only fight by doing well on Hell difficulty. If you want to get ready for a Touhou game, try taking her on with the options previously mentioned to make the fight even more difficult. Speaking of Touhou, though, fans of that series will probably find this game too easy.
On the aesthetic side, the game is a bit hit or miss. The music, while catchy, will not be remembered outside of gameplay. There is one exception: the secret boss actually has a very well-thought out piece that is surprisingly good. On the other hand, the art style is just strange. The game was made in 2010 but the non-anime style pixels look like something that would be done on an early Saturn game. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the monsters and background look almost like paper cutouts. Considering that this is a game where magic girls who can only be killed when a jewel shaped spot on them gets hit, the strange looking enemies make me wonder if the makers of “Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica” played this game while writing the scripts. Finally, there’s the plot, or rather the lack of one. Now, fans of this game did tell me the names of the bosses, but my best guess at the plot is that several cosplayers dropped a string of narcotics and hallucinogens and then chased after three other cosplayers who stole their swag while hallucinating that all the con-goers were enemies.
Overall, Eden’s Aegis is a great introduction into the bullet-hell genre, with its multitude of lives and difficulty options making it accessible for newer players, but still fun for more experienced gamers. While it may be too easy for the hardcore bullet hell fans of games like Mushihime-sama, this is definitely worth playing if you have even the slightest interest in the bullet hell genre.
Download the game HERE
Next week we’ll take a look at another game by this developer and also take a look at an old-school classic.
Freeware Friday is a series by Gabriel B. that focuses on exemplary (or sometimes just plain weird) entries into the freeware genre of indie games.