Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 25.07.2017

Review for Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst on PC

It's inconceivable that space, as vast and infinite as it is, could ever be conquered. Surprisingly, that's exactly what Mecha-warl is planning. This empire, known far and wide for its cruelty and ruthlessness, has built an army capable of wiping out entire planets. In order to combat this threat, four heroes from all over the galaxy band together. Though they're facing insurmountable odds, they can take solace in the fact that their valiant effort will be remembered. Once again, it's time to descend into the depths of bullet hell.

Bullet Soul was a solid 2D shooter that didn't quite reach its full potential. This could be attributed to its rather strange design decision. No matter the scenario, as long as an enemy is destroyed, their bullets would instantly disappear. Bullet cancelling is a fairly common aspect of danmaku STGs, but there has never been a title where it was this prevalent. The scoring system, which revolved around playing as aggressively as possible, lent the game a fair amount of depth. However, bullets being so easily cancelled also trivialized large portions of it.

Screenshot for Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst on PC

Nevertheless, 5pb stuck with this odd concept, and in doing so have crafted a thoroughly superb update. Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst is not a true sequel, but its numerous changes and additions make for a game that feels really fresh and unique. Even to someone who has spent several hours on the previous entry, this one is still liable to feel like a brand-new experience. Various other aspects have also received some much-needed polish.

As with the previous edition, there are multiple modes of play. In normal mode, the four returning heroes contend with the evil empire, only this time with new enemy layouts and bullet patterns. On first glance, everything seems overly familiar, but players will quickly notice a number of improvements. Just like before, the scoring system involves staying as close to the top of the screen as possible. The redesigned stages serve to better support this style of play. It's easier to pursue high scores, and the level of difficulty is more natural. The four playable characters are also a bit more balanced, with better defined strengths and weaknesses. However, Loop is still the favourite for chasing high scores, while King Sadahl tends to fall behind.

Screenshot for Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst on PC

Burst mode is reminiscent of a late 90s shmup titled Dangun Feveron. It's a sci-fi and…disco themed shooter, with a scoring system that revolved around rescuing cyborgs, although "discomen" might be a more fitting description. Anyway, it was a very manic game. As expected of the genre, enemy ships filled the screen with bullets that travelled at near-blinding speeds. Further complicating matters were all of the cyborgs. They'd tumble out of every destroyed ship, prompting pilots to rescue them. Potentially thousands would appear in each stage. If one discoman happened to travel off-screen, then it resulted in a significant loss of points.

Aside from being more forgiving, Burst mode plays out in much the same manner. In order to achieve that all-important high score, players must chase down coins, as they fall from the remains of every shattered foe. There's also an emphasis on speed and efficiency. Destroying adversaries quickly will cause new waves to take their place. These factors make for a mode that's as complex as it is chaotic. Enemies will attempt to box pilots in by surrounding them in a sea of bullets, so that they miss out on precious coins. In the mad dash for currency, there's always a chance that someone will get distracted, and suffer a quick demise.

Screenshot for Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst on PC

Learning this mode requires an understanding of the Infinite Burst. Destroying enemies will cause a gauge to rise. When full, the heroes can enter a powered-up state. Alongside enhanced firepower is the opportunity to collect significantly more valuable coins. Utilizing this ability at the right moment is also important. Infinite Burst is powered by the almighty dollar, and will stay active as long as tons of coins are being collected. Also, the gauge rises more quickly depending on how close the player-ship is to the top of the screen. There are a number of other elements to account for as well, including the myriad of hidden bonuses. Altogether, burst mode is awesome. It's a fitting tribute to the golden age of STGs.

The bancho and caravan modes also make their return. Bancho is essentially the score attack. Select a stage, a character, and attempt to get a high score. It's simple but effective. In Caravan mode, players are given two minutes to…what else? Obtain loads of points. The scoring mechanics from the normal mode apply here, so focus on playing as risky as possible. There's also an unlockable mode. It's called "Musou" and it's more a neat bonus than anything. The hero is in a constant state of Infinite Burst, so it's basically an excuse to obliterate everything. All of the modes have online leaderboards, which is very nice.

Screenshot for Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

In short, Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst is a better structured and more confident shmup than its predecessor. The normal mode adds a fine coating of refinement to the neat scoring mechanics and solid level design. The new enemy layouts and bullet patterns are great. Burst mode is where this game really comes into its own. It's very exciting to scramble for coins while tearing through seemingly endless battalions. Although there's a lot of work in managing two rapidly deteriorating situations, it never gets old.

Developer

Mages. Inc.

Publisher

Mages.

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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