Azure Reflections brings back the fun arcade feel of Japanese shooters to the Switch. Welcome to the next side-scrolling bullet hell for Nintendo. If anyone has seen the JonTron video on Japanese shoot ‘em ups, this game fits right in. The combat is simple and easy to understand and has a fun few twists thrown in to defeat bosses quickly and efficiently. While it may seem strange, for those who like bullet hell side scrollers, this game may just be for you.
While there isn’t much of a story line to Azure Reflections, the game makes up for it in style. There are three characters players can choose from. Only one is available from the start, Reimu Hakurei, the other two are unlockable by beating the main mission of the game. The main mission of the game is to escape out of the Scarlet Devil Mansion and defeat Remilia Scarlet, the main devil girl bent on destruction. Destruction of what, I’m not so sure. I do know that she is difficult to get to and took me 15 different attempts on easy mode to reach her.
The key to Azure Reflections is the Danmaku Rush attack. With this attack, players hold down X and a barrier shows up around them, absorbing any attacks that come their way. But players can also dash across the screen to attack enemies while in the Danmaku Rush and steal their life and their Spell Cards, so their special abilities. Players must steal a spell card from each of the nine previous bosses before getting to Remilia Scarlet and do it all without using a continue. Why any of these spell cards are even needed is unknown, but it has to be done to reach the main boss.
Needless to say, as a gamer who does more RPGs than bullet-hells, I didn’t do the greatest. But I finally managed to beat the boss and move on to the next character, who was completely different from the first. Because of this, I had to change my tactics because the speed at which the character move across the screen as well as their projectiles was completely different from Reimu, the character I had come to master to make it to the final boss. The change between characters is a wonderful idea. This creates great replayability for the game because players can go back over and over again, on different difficulty settings, and different upgrades available for different characters, such as cute clothing items, and never experience the same game twice.
However, there’s absolutely no story mode whatsoever. It says there is, as the only play options are practice and story, but there’s not much going on between the characters besides, “How did I get here? What are you doing here? Don’t mess up my things! Why are you always in the way?” etc. Once players beat Remilia Scarlet, the devil that set off this magic curse, there’s a tea party. It’s not much of a story, but this game doesn’t need a story mode as everyone is here for the side-scrolling bullet-hell that this game is.
Beyond the bullet-hell fantasy, this game doesn’t have that much going on for it. It’s fun to play for maybe an hour at a time, but it’s definitely not a time sinker where players will be invested in the game for long periods of time, but it’s a fun game to pick up when players have some spare time and need to occupy it with something to do. Azure Reflections is a quick pick up game with some fun music to get players excited for the bullet-hell, but it’s unfortunately not very memorable.
For those who want a fun story, this game is not for you. For those who want a crazy bullet-hell filled with anime chicks going crazy, this game is your cup of tea. While this is nothing to write home about, it’s still a fun fan-based game that adds a lot of flare and a lot of replayability to the Switch that we haven’t seen yet for the console.
Azure Reflections is available for digital download from the Nintendo eShop for $24.99. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.