Fasten your seatbelt.
Another entry into the niche market of shoot ‘em ups (shumps), Crimzon Clover WOLRD IGNITION was released on Steam in June of 2014. Over the years shoot ‘em up games have almost become synonymous with Japanese developer CAVE, who have done a lot to keep the genre thriving. Yet Crimzon Clover was created by Japanese one-man-band indie developer Yotsubane. It is certainly impressive that a single individual is behind a game of this calibre.
Let’s get out there.
Crimzon Clover features three standard game modes: Training, Novice, and Arcade. The game is extremely accessible. I finished Novice mode in less than 1 hour and felt as though that run through was the perfect introduction in terms of getting to grips with some of Crimzon Clover’s tougher challenges. It didn’t last too long and I didn’t get bored. The player is offered a selection of ships to employ, which all play differently. In fact, this difference is immediately noticeable, and it encouraged me to try each of the ships across a variety of game types.
Multiplayer: Local co-op
Break out hit.
When it comes to controls, the game keeps things simple. There are only three buttons: one to shoot, one for homing missiles and the last for a special attack called Break Mode. This special attack has been smoothly integrated into the gameplay. It’s a simple feature: as the player wipes out more enemies, a meter at the top of the screen fills. When it reaches a certain point the player can drop a bomb, or choose to continue to fill the meter. When the meter is full, the player can unleash an incredibly powerful attack that lasts, in certain modes, until they next get hit. There is also the option to launch a double break, which is an even more spectacular version of break mode.
Yotsubane does a good job of incorporating this feature so it flows naturally within the frenetic action. There is an element of strategy involved in terms of whether the player should use bombs when they become available or build up the meter, exercising restraint and waiting for break mode to become enabled. In my time playing Crimzon Clover, this decision-making process became second nature very quickly. Due to the pace of the game there isn’t really any time to mull over strategy. Instead, the choice between the two is made naturally during the ebb and flow of the gameplay. I found it extremely intuitive. At times I would be using my bombs as soon as they became available because I knew I was under too much pressure to wait for break mode, as bombs have the added benefit of removing enemy bullets from the screen. At other times I took advantage of a less intense wave of enemies to max out the meter and then enjoyed the immense satisfaction that came from subsequently wiping out anything that crossed my path.
I found the same method applied to boss fights. In some instances building up the meter was a good strategy. In others, the bombs were much more effective – almost as a defensive rather than offensive strategy.
Don’t forget to blink.
Visually, Crimzon Clover tries to accomplish a lot within a small space. Shoot ‘em ups often embrace this characteristic of frenzied-yet-organised chaos when it comes the hordes of enemies that assault the player from every angle. Crimzon Clover is obviously no different, yet it occasionally becomes too much.
The design is certainly fantastic. The backgrounds are attractive, the enemies are detailed and the variety of opponents give the game a distinctive and energised feel. However, the relentless pace of the game sometimes made it extremely difficult for me to distinguish what the heck was going on at times. Part of this is, of course, the nature of a good shoot ‘em up – it’s affectionately known as ‘bullet hell’ for a reason. The player is supposed to feel overwhelmed. For the most part, Crimzon Clover strikes this balance well. Sometimes, however, things tip over from organised chaos into a disorganised mess which takes over the entire screen, making it difficult to even identify the player’s own ship at times. In these instances, I was tempted to just close my eyes for a few seconds, hold down fire and hope for the best.
The spike in difficulty between Novice and Arcade mode also struck me as very steep. In my first Arcade play through I was burning through the game’s generous supply of continues incredibly quickly.
Crimzon Clover WORLD IGNITION is a good, fun shoot ‘em up game. It is probably best served in small doses, but certainly never gets boring and is worth the asking price. It has a nice look and a pulsating soundtrack that perfectly complements the onscreen carnage.
The game is addictive enough to offer good replay value. Shumps are inevitably about beating high scores, and Crimzon Clover WORLD IGNITION also has a nice selection of Steam Achievements to further challenge the player.
Finally, the game is very accessible: there’s no need to be a certified shump veteran to enjoy it. One of Crimzon Clover WORLD IGNITION’s primary strengths is that it’s easy to pick up but difficult to master. There is definitely enough here to make casual players feel welcome, whilst encouraging hardcore shump fans to keep coming back for more.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.