Bullet Heaven 2 is an Action, Indie game that focuses on the player’s ability to survive thousands of bullets while dishing out damage with various abilities. The game is a spinoff from the Epic Battle Fantasy Series which was a game also previously developed and published by Matt Roszak. The game was initially released November 2015 on the web-browser gaming website Kongregate. A month later the game was published on steam where it followed similar trends of high praising reviews from the general gaming community.
The Bullet Hell genre is a niche sub-category of the shoot-em up genre and player’s familiar with Crimzon Clover, Touhou or Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved will find this game particularly enjoyable because of the unique aesthetic art style, gameplay and the games individual identity. However, for those new to the genre, the game caters to both veterans of the genre and new-comers alike.
The game does not contain a main plot, however it throws players thrown into various environments and face masses of colourful enemies as they progress throughout the game. While the plot of the game takes a back-seat, the game does provide an enormous amount of content through the variety of levels it provides. Bullet Heaven 2 consists of ten worlds and each world has seven levels. To progress, players must complete the first five before advancing onto the next. The minimum amount to complete the game is fifty levels, however players can go back and forth between worlds and choose the additional two levels freely. It is because of the variety of content that it offers various game modes such as survival and multiplayer/couch play. This adds more mayhem and panic to the already chaotic gameplay Bullet Heaven fires at you. Even for newer players, the gameplay is relatively easy to grasp in concept. Enemies fire in a manner that requires the player to develop their skill level and dodge the bullets. While the hitbox for the character is one pixel, for a screen filled with thousands of bullets it is very easy to get caught up in the path of the projectiles. Not only does the gameplay consist of various cheats for more fun and handicaps to score higher points to complete globally – Bullet Heaven has eight characters in total where the player can buy costumes and weapons through in-game currency earned based on the performance per level. This in itself made the game very rewarding and satisfying to play even at a casual level. It is because of the variety of content and mechanics of each character that gives the game its own individual flare in the genre – Through providing a unique experience that allows players to customize and share the gameplay with or without friends.
The graphics themselves are simplistic and stylized. Bullet Heaven 2 uses tons of cute monsters that are consistent with the games overall theme and aesthetic, boss battles look wonderful and enemies are constantly changed and updated in new ways to challenge players. The Characters use various expressions reminiscent of anime characters. One of the most unique things about the game is colourful bullets effects, the game is remarkably satisfying to watch with the boss battles bullet storm providing the most memorable effects with intricate patterns. Graphically Bullet Heaven 2 stands out from other indie-games because of the bright and appealing colourful style it uses.
With the game providing consistent graphics and gameplay, it is also providing intricate sound design as various levels and boss fights contain that added level of adrenaline as the mood of the music swings to the theme of the environment and the epic bullet storm players are about to endure. Along with the sound design, the controls are easy to grasp with a variety of ways to play the game. Roszak added a variety of ways to engage the game – whether that is controller/keyboard or the mouse itself. While unable to find the controls in the option menu, the first world of the game uses five levels to introduce players to core mechanics and gameplay they will be enduring. It is through the first world acting as a tutorial, newer player to the Bullet Hell genre can adjust to the fast-paced action. The difficulty of the game can be adjusted by several in-game options, three options (normal to heavenly) changes the paces and amount of bullets used by enemies. Newer players who are struggling at the normal difficulty can purchase cheats that will allow them to face levels easier while more hardcore players of the genre can add handicaps to compete on the leaderboards. It is through good game design, this game caters to players of any ability level and allows that element of replayability because of the cheats/handicaps.
Lastly, Bullet Heaven 2 builds on replayability through self-awareness and references a variety of other popular video games with the characters in-game both before and after a level is complete. The game provides enjoyable dialogue and helpful dialogue that not only gives characters a sense of personality but gives players helpful advice into strategies that will help them overcome a particular enemy. One point in particular the characters will even comment on the level and break the fourth wall with clever and witty banter.
In conclusion, Bullet Heaven 2 is a solid game that provides several hours of action packed gameplay. It is through the customization and gradual progression of unlocking in-game costumes and weapons that gives the game refreshing longevity and a variety of ways to play the game. This game is recommended for those looking for a fun, refreshing action packed shoot-em up with a unique art style and fun dialogue. Not only does this indie-game give itself a unique artistic stamp, but provides an enormous amount of content. Bullet Heaven 2 is a Bullet Hell indie-shooter that goes above and beyond the price tag and will certainly convince players to come back time and time again.
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