Gundemonium Recollection
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 10

If you like “bullet hell” shooters then you will have a blast with Gundemonium Recollection. Five levels might not sound like much but be prepared to spend a lot of time with this game if you truly want to master it. With a wealth of weapons and some really challenging gameplay you’ll be coming back to this one again and again.

Gameplay: Daunting if you are new to the genre, but loads of fun and very challenging.

Graphics: Nowhere near cutting-edge but very stylish and cute.

Sound: The new arranged soundtrack is excellent

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Gundemonium Recollection

Developer: Platine Dispositif | Publisher: Rockin’ Android | Release Date: 2011 | Genre: Action / Indie / Shooter | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam

Do you know what the term “doujin” means? Are you familiar with the “bullet hell” sub-genre? Do you like retro style Manga visuals? Does flying girls with big guns sound appealing to you? If your answer to all of the above is “yes,” then let me introduce you to “Gundemonium Recollection,” your soon-to-be favorite game.

I am not even going to try to explain the storyline behind this game. Suffice to say it is set in some bizarre alternate version of the 18th century where the misuse of alchemy has given rise to some rather interesting problems. You play as a member of the “Rosenkreuz Foundation” but it never becomes clear why exactly your enemies consisted of cute girls, bunny ghosts and Halloween pumpkins. Rockin’ Android, the company to thank for bringing this Japanese Indie game (doujin) to Western audiences, has done a good job with the translation, but it still does not make a whole lot of sense. You do not need to understand what’s going on to have fun, however, although how much fun you will have will depend largely on how much you like the genre.

You see, Gundemonium Recollection is what is known as a “bullet hell” shooter, which, as the name suggests delights in throwing more projectiles at you than what you would think is humanly possible to dodge. If you are new to the genre, this is quite alarming as your character sprite is huge and bullets come flying at you in solid waves. Fortunately, your character has a very small hit-box, indicated by a tiny heart-shaped accessory. This means you are able to deftly weave your way through the bullet patterns, even with your entire character virtually obscured. That is the idea, at least. On my first few tries, the bullets thrown at me felt like impenetrable walls, but with some more practice and dialing the difficulty back a bit, I started to make some headway.

To the uninitiated, Gundemonium may seem like a very simple and straightforward game, but spend some time with it and you will discover a lot of depth. While there is only five levels, they are all broken up into sub-sections and infested with more enemies than you can shake a very large stick at. While you are limited to shooting forward, enemies can appear from any side of the screen, testing your dodging reflexes to the maximum. There is a “slowdown” button, which slows only your character’s speed and nothing else, which is handy for precision movement.

Scraping past enemy bullets also build up your “friction” meter, which helps to recover your mana faster. It also increases your “Phase” level, which ups the difficulty, but provides bigger scores. Mana is used for special attacks and if all else fails (and it often does) you can activate your screen clearing bomb, provided you have one available. If you want to up the challenge even more, you can activate “demonic shift” at the cost of one life and your mana. This sets the phase level to 11, which may sound like suicide, but can bring in tons of points if you can survive. Not such a simple shooter, after all then!

Don’t worry if all this sounds a bit overwhelming. There is a “Novice” mode to help ease you into the game by limiting the phase level, automatically activating counter bombs and disabling demonic shift. You can increase the amount of lives to up to five as well, but then your scores will not be recorded for the online leaderboards. As soon as you become proficient, you can move up to the “Revised,” “Unlimited” and demonic modes for a real challenge. A practice mode lets you test your skills on specific levels, but there are some ultra-hard “mission” modes to unlock as well. The inclusion of some challenging Steam achievements gives you even more reason to keep returning, although unfortunately there is no multi-player mode.

Visually the game looks like something from the SNES era, but if you are a fan of retro 2D titles, this should not be a problem. The resolution is locked at 640×480, which makes it impossible to play on a window if you are running your monitor at HD resolutions. It works fine in full screen, but beware, those pixels are huge. The background detail is a bit sparse, but considering the amount of bullets heading your way at all times, this was probably a wise design choice. The Japanese visual style is very cool and reminded me a bit of classics like Parodius. All the enemies are scantily clad females, but there is nothing too risqué and besides, you will be concentrating so much on avoiding their projectiles that there is no time to ogle them. The character sprites are all huge (not just because of the resolution) so it takes some getting used to, but I like the effect. You have two main characters to choose from, but one is actually a clone and can be customized weaponry-wise into one of 64 different combinations. If you are good enough, you might even find a third unlockable character.

Since “Recollection” is actually an enhancement of the original Gundemonium, the soundtrack has received some TLC. While I am sure the original tunes were good enough back in the day, the arranged versions put them to shame. This is one of those games that you can play non-stop and still want to own a soundtrack for. The sound effects are about standard for what you would expect from the genre. I played the game with an Xbox 360 gamepad, which worked like a charm, but the keyboard controls are just as manageable.

If you are a fan of the genre, Gundemonium Recollection is a must buy. In fact, buy the entire Gundemonium collection (3 games) and show some support for “Rockin Android.” With some intense gameplay and very wallet-friendly price tag, you will definitely be getting value for money. I hope that we will be seeing more games of this caliber on our screens soon.

*Review originally published September 2011.

System Requirements

  • Operating system: Windows® XP, Vista, or Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel® 1 GHz Processor (Recommended: 2 GHz)
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM (Recommended: 512 MB RAM)
  • Hard disk space: 500MB
  • Video: DirectX® 9 level Graphics Card
  • Sound: DirectSound-compatible Sound Card
  • DirectX®: DirectX 9 or above
  • Operating system: Windows® XP, Vista, or Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel® 1 GHz Processor (Recommended: 2 GHz)
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM (Recommended: 512 MB RAM)
  • Hard disk space: 500MB
  • Video: DirectX® 9 level Graphics Card
  • Sound: DirectSound-compatible Sound Card
  • DirectX®: DirectX 9 or above

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