Other than its mischievous charm and unforgiving difficultly, QP Shooting Dangerous!! offers no more or less of an experience expected from the bullet hell genre. Still, for the fanatics and devotees – that should be more than enough.
Title: QP Shooting Dangerous!!
Genre: 2D Shoot-em-up, Bullet hell
Developer: Orange_Juice (Published and localized by Fruitbat Factory)
System: PC (Steam Store)
From the wild and whimsical minds that brought you 100% Orange Juice, developer Orange_Juice brings out the equally eccentric QP, one of the many characters from the aforementioned title to star in her own game: QP Shooting Dangerous!!. Being no stranger to the shoot-em-up genre with the Suguri collection, QP Shooting Dangerous!! can be thought of more of the same yarn complete with off-the-wall humor, comfortable controls, and surprisingly, really tough. In fact, absurdly tough. If games like Touhou and Gradius are up to your pace in the genre, it is a very strong chance that this one will feel like home as it borrows several common conventions germane to those titles as well as add a few dastardly rules of its own.
Thinly veiled, the gist of the story (if you want call it that) features QP in search of her beloved pudding that has gone missing and beating up her fellow acquaintances in the process. Really? She couldn’t just go the store and buy more pudding? If you think that sound ridiculous – it only lends itself to some of the inane humor littered throughout the game limited to dialogue in the form of puns and senseless conversations. Of course, you will probably be paying that little heed rather than trying to scramble through it, especially for what the gameplay has served up.
QP Shooting has two very simple game modes: “Arcade” and “Conquest” – both of them offering the same 5 stages to run through, with some minor caveats attached. No matter which you pick, you are relegated to the same scheme of selecting a play style from 3 choices and importantly, choosing up to 3 formation styles to use. Akin to “Options” in Gradius, formations are special load-outs that determine how you will be able to fire at enemies and a major item of consideration. With 28 formations types available in the game (many you have to purchase using R-points you obtain), mixing and matching diverse types is fairly important if you remotely want to have a chance of succeeding. For example: the shield formation might be great for fending off foes from all sides and complement your defensive play style, but you might want to appraise the value of using the tail for concentrated rear support or twin cannon for wide-spread frontal coverage. When do finally get done with configurations, the game plays out like any other shoot-em-up: enemies unleashing curtains of colorful bullets as you dodge and do the same in kind. However, another key difference in QP Shooting is that you can intercept attacks as well as even stop them completely by defeating the enemy. Doing so will turn the enemy and bullets into stars, adding to your score and boosting the number of R-points you will earn. If you do find yourself in dire straits or contesting with more numbers than you can handle, entering “Hyper Mode” via the X key will give you a temporary boost in power for a limited time and depending on the play style you choose earlier, also the duration it will last and even the duration you can take bullets without it being counted against you.
While this all sounds great and fairly easy to contend with, the bosses in QP Shooting are the one of them more annoying aspects thrown at you. Like any other hell bullet game, the objective of boss battles is to dwindle down their HP across multiple phases. The same holds true here, but since bosses can guard against damage (represented by their HP bar turning blue), one phase of a fight can last around 5 minutes if you are playing on more taxing settings. Even when they are not guarding, the bosses battles can still be pretty formidable and learning patterns is a very viable skill in itself- the only one that is probably of use. Manage to clear a stage and you get your final score along with R-points earned and move to the next…but if you fail (aka all your lives go byebye) that is too bad…because there are no continues in this game. Remember the “caveats” I alluded to? That is one. Of course, if you were playing on Conquest mode your progress is saved (opposed to Arcade) and the last stage you cleared, you can go from there. The only other caveat is that you can not alter your formations and play style – so even if do purchase a new formation from the shop – you can only use it on a new file or delete the old one. Arcade mode is free those restrictions, as it does not logging progress, so test out play styles and formations as you wish.
Despite the irrevocable charm and “get good” type of sentiment the game invokes, there are a few shortcomings included. The two modes of play is the most prominent – both very similar and offers only minor changes. The difficulty modes are also a problem – more along lines seemingly unbalanced: Easy is not exactly all that easy (only if to reduce foes bullets) and Hard doesn’t seem to up the challenge. That being said, while it is a game that newbies can probably get into, I would personally advise against it and more likely to appeal to the doujin and veteran danmaku crowd. Although, if you are able to handle the aforementioned Touhou (or anything close to it), you are very likely to fair well and probably like QP. Other than that, if you like your bullet hell titles sadistically punishing (and why wouldn’t they be), no extra frills, and contains some affable sense of humor tacked on for good measure, this will be another average title right home in your library.
Pros: A few nice twist to the shoot-em-up genre, nice soundtrack manual included,
Cons: Difficulty levels seem unbalance, only two gameplay modes
Note: Do you own 100% Orange Juice? If so, owning this game will unlock a new character in it. QP (Dangerous)! Don’t worry, she won’t be replacing the original QP and will be able to you as soon as you active this title.
Disclaimer: In no way, shape, or form was I compensated for the composition or publication of this review. This by my own volition. A review copy of the game was kindly provided by Fruitbat Factory. All images and rights to them belong to Orange_Juice and for review purposes only.