Rockin Android, a company based in Los Angeles, specializes in licensing and publishing niche genre games. Recently, they were at Anime Expo 2009, showing off this game at the booth. We thought it looked interesting and checked it out. Suguri Perfect Edition includes both Suguri, a side scrolling shooter, and Acceleration of Suguri, the multi player expansion set that will give players a completely new experience.
This Game VS Every Other Shooter
Most side scrolling shooters look the same, they featuring minute differences that only fans of the genre would notice. Lately, the genre only seems to try to become harder and harder, focusing on overwhelming players with bullet patterns that make one millimeter the difference between life and death. The Touhou series gives players 0.3 seconds to fire off a bomb to avoid death after being shot, while Mushihime-sama differentiates itself with insane bullet patterns that most humans can't dodge. Suguri takes a different approach and provides a means for the player to fly past bullet patterns, making it more accessible to casual and newer players.
Suguri's defining feature is its dash ability; with it, players can go through beam projectiles without taking damage and charge up their super meter for explosive attacks. If you try to dash through solid projectiles like missiles and bombs, however, you would be stopped dead in your tracks and take damage. This, in addition to a heat gauge that will overheat when the player dashes too much, prevents players from abusing the feature and go through the game dashing nonstop.
The other big difference between this and other shooters is that, rather than dying from single shots and having multiple lives, Suguri gives players one life and a health bar that depletes as the player gets shot. While it sounds like there's no difference between the two, this difference mainly affects the player's psychology. Seeing more health and not feeling the imminent danger of death, players are more prone to try risky tactics during play. The initial impression is that the game is easier, but with only one life and no continues, Suguri is as hard, if not harder at times, compared to established shooters like the Touhou series.
The lack of continues is a definite downside. Even insanely hard shooters, such as the Touhou series or Mushihime-sama, offer continues to allow players to keep playing despite any mistakes they may make. That way, even in insanely difficult shooters, casual players can experience the majority of the game by constantly continuing. In Suguri, however, players must constantly memorize the stage to prevent taking careless damage. Dying at any point in the stage means having to start all over again, easily turning off most gamers. This seems to be a contradiction with the dash feature: one attracts newer players while the other keep them from enjoying the full game.
Another big difference between this and other shooters is its lock-on feature. Instead of only being able to shoot straight or in certain patterns, the player's weapon locks on to enemies, allowing free movement while shooting. As a result, this game's feature is more on dodging rather than aiming at the enemy. At times, it felt fun to be able to just dodge and keep shooting at enemies, but at others, it felt like I was on auto drive – constantly dashing through projectiles while shooting. Casual players may find this to be a great experience, while hardcore players will definitely be turned off by the lack of multitasking compared to niche shooters that require players to both aim and dodge bullets.
Graphics and Art Style
For the most part, the graphics are par for the course. Because this game is a 2D shooter, you really don't expect much from it. For the most part, it looks good enough. There are times when it looks beautiful; mainly when the CG particle effects appear during hyper attacks. At other times, it looks terrible because the characters look like something a random Oekaki user drew. The average graphics aren't a drawback, given that this is a niche game, but it is something to note.
For people used to 2D shooters, Suguri's rendition of a girl flying through space, shooting guns, is nothing out of the usual. If anything, it seems average compared to the flying shrine maiden, demons, and magicians in Touhou. However, be warned if you are not used to this genre: there are an abundance of flying girls shooting at flying robots in this game.
The soundtrack is fun to listen to and definitely provides the right atmosphere for the game. The music is mostly house and electronic, but at times blends in some jazz. Overall, its relaxing tone makes the game relaxing to play as well. Few tracks are intense, and when they are, the level is usually tougher and has more enemies to match.
Acceleration of Suguri: Why You're REALLY Paying $20
Suguri has some interesting features, but none of them seem to add up to making the game worth the $20 it costs. So what is the real draw? Thankfully, when Rockin' Android released Suguri Perfect Edition, they included Acceleration of Suguri, an expansion to Suguri. While most expansions to games are more of the same, Acceleration of Suguri creates a new experience for gamers using the Suguri engine. Instead of a shooter, this is a fighting game made with Suguri's engine. Obviously, it isn't a fighting game like Street Fighter where motions do the specials; instead, players are given more ways to execute different moves, mainly by combinations of button presses. This is a rather accurate translation of the fighting game concept to a shooter's engine, given that “hadouken” and “sonic boom” motions would affect movement in a shooter too much.
In Acceleration of Suguri, players still get two weapon attacks, the dash, and hyper attack. In addition to those, players also get a special attack button. Players’ attacks change based on whether or not they are moving and whether the special attack button is held. These different combinations are easy to do, yet all provide different attacks that can be utilized differently. Just like a fighting game, learning the right combos and situation to use these will lead to victory.
The music, combined with the game-play make for a memorable experience. The fast paced action with players dashing around, dodging and shooting each other is accompanied by fast paced electronica is reminiscent of the versus mode in Zone of the Enders 2, minus the terrible camera. Players have to think quickly, utilizing different attacks to do everything from shield themselves to shooting the enemy. Although quite simple, this mode is very fun, capable of keeping a gamer's attention for days at a time as long as they have someone to play with.
While Suguri itself is an average shooter with some interesting game-play features, its expansion, Acceleration of Suguri is a really fun experience and well worth the purchase. Suguri may find itself appealing to casual players, but not as much off hardcore players; however, the expansion can satisfy anyone looking for a fun experience. It's hard to find a rival to the fun, fast paced versus mode in Acceleration of Suguri, which is reason enough to buy Suguri: Perfect Edition.
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