With Flying Red Barrel an actually old shoot 'em up finds its way on Steam. The English version of the game was released in 2009 and wobbled through the internet with two different translations. Over ten years later, the community's wish to be able to put the title in its Steam library was fulfilled.

There are only very small changes with the new version. The chapter headings have been slightly revised and some buttons get new functions that are common outside of Japan. So you can now pause the game with the Escape key, which was only possible in the old version by pressing "T". That being said, the English language version of the game remains.

Every beginning seems simple

With charming comic graphics and sometimes quite intrusive soundtrack, the shoot 'em up looks like a light pastime with cute characters and funny dialogues. As soon as you have checked the controls in the menu and plunges into the game, you will quickly be taught otherwise. It is not without reason that the title deserves the genre epithet "Bullet Hell".







Dialogues appear at the edge of our screen during the game. They tell the story of the game, which can result in 18 possible ends.



Dialogues appear on the edge of our screen during the game. They tell the story of the game, which can result in 18 possible ends.

Source: PC games




A mixture of coins, bullets, missiles and opponents crosses our screen and we quickly lose track and our three lives. In total, this can happen three times before we are thrown back onto the title screen. Back in the menu, we make the coins transparent and our hit box visible and lo and behold, the whole thing works much better.

However, we only get the hang of it after a few hours. Without instructions or an idea of ​​how the points system works, Flying Red Barrel is pretty stuck. With machine gun fire and a maximum of five rockets, we shoot everything from the sky with our small plane that can be hit. Each opponent leaves coins that reload our rockets and replenish our score. Each rocket also increases the point multiplier, which sets back extremely quickly. It is only when we start hurryingly throwing rockets around us that we see land and even get extra lives of random coins.

More story than you think







You quickly lose track of coins, missiles and hail of bullets. If you don't know how big your own hit box is, it quickly becomes a knockout criterion.



You quickly lose track of coins, missiles and hail of bullets. If you don't know how big your own hit box is, it quickly becomes a knockout criterion.

Source: PC games




But it doesn't make the shoot 'em up easy. The pressure to act aggressively and the constant rain of gold have something extremely satisfying. But what makes the hell of a ball ingenious is the story behind it. As the game loads, we learn that humans have only recently invented airplanes and as part of "The Guild" we are trying to clear the sky of pirates. We encounter many obstacles. Because as a young girl with a very small, plump airplane, nobody really wants to take us seriously. The story develops through conversations that appear on the edge of our screen. If this happens in a hectic moment, we unfortunately miss parts of the dialogues. Once the game is done, there is no reason to stop, because we have 18 different ends and all sorts of secret boss fights waiting for us. We unlock them, for example, by defeating opponents in a certain way – or by letting them go.

In the best half of the hour you need for a round, you will always experience something new. With three different levels of difficulty, which affect, among other things, the tactics of the bosses, you cannot complain about too little challenge.

Flying Red Barrel: The Diary of a Little Aviator (PC)

Challenging gameplay
Exciting story
Multiple playable ends
Secret bosses
Allows only very aggressive games …
… but does not point this out
Very difficult even on “easy”

The multi-faceted history of Shmups makes up for many hours of tearful attempts to try to master the game.

bargain


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