I've come to think of top-down shooters in much the same way that you might think of a beautiful woman: dazzling from a distance, but difficult to comprehend and likely to leave you flummoxed.
DoDonPachi Maximum claims to be a more modern shooter, drawing you in with the neon glow of its visuals but then refraining from destroying you in the traditional bullet-hell manner.
The level system is forked, OutRun style, with the game automatically deciding whether you head down the easy or the difficult path.
But neither route is particularly gentle on the thumbs. This is still a game for bullet-hell purists.
Hell for heroes
The game is played in portrait orientation, with ships streaming in from all sides and unleashing patterns of laser fire in your direction.
As you dodge this onslaught your ship fires automatically, and this fire changes form and strength should you manage to hold out. There's also a boost that builds throughout play - deploying it clears the screen.
The game never really ends. One level rolls into another, and if you manage to keep plodding on DoDonPachi Maximum is a non-stop assault on your reactions. Which is exactly what fans of the genre demand.
Crash and burn
Aside from its unfortunate habit of crashing during start up, the biggest problem with DoDonPachi Maximum is that it's not as accessible as it purports to be. Like most of Cave's shooters, it will appeal most to fans of hardcore bullet-hell punishment.
Despite swisher visuals than its cousins on iOS, DoDonPachi Maximum is more of the same rather than anything revolutionary. If you enjoyed the studio's other bullet-hell shooters, you'll probably enjoy this one too.
If you didn't, this isn't the game to win you around.
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