Bullet Hell games have never been my forte when it comes to actually performing well at them, but there’s always been something about dodging thousands of bullets at once that’s incredibly stimulating. Not having touched a game like this since Ikaruga, I wasn’t sure how I’d fare with Danmaku Unlimited 3. Suffice to say, although my skill level is way below the threshold of someone who can say they’re a shmup master, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game.
You’ll start off picking a difficulty which ranges from easy to how the hell am I going to get past level one. I went with the middle difficulty for my playthrough and found it gave a good balance of challenge and fairness. Danmaku Unlimited 3 follows the tried and true formula of gunning down hundreds of minor enemies before facing the stage boss.
Bosses are an absolute blast to fight and require an intense amount of precision and hand-eye coordination to beat. While I will admit, my pride will not let me play games on anything lower than Normal and I was only able to reach level four, the bosses and mid-bosses that I did get to tackle were worth the effort and offered a high level of challenge for newcomers to the series.
New to the game is the Graze system which rewards skilled players who have the tenacity to avoid the oncoming onslaught of bullets, but just enough that it grazes your ship, which adds to your trance meter. This in turn adds a deeper layer of skill to the game that veterans of the series or bullet-hell’s in general will likely enjoy. I on the other hand, was having trouble just on the normal difficulty due to my inexperience with bullet-hell’s in general and was unable to really test out the Graze system to its full potential.
When it comes to Japanese bullet hell’s, one of the most important aspects of these games are the music and Danmaku Unlimited 3 definitely delivers. Japanese indie band BLANKFIELD supplied the music for the game and definitely gets you into the zone with its awesome metal ballads. Each level features a different theme with the first level having one of the hypest tracks I’ve ever heard in a shmup.
Particles and bullets will caress the screen as you make your way through each stage. While the visuals are certainly a treat and are definitely on the prettier side of things, I ultimately had eye strain after playing for extended periods of time. This is partially due to my own vision not being the best, but since I could only play for about 30-40 minutes each go, it definitely detracted from my overall enjoyment with Danmaku 3. If you don’t have any visual issues, you’ll enjoy a beautifully rendered game with an exorbitant amount of particle effects and explosions.
Although this is probably my shortest review for a game, due to having a lack of skill to actually beat all the stages, and a stubbornness to not go into easy mode, I can easily recommend Danmaku Unlimited 3 to anyone who has a passing interest or passion for shoot-em-up’s. With gorgeous visuals, a fantastic soundtrack and plenty of challenging stages, it’s honestly insane that just one man was able to release such a polished game.