Kairuga Freeware Review

You've probably heard of the shmup Ikaruga, to some the greatest vertical shooter ever made, to others a game which over relies on memorisation to such a degree that it’s no fun. If you are of the former then you'll love this game as it's homage to it. Kairuga is an almost perfect copy of the first level of Ikaruga, while it does miss parts of the level out, the main aspects including the end of level boss are there, and so people who have played the original will feel right at home. For those of you who don’t know how Ikaruga works ill explain since the game mechanics are quite different to the average shmup. The game has a polarity system where you will meet red or white enemies (red and blue in Kairuga's case) you're ship can switch between having a red or white shield so if you’re ship was red bullets wont harm you only the white bullets do, also you're shot changes colour and a red shot will do twice the damage to a white ship. Also as you are hit by the same colour bullets as you’re ship you will 'eat' the bullets that fills up a meter that allows you to fire off homing missiles, the missiles are also coloured so they will also massively damage ships of the opposite colour.

With such game mechanics Ikaruga is as much thinking mans game and a memorizer as it is a twitch / manic mans game. If you played Ikaruga as a normal shmup you wouldn't last very long since you won't be so much dodging all the bullets, quite the opposite you’ll be trying to eat as many as possible. Something which can put some shmup gamers off, but if you perceiver you'll find yourself wanting more and more since the object of Ikaruga isn’t to survive but to try to get as many points as possible in a perfect run. And to facilitate this is the scoring system that awards you for bullets eaten as well as shooting the enemy. Ikaruga / Kairuga has a chaining system where for every three ships of the same colour you destroy, the chain counter increases by one, chains don't have a time limit like most other games and can only be cancelled by destroying a wrong coloured ship, this will reset the chain counter back to zero. For high scoring, chaining means everything as for the 1st chain you are awarded 100 points that is doubled for every other chain on the counter. This makes devising a way to get the most consecutive chains the main challenge of this type of game. In Kairuga you can get a maximum counter of 85 if you chain everything, (no chaining during the boss fight).

Kairuga's graphical style as you can see uses the minimalist and abstract neon style used by Kento Cho (aka ABA Games) and has been copied by everyman and his dog especially for arena shooters like Geometry Wars and its clones. This style used in Kairuga is actually a good thing as the red and blue ships are easy to see without there been no distractions enabling you to concentrate squarely on the action and getting as many chains as possible. The sounds are ripped straight from Ikaruga which imo is no bad thing as it gets the player even more into the spirit of things.

While Kairuga is homage to the original it doesn't copy it totally. I’ve never played Ikaruga but ive read comments on other gamers who say that the enemies in Kairuga shoot more bullets, are allot harder to kill and you can't destroy most of them by ramming them with your ship, and that your ship moves abit slower as well, making for a harder game of a game thought to be very hard by many gamers. While this might be a gripe for some Ikaruga players, I think that considering the shortness of Kairuga it is a good thing. I do have a couple of gripes of my own and that is that I wish the game maker who is Kairos btw would have added an online leaderboard like the original. Also while I realise this is supposed to be a 1 level mini game, the level could have been just a tad longer with a few more waves of enemies included. The biggest gripe I have is that there is no gamepad support which for a shooter as complex as this is unforgivable. So out comes Xpadder yet again to save the day.

Kairuga is a great little piece of freeware. While I can't see seasoned shmuppers who have commercial games including Ikaruga in their collections spending much time with this game. Gamers like me who are relative newcomers to the genre, don’t have Ikaruga or any other commercial shmup and want to try playing a harder game for a change but don’t want to commit to a full length hard shmup with 5 plus stages. Kairuga allows us noobs this taste of what a pro level game would be. We can really get into it and try our hardest to master it and get the best score. And then when we’ve had enough quickly move on to the type of shmups we usually do play. The shmup in my case a game that I would be able to 1cc in 2-4 weeks depending on how committed I was at that time and not a 6 months to a lifetime game like Ikaruga. Another great thing about Kairuga is that it gave me a taste to see if I could stand the real game, and I can truth ally say thanks to this great little game i'm a Ikaruga convert, All bow down to Ikaruga!!!  3.3 out of 5

Here is my current highscore, what's yours?

 P.S. Thanks to having to redo several runs of Kairuga due to Camstudio ghosting, the video i've posted is by far not my best run so why don't you check out the creators video at the game download link thats here
He will show you a method of getting a full 85 chain combo, but I do recomend you dont watch that video or any other super play video posted as it takes away alot of the fun from the game. Kinda like using a FAQ to play a RPG game. Anyway why dont you post your highscores in the comments of my You Tube video and get a little highscore board going. At this moment in time my best is 2036170 and a chain of 44/85 plus a rank of average this is all in normal difficulty. BTW playing in hard mode gives you an advantage since the more bullets the enemies shoot the better your score will be. So there you have it, get playing and show us your high score!

 Sorry for the delay in my posting, i genrally like to only have an handfull of shmups (among some other types of games) that i'm playing at one time, so i like to try to 1CC or finish a game before moving onto a new one. This and the fact that Camstudio and my video editor don't seem to like me and are always throwing spanners in the works makes the job so much harder. I intend to make another couple of posts very soon so you guys are not waiting too long.

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