While Degica may be most well known on The Otaku’s Study for their releases in the RPG Maker game developer series, the company have also begun releasing English localized games under their “Doujin Games” division. The second game released in this collection has been Crimson Clover World Ignition, a “Shoot em’ Up” originally developed by the Japanese studio Yotsubane that was previously available only in Japanese arcades or the original DVD release that apparently is quite difficult to track down nowadays. But with the easy to access download services such as Steam, it has been possible for fans everywhere to enjoy the game for just $9.99.
“Shoot em Up” or “Shmup” games have been around for some time now, and have received an active niche fanbase both in Japan and internationally. Some including Deathsmiles and DonDonPachi Resurrection have even received console releases despite its niche appeal. It is clear to see why the genre is so appealing, as you take control of a player or vehicle that travels up the screen (or in some cases left-to-right), facing off against a countless number of foes at any one time that bombard the screen with an even greater number of “bullets” that your character must avoid being hit with. It is this vast number of projectiles and hazards on screen that resulted in the accurate term “Bullet Hell” being coined. What may first appear daunting however often provides a rewarding challenge.
Crimzon Clover World Ignition doesn’t test the shmup genre much, from my limited experience in it. You take control of one of three different ships (I, II or Z) with different movement and attack range specs and take on a variety of different chapters/stages. Stages take place across differently themed environments presented in a top-down view, with each providing a plenty of enemy military vehicles to target, culminated by a handful of genuinely challenging boss fights throughout. Attacks are split up into the usual trio of standard, lock-on and bomb types, with a bonus “Break Mode” activating if a bomb is used while the break gauge is full, increasing your firepower and point multiplier, and can significantly help out when in a bind. While I don’t have the diverse knowledge of shmup games as I am sure other reviewers do, I found the gameplay itself to be addicting and on top of all that, challenging.
One of my personal favorite features included in Crimzon Clover is “Boost Mode”, which shifts the difficulty depending on your skill level. Therefore it is theoretically possible to at least somewhat enjoy the experience irrespective of if you are a veteran or complete newbie to the genre – with difficulty, bullet density and bullet speed dynamically changing. The one potential issue with the mode however is that Break Mode has an unlimited duration unless hit or using a bomb, meaning there is some potential imbalance when trying to test and improve your ability.
Other modes include “Original Mode” which is the standard difficulty setting, “Unlimited Mode” which pretty much increases difficulty and bullet density to the max and “Time Attack” mode which is all about amassing the greatest number of points you can in a set time. The difficulty is further split up into “Novice” and “Arcade” difficulties, with Unlimited and Time Attack modes only available with the original arcade difficulty settings.
The highlight of Crimzon Clover World Ignition for me however was its high production values, presenting not only a challenge for the mind as you dodge dozens of bullets on-screen at once, but a pleasure for both the eyes and ears. Running at an almost consistent pace of 60 frames-per-second with no noticeable slowdown, the environment and sprite designs are well designed and animated, delivering a retro charm that clearly showed more than a little bit of effort went into designing them. The soundtrack is also fantastic and may be worth the extra couple of bucks purchasing the Digital Edition soundtrack as well.
While not really testing the genre, Crimzon Clover World Ignition proved to be an enjoyable gaming experience that provided plenty for its current $9.99 price point on Steam. Since the game launched, Degica have been launching updates every month or two, meaning we could see further additions made to it at a later date.