I loved the previous shmups from Housemarque, Super Stardust and Resogun, so buying this was a no-brainer.
Like the previous games, this is also a voxel based shoot em up, but this time you're a person and not a spaceship. There are 6 worlds, that I've discovered, and in each world you get dropped into 15 scenarios to solve and in the end there is a boss. Compared to the old games this makes the gaming experience much more diverse and you instantly recognize the different scenarios for each level, and if you're clever you remember how to beat them.
This is a good change to the formula, I really like it. The game music is excellent as ever, the pace is really high and there are a huge amount of enemies that explode in a very satisfying manner when shooting them.
Each world seem to be filled with secrets and mechanics that makes them very replayable as I seem to discover new things every time. I also love the dash ability you have to quickly get through a group of enemies to safety on the other side.
The enemies are also plentiful and diverse in a way they haven't been before. They have different move patterns, attack you in different manners and you need to apply different tactics to each enemy.
There are some changes that I don't like. The special abilities, lazer, sword, rocket launcher, and so on seems quite useless, or maybe it's just me not able to figure out how to use them.
This game is much more bullet-helly than the games before, and quite often there is so much happening on the screen at once I can't figure it out. I can completely miss a huge lazer because everything was exploding at the same time. When fighting bosses I had a very hard time to find my character on the screen after dying. I would die, and then die again because I couldn't find my character.
The difficulty has gone up a notch. I had no problem finishing the game on the easiest level, but as soon as I bumped it up to Experienced, there were passages I had huge problems with, not to mention the bosses. Enforcer Prime was particularly hard for me. I didn't finish the last boss of Experienced difficulty, because I couldn't see any way of winning. I couldn't even get through the first phase (1/3 of the boss'es health).
In this light some of the scenarios also felt too hard and cheap. When there are lazers circling out to get you from every direction and your reactions are just too slow. Maybe I'm getting too old for this.
If they've made the second difficulty a little less hard, so I felt that I would be able to complete it, this would probably been a 4up. But I'm not feeling like the game is meeting me half way here. Either you have the skills or you don't, and I do not, so sadly I can only give this game a score of 3up.