This game is fantastic. Anyone else pick it up? The controls are perfect, this is what the Wii pointer was made for. Not a full review, but here are a few things I loved (spoiler free):
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy cool powerups as much as the next guy and there's definitely fun in getting ZOMG SUPER LASOR with MEGA HOMING BOMBS and FORCE FIELD PROTECTOR all that, but there is a purity to the gameplay here, which is something you rarely see in an age where every practically game has RPGish build-your-character/ship/vehicle elements. Not to mention, it is frustrating in traditional shooters when you die on a boss, lose all your power-ups, and are stuck trying to take on the boss with three bombs and one little pew-pew laser. Here, when you resume at a checkpoint after dying, you know you have everything you need to handle what's coming. You have a normal shot, a charge shot, a melee attack, and a dodge move. The game is all about mastering this small repetoire, and it is beautiful.
Scoring system & leaderboards
Trying to get the maximum score out of each level is really addictive. I don't automatically enjoy chasing high scores in every game, but this one is really compelling. I like that getting hit affects your multiplier, but doesn't completely wipe it out. (Link's Crossbow Training was a bit maddening in that respect) The leaderboards also are a nice measuring stick and motivation to improve, cracking that top page is supremely satisfying. I'm PUDLGLUM on the online leaderboards, I've cracked the top 8 international on the Stage 0 boards on Easy and Hard, working on Stage 1 right now, languishing around 15th.
It's a lot of fun learning how bosses attack, what their weaknesses and nuances are, and how you get get the most points out of them. Then once you've learned all that, it's fun kicking their tails over and over again. None of them are the same and it's very rarely "Just keeping shooting the thing and dodging bullets until it dies", a problem found in many shooters. The first time I played the Snapper Keeper (Stage 1 final boss), I was overwhelmed by it's size and how great it looked. I barely beat it and wondered if I could really learn to beat it without getting hit. I literally shouted with excitement the first time I discovered the alternate ways to take him down. And even now, when I can beat him 90% of the time without getting hit, he's still a blast to play against. That is good boss design.