05th Mar2019

‘Devil Engine’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

devil-engne-header

There’s a story behind how I chose to review Devil Engine, I was going through the weekly list of games I’m sent from Nerdly and watching their trailers on YouTube to get a feel of each title and genre when I came to Devil Engine and loved its energetic music, pixel-based visuals and huge boss fights. As the trailer continued, I casually turned to my girlfriend and said, “This game looks awesome but I’m not very good at bullet-hell games so I’m not sure if I should review it or not, I’ll probably give it a skip”

To which she responded, without looking up at me… “…loser”

So I’m reviewing it.

Devil Engine is, as mentioned above a bullet-hell shooter with a 16-bit art style, pixel lovers rejoice. The gameplay takes centre stage here with each level being an intense challenge and including both mid and end of level bosses which are not shy. Your craft is fragile and can only take one hit before bursting into what the Persians used to describe as ‘flames’, meaning that the dodging or absorbing of enemy fire is critical to proceeding through the levels. The control scheme quickly becomes intuitive with multiple buttons allocated to certain actions (surprisingly handy for different control styles) and a burst mode which absorbs enemy fire for a fraction of a second, this especially really requires tactical usage on the more hectic segments…which accounts for most of the game.

For players such as myself who simply don’t have the skills to master bullet hell shooters on Very Hard mode, there’s an unlockable easier mode which was far more my scene and pace. This is a nice touch as it opens up the possibility of enjoying the game to a wider audience and is much appreciated. I found myself having a twenty minute crack in the mornings, the frantic weaving and pulsing music definitely helped to wake me up!

devil-engine-screen

There were aspects of Devil Engine that reminded me of the Mega Drive classic Bio-Hazard Battle in the style of weapons and visuals, which I have absolutely no problem with as it was one of my favourite games on the system…although I wasn’t particularly good at it, natch. It has that same cohesive vibe of music designed to get you in the zone and satisfying weapons that churn through enemies, as well as offering up enough of a mix to cater not only for all play styles and skill levels but also weapons that are more effective in certain areas, I was also a big fan of the backdrops which added to the overall ambience. The bosses are a challenge even on the easy mode with bullet absorption being key in order to have a hope of winning. I also enjoyed the nice touch that allows you to unlock extras after each run, whether it be different visual styles, difficulties, extras or more continues, it adds another layer of longevity to the game which kept me coming back for more.

Whilst Devil Engine isn’t a mould-breaker, it really is one of the best horizontal shooters I’ve played in recent times. I clicked with the visual style and love the sound track and level of skill required in order to proceed, it really was moreish. I firmly believe that, on the standard setting the difficulty would provide a challenge even for veterans of the genre but it also lends itself to being more accessible for those mere mortals among us, making it a relatively rare example of a game that could be used as an introduction to the genre as well as a scoreboard-melter for those who want to get hips deep. All in all, I’m a big fan of Devil Engine and I’ve never been so glad to have been called a loser.

Right, I’m off to try and make it to the end without hearing that massive pinched-guitar dive-bomb note that signals a game over.

Devil Engine is available in the Nintendo eShop now.

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