Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Mimi in The Sky (X Box 360)


 Along with zombie-themed Minecraft knock-offs and creepy photo-based dating sims, twinstick shooters are one of the most common genres on X Box Live Indie Games (how odd it is typing that in the knowledge that before long, we'll only be able to refer to it in the past tense. I really hope we don't lose the ability to play the games we've bought). Most of them don't really have any way of standing out from the crowd, though there are some exceptions. Early example I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 stood out despite the tired zombies premise through its unique " dancefloor at a dingy rock club" atmosphere. Mimi in the Sky is another one that stands out, though its unique nature lies more in its mechanics.

You see, the game's main hook is that it's a twinstick shooter with the design sensibilities of an arcade shooter, if not the prodction values (though that's obviously forgivable considering the circumstances of its existence). Like a lot of Japanese shooters in this post-Touhou world, you play as a flying little girl, beset from all sides by ghosts, witches, flying squirrels and other enemies. As you destroy them, two things happen. The most immediately obvious is that they release a load of grey numbers. These are points items, the bigger the number, the more the points. Also, the closer you are to the enemy when they're detroyed, the bigger the numbers will be. The other thing is that a meter at the bottom will gradually fill up.

When that meter's full, you can use the right trigger to perform a dash. The dash is a useful move, it provides a split-second of invulnerability and destroys any enemies through which it passes, no matter how big. Destroying enemies by dashing fills up yet another meter, which is activated as soon as it fills, starting fever mode. Fever mode offers no perks regarding your ability to destroy enemies or avoid their attacks, but instead vastly increases the scoring potential. While fever mode is in effect, the grey numbers will be multicoloured, and worth vastly more points.

As the game goes on, bigger and stronger enemies appear, and from the point at which the large witches floating in the foetal position appear, you can stay in fever mode almost continuosly (as dashing through one of them is enough to completely fill the meter). Shortly after this happens, though, the game gets a lot more dangerous, as thicker hordes of smaller enemies start appearing, along with enemies that fire aimed lasers that go right across the playing field, as well as enemies that fire rings of revenge bullets in every direction and so on.

Mimi in the sky is a pretty good game. It's no threat to Chieri no Doki Doki Yukemuri Burari Tabi's crown at the top of XBLIG shooting games, but it's worth the 69p it costs to buy it. It's listed with its title in Japanese, so to save you the bother of trying to find it yourself, here's the link.

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