Day 38: Score Rush

Posted: 2010/12/17 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #38, and today’s game is “Score Rush”.

Shoot-’em-ups, recently shortened to just “shmups”, are games where you face unending (or nearly unending) waves enemies. Classic ones include the likes of 1942, Raiden, Galaga, and hundreds (perhaps thousands) more. In the classic shoot-’em-ups, the screen scrolled either vertically or horizontally and you shot straight ahead.

Robotron 2084 changed that by popularising the dual-stick shooter, a genre recently reinvigorated by Geometry Wars, but it didnt’ scroll. Then the classic scrolling shoot-’em-up was reinvigorated by the release of so-called “bullet hell” shooters where the screen was so full of bullets that in harder levels you could barely see the scenery below.

Score Rush brings together elements of all of the above. It’s a dual-stick shooter with the bright neon look of Geometry Wars. Enemies come at you only from the top creating that sense of constantly barging forward like the classic scrolling shooters. And the number of shots being fired by both sides ramps up at an insane speed. Yes, Score Rush is a bullet-hell dual-stick shooter, the first that I’m aware of, and a very good one.

To give you an idea of just how many shots are screaming around the screen, in my second game I notched 376 kills after firing 73,755 bullets, and dodging 2707 income enemy shots. Simply navigating the playfield becomes the biggest part of the challenge, as the difficulty ramps up and the screen fills with shots. The game’s backgrounds are appropriately subdued as you won’t see a lot of it, and you wouldn’t be in a position to pay much attention to it even if you could.

Notably, the game supports multiplayer gaming for up to 4 players simultaneously.

This game was my first bullet hell shooter, and a great introduction to shmups for people who are more of the Geometry Wars mindset. It’s only 80 Microsoft Points, and a great pick-up-and-play game for short gameplay sessions. Recommended both for fans of dual-stick shooters and bullet-hell shmups.

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  1. I don’t generally like bullet hell games or twin stick shooters, but Score Rush is so simple to play and smooth to control that I can’t help enjoying it.

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