Shoot 1UP
| Shoot 1UP

The term 'bullet-hell' is an unusual one. Under which conditions could bullets flying at your head ever be considered a good thing? And what does bullet heaven look like, anyway?

Shoot 1UP plays along with shoot-'em-up conventions in its portrayal of this bullet-hell, with swarms of glowing neon bullets surrounding your fighter craft at pretty much all times.

However, in a couple of other respects the game lobs the rule book out of the window. Then blasts it into smithereens for good measure.

Give it a shot

This is a solid 2D shooter in which you drag your auto-firing craft around the screen, blowing up enemies, engaging in boss fights, and collecting bonuses.

The biggest twist on the 2D shoot-'em-up formula here is the 1UP system - as you might have guessed from the title.

If a shmup deigns you worthy of a second or even - perish the thought - third chance at running the bullet-hell gauntlet, it's usually a case of reinstating your craft with a few moments of invulnerability and a hit to your highscore.

Shoot 1UP takes the novel approach of putting each and every one of your spare ships to work at once. Collect a 1UP and the ship joins you on screen to add to your firepower.

See you in another life

You can end up with dozens of space ships on screen at once in this way, if you're good, though they can just as easily be stripped away from you with each direct hit.

The trade-off for more firepower is that your expanding fleet becomes harder to manoeuvre through the streams of bullets. You can expand or contract your formation through a familiar pinch gesture, which is handy if fiddly to execute in the heat of battle.

Another fresh idea implemented in Shoot 1UP is the ability to blitz all of the bullets in your immediate vicinity with your shield, which is achieved by tapping the screen.

Naturally this requires decent timing to execute, and a bit of a recharge in-between pulses.


Shoot 1UP is full of clever little spins on typical 2D gameplay. There's an extra mode you can unlock after while that lets you vary the game's speed (thus increasing the score multiplier) by tilting the handset.

The game even offers you a branching path that reminded us of the Outrun series. Going for the trickier route isn't just a case of ramping up the difficulty, either - it can lead to the action moving to a brief (and rather awkward) free-roaming model.

Whilst its ideas are generally bright, however, Shoot 1UP's execution isn't always quite so accomplished. The graphics are a little basic and bland, whilst the aforementioned control and perspective innovations aren't as smoothly integrated or fleshed out as they could be.

Ultimately, something like DoDonpachi Maximum remains a more satisfying 2D blaster to play, but Shoot 1UP is bursting with enough fresh ideas to be well worth a download.

Shoot 1UP

A surprisingly fresh 2D shmup that's bursting with interesting twists on the formula, though these concepts occasionally outstrip the execution
Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.