If you're a fan of bullet-hell shooters then you already know it's possible to kind of lose yourself in a trance when you play.

Something about squeezing yourself down the thread-thin alleys of safety is curiously relaxing, even when you're forced to do it over and over.

Well, don't expect much in the way of peace or time for reflection when you play Don't Shoot Yourself! This highly-challenging shooting game has nothing to do with outmanoeuvring bad guys. You are your own worst enemy.

The ship that hates itself

In Don't Shoot Yourself!, you pilot a tiny triangular ship (flashback to Asteroids on the Atari 2600) that constantly belches out bullets for as long as you move. If one of those bullets ricochets off a wall or another blockade and hits your ship, you're dead.

It gets worse. Most of the arenas you visit are small and irregularly shaped, making it difficult to gauge how your bullets are going to react.

Controlling your vessel is a simple matter of using the single digital joystick on the side of the screen (you shoot automatically as you move), but if you stop for even a moment to catch your breath the level-ending countdown to zero starts rapidly climbing, undoing everything you've done to survive until that point.

Get a gold star for surviving

The longer you survive in an arena, the more stars you earn. In other words, if you make it to the halfway point you may see a star for your trouble. Stars allow you to move on to new areas, but - as is typical of most mobile skill games - Don't Shoot Yourself! demands a toll for unlocking later levels.

That means you should have plenty of time to perfect your technique when you go back and attempt to three-star earlier levels. You may even find yourself surprised at how dexterous you've become with practice.

Not that Don't Shoot Yourself! is an easy game to condition yourself at. The challenge level is, frankly, insane at points. Dodging ricocheted bullets is one thing - at least those are mindless projectiles. Wait until you meet the demonic turrets that swallow your shots and turn them into heat-seeking missiles.

There's only so far your hand-eye coordination will take you with Don't Shoot Yourself!, too. There are levels that utilise invisible walls. No joke. You have no idea what your shots are going to bounce off, nor do you get much of a clue about what angle they're going to fly back at. It hardly seems fair.

Give it a shot

Don't Shoot Yourself! isn't a casual experience by a long shot, and its tight arenas and tricks and traps probably won't sell the game to shoot-'em-up fans that grew up loving console classics like Gradius and Axelay.

It's certainly a unique take on the genre, however, and people who don't feel challenged by contemporary bullet-hell titles (surely there must be some) will definitely want to see how long they can go before they inevitably shoot themselves in the wazoo.