Mixing “bullet time” with “bullet hell”, “Redshift” does a lot of things that interest me in a shoot-’em-up (aka “shmup”). For one, all the levels are procedurally generated, so you never play the same grouping of levels twice. For another, though the levels are randomly generated, the patterns the enemies form in their attack waves are varied enough to be interesting, and the level bosses change their attacks partway through the battle when it’s clear that you’re making progress against them. The developer’s done a good job of keeping it challenging despite the random nature of it.
There aforementioned “bullet time” slow-mo element adds an interesting wrinkle to “bullet hell” games, making them accessible to people who normally find them frustrating. There’s more, though. “Redshift” offers you the choice between shooting a weapon with a wide (but weak) spread pattern that keeps your ship nice and agile, or a weapon that shoots a narrow hail of really deadly bullets but leaves your ship slower and vulnerable. And did I mention that the game has a “bomb”, which common enough in shmups, but to use it effectively you first have to navigate in close to the bigger enemies? If not, the bomb will save you from some enemy shots, but few (if any) actual enemies. And both the slow mo and bomb special abilities take fuel, forcing you to wait for them to recharge if you overuse them.
This is not the game you get for graphical variety, as every level looks a bit like “The Last Starfighter” for the Virtual Boy, you’re instead getting it for the interesting attack patterns and deliberately difficult choices about how to apply your special abilities. “Redshift” is executed extremely effectively, and absolutely worth checking out for 80 Microsoft Points.
Here’s what the developer (Daniel Aguisky) has to say about the game:
“Slow time to a crawl and weave your way through a sea of bullets as you blast your way through hundreds of levels! Redshift is a procedurally generated shooter, where each level’s enemies and boss are uniquely generated every time you play. With more than 500 levels of ever-increasing difficulty, there’s a challenge for everyone from beginners to bullet hell veterans.”