Habroxia 2 Review
Habroxia 2 opens with a message from the developer, Lillymo Games, thanking you for buying their game which sets the tone for the rest of the game. It’s just got a nice vibe. But is this twin-stick shooter any good?
This indie shoot ‘em up (shmup) takes traditional scrolling shooter gameplay and blends it with twin-stick style shooting mechanics and a pinch of roguelite progression. It’s clearly inspired by traditional old school retro shoot ‘em ups, most notably Konami classics like Gradius and especially Salamander with its love for mixing vertical stages in with the horizontal!
Instead of the forced directional shots of those games however you can aim your main shot in any direction with only your special weapons limited to in front and behind you. This gives the game a more bullet-hell feel than the more positionally focused games it is visually inspired by. This follows through with boss designs where your ability to learn and dodge bullet patterns is normally more important than where you are and where the boss itself is.
Most stages have multiple exits and in turn multiple bosses to take on whilst you are saving astronauts and taking on special enemies to complete objectives for currency. You can then spend that on upgrades between stages. Alternate paths cause your ship to change orientation which makes for some fun mental gymnastics the first few times it does it. Flipping your brain from horizontal movement to vertical movement can throw you off a little.
Visually the game has a suitably retro pixel-art look, again feeling a lot like the Konami classics of yesteryear. It all looks very clean and attractive with the important objects standing out well. Notably you’ll never not notice an enemy projectile, which is crucial.
Between stages you can upgrade your ship from the map screen. This is something you can do whenever you die which means you can always brute force your way through harder stages by grinding out earlier ones for money to beef up your ship. This helps make the game feel approachable even when you are having trouble with a particular level.
As well as your regular shot (which you can improve the spread and speed of) there is also a selection of special weapons you can attach to the front and rear firing positions of your ship. These take a second to recharge after use but can range from a powerful burst shot to a wide spread. On top of that, there are one use “super” weapons such as a wide beam laser or a screen clearing bomb that you collect in each level that gives you decisions to make whilst working your way through the enemy horde.
All in all Habroxia 2 is a fun shmup that puts a distinctive spin on the games of the past that inspired it. The shooting feels solid; the game is by no means a pushover and it all looks pretty and polished. If you are after something to waste a few minutes or a few hours on, you can do far worse than this.
Habroxia 2 (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Fun retro-styled twin-stick shooter that feels satisfying to play. Wears its early Konami inspiration on its sleeve whilst taking it to new places! Easy to recommend to shmup fans!