Title: Crimzon Clover: World EXplosion
Release Date: October 29, 2020
Reviewed On: Switch
There’s no shortage of shoot ‘em up arcade games, especially from indie developers who more-or-less keep the genre alive. When it comes to shmup games on Nintendo Switch, I feel like I’ve gotten used to a few lost frames here and there when the action picked up. However, developer Yotsubane has spoiled us with the release of Crimzon Clover: World EXplosion because not only is it well optimized, but it’s fun as hell.
Crimzon Clover: World EXplosion offers a few different ways to experience its frenetic bullet-hell stages. First off, we have the Arcade Mode, which is presented as the main mode. This mode is what the developer would like all players to experience, so it’s something that you should at least check out. It happens to be very approachable too; the punishment of losing all your lives mostly only hurts your ego but also takes away your points. Still, the more you replay the stages, the easier they become as you memorize the enemies’ attack patterns.
Novice Mode is also available, which reduces the difficulty dramatically, but still manages to give you a taste of the bullet-hell action. It’s approachable in many ways, and I found myself playing it if only to be able to listen to the soundtrack and chill for a bit while I shoot down some enemies. Then there’s Arranged Mode, which offers a series of challenges that I couldn’t even imagine being able to get good at. This is only because it’s similar to Original, but the developer has mixed up the bullet patterns, making it feel like a new experience. I feel like one of the coolest features is the Double Boost, which lets you use two bars of energy and completely wipe out enemies. Alternatively, you have homing missiles available to lock on and cause a few more hits of damage. I would say to remap the controls on Switch to have the shoulder buttons control your homing missile and boots because they are tied to the face buttons, which because uncomfortable.
Across each of these Modes are three different gameplay options, Original, Boost, and Unlimited. Original is merely the primary way to experience the game and is pretty straight forward no matter which mode you play on. Boost changes the difficulty throughout the game, depending on how well you’re doing. It’s a pretty fun mode and one that I found myself returning to.
However, Unlimited is perhaps the most fun as you can shoot down enemy bullets as they rain on you. It adds a strategic element to the game as you face hardcore versions of each boss. It is pure chaos and showed off just how well optimized this version of the game is on Switch. Even when the game was full of bullets, gold points, and enemies, the frames were consistent and never dropped. This is perhaps the first shmup that I’ve played on Switch that seemed to get this right, and I was in awe. Strangely, part of me begged for a frame drop if only to slow down the action.
There are three ships to choose from. While they have speed variety, the bullet patterns are a little too familiar. I just felt like I would have preferred some more variety in the ships, but it’s pretty cut and dry here with ships that will each get the job done. I didn’t feel connected to any of them and thought that I got just as far without dying, no matter which shipped I used.
Crimzon Clover: World EXplosion is a beautiful shmup with well-designed stages and some incredible boss designs. There’s just some super unique things that the developer does, such as after you shoot off every piece of a boss, he decides to try and squash you; I loved. I think the game was a little too short and wished that a few more stages were added for this release. I should also mention that there are options to save your replays and turn the screen to landscape mode for an authentic arcade experience.
Crimzon Clover: World EXplosion is the most well-optimized shmup available on Switch in terms of the port’s quality and accessibility. The added modes do enough to invite fans back to the bullet-hell action, and there are also user-friendly options to introduce the genre to newcomers. This is a must-play shmup that I couldn’t recommend more.
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