Minishoot Adventures Review


Games inspired by The Legend of Zelda are common; after all, Nintendo’s long-running franchise is one of the most influential franchises in gaming history. For this reason, various games take the Zelda format and try to recreate it, but these homages often lack the magic that makes this series greater than the sum of its parts. This is especially true in the indie space, where there are tons of Zelda-inspired titles making it challenging to stand out from the crowd. Minishoot’ Adventures clearly takes inspiration from Zelda – A Link to the Past in particular – but by applying the formula to the twin-stick bullet-hell shooter genre, it rises to the top.

In a clever twist on the Zelda formula, Minishoot’ Adventures puts you in control of a petite ship exploring a broken world. Navigating the map is fantastic thanks to sleek controls, an ever-expanding repertoire of moves, and a distinct, pretty art style. During your adventure, the main gameplay is based on fascinating and precisely refined dual-stick shooting. As you move from screen to screen, enemies appear and create battle arenas. These enemies range from petite ships with single bullets to dive bombing swarms, armored threats that leave a trail of bullets every time they fly forward.

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As you enter each battle arena, you face growing waves of enemies. Because each biome contains distinct enemies and arenas contain unique combinations of enemies, I eagerly awaited each drawn-out battle – often moving to the next area, hoping it would trap me and waves of enemies would begin to appear. During the most hectic moments, bullets flew at you in various patterns and sizes from different angles on the screen, but more often than not I was completely mesmerized by the tantalizing patterns that I had to navigate to avoid getting hurt. One of the things I appreciated most about Minishoot’ Adventures is that while the difficulty increases as you progress through the campaign, nothing ever felt unfair.

Even the bosses that appear at the end of each dungeon and throughout the world provide a stiff and engaging challenge, but never made me question the fairness of the task at hand. Don’t get me wrong: I died plenty of times during the approximately 10-hour journey, but only a few encounters knocked me out more than a few times. The only drawback is that on occasional occasions the camera tilts so far that it can be challenging to be precise while avoiding the incoming hail of bullets. However, for the most part, everything is perfectly framed, giving me enough space to clearly see my surroundings while still allowing me to move precisely between the gaps between the spheres.

Minishoot’ Adventures uses the top-down Zelda formula to great effect. Exploring the handmade map in search of secrets kept me up delayed many times. Each area flows naturally into the next, so I rarely get lost. Even secret areas hidden behind walls and trees are simple to spot; on occasional occasions I missed a visual clue to a secret or puzzle solution, but it was always my fault. There was never a point where I had to look for a solution or thought, “How was I supposed to know how to do this?” Everything in the world of Minishoot’ Adventures feels organic and satisfying.

Developer SoulGame Studio expertly encourages exploration with tons of tweaks; I loved taking on the racing challenges (which perfectly highlight the mechanics of star movement), but the main driver of my desire to explore was the extensive set of upgrades. You gain experience for each enemy you defeat, as well as for finding caches of red gems that grant experience; each time you level up, you’ll receive a skill point that can be spent on improving things like damage, fire range, movement speed, and more. The upgrades you unlock through leveling are helpful, and if an encounter ever seemed too challenging, I knew I could head to nearby spawn points to gain enough experience to level up those skills.

However, the biggest improvements come from modules and the orphaned friends you discover through dungeon completion and exploration. The friends you save heal you, upgrade your weapons, and even open up novel areas. Meanwhile, modules are scattered throughout the world map or sold in hidden shops. These modules, such as one that requires less experience to level up, one that tells you when a location on the map has more secrets, and one that gives you a petite chance to avoid damage when you get hit, are probably the most valuable items I found. Every corner of Minishoot’ Adventures offers rewards, and I found myself saying, “Just one more area,” long after I told myself I needed to step away from the computer.

With excellent operate of well-worn Zelda-inspired conventions and enough unique twists to set it apart from the rest, Minishoot’ Adventures delivers a unique hell-raising experience with less frustration than most games in its genre. I wasn’t 100% into Minishoot’ Adventures, but by the time I got to the end of the story I had experienced everything this game had to offer, which is a testament to how much I love this fun two-stick title. Minishoot’ Adventures bridges the gaps between genres with unique gameplay and thoughtful level design to deliver one of the best games I’ve played all year.

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