Rolling Gunner (Switch, PC)

Rolling Gunner is a 2-D horizontally side scrolling shooter available to download on Switch and PC (reviewed on Switch here).  This game belongs in the sub-genre called ‘bullet hell shooters’ where you must dodge and weave through sprays of bullets as you blast the baddies.  There’s a story behind all this, but all you really need to know is that you’re a futuristic flying craft and you shoot everything that moves.

Enemies come from all sides but luckily the screen will warn you where they come.  You have another ace up your sleeve as well.  Your ship is followed by a secondary little satellite that also shoots bullets.  It kind of reminds me of the Options from Gradius, or those other side ship thingies from shooters like R-Type or Gaiaires.  By releasing buttons or holding down certain other ones, you can make that side ship rotate and shoot in other directions.  The only problem is that it was a little confusing how you make it stay in one place, or shoot freely in all directions.  The controls aren’t bad and they have lots of tutorials and a section with printed instructions, so it may just be me, however.  You also have a limited supply of screen clearing bombs.

You have lots of choices in this game.  You can choose between three ships, each focusing on power, speed, or balance.  I especially like how many difficulty modes there are.  I’m not very good at these types of ‘bullet hell shooters,’ but luckily there are modes for all types of skill levels.

Aside from the slightly confusing controls, the only other minor problem I had with the game is the 3-D graphics and themes are a bit generic and lack the charm of Taito shooters like Darius or Metal Black.  And the sole major problem is that it’s only single player.  Not having a 2P co-op mode is a bit inexcusable.  But otherwise, this looks like something you’d find in an arcade and if you are craving a classic styled bullet hell shooter on your Switch, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Kid Factor:

You shoot futuristic aircraft and robots that explode when defeated, and that’s about as violent as it gets.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, but not necessary just to play.  Younger gamers may find it a bit too difficult, though.  Rolling Gunner is rated E for Everyone.

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