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User review for "Cambria Sword"

オススメ! A gigantic & technical, shmup full of soul and imagination.

Jan/31/2017   By Dominic Tarason

0 user(s) found this review helpful.

I stumbled upon this game while browsing recent Comiket releases. In amongst the countless familiar Touhou clones stood something strange. A shmup marching to the beat of its own drum.

Cambria Sword is a bizarre fusion of Bio Hazard Battle and Radiant Silvergun, with a few other nods to classic Genesis/Megadrive-era sidescrollers. It (silently) tells the story of space-war in ancient prehistory, with the strange creatures of Cambrian-era earth dragged into a conflict between rival alien intelligences. It's trippy, but a hell of a hook.

Gameplay-wise, this is slower and chunkier than most modern shmups. While you do have a relatively small hitbox, enemy attacks are relatively sparse and manageable, but you'll be losing lives regularly anyway, as this is a true marathon game.

While most shmups clock in at 20-40 minutes, a complete playthrough of Cambria Sword is a 3-4 hour endeavour. There's a handy level select and you can pick a shortened campaign along the way to make things a little less gruelling, but your six continues will be stretched to the limit on this one.

You'd think that the long playtime would make this feel stretched out, but each stage is full of creative ideas and imaginative bosses. The second stage is stand-out brilliant, with your ascent from the ocean to the stars being blocked by waves of mobilizing enemy troops in the foreground and back.

In fact, you can play that right now - there's a generous demo right on this page. Download it and play it. Experiment with the complex weapons system, then come back to get the full game.

The full version comes with the (excellent, live) prog-metal soundtrack, and the strategy guide from the Extra Disc, which is surprisingly legible even when machine-translated.

$14 for one of the biggest and most creative shmups I've seen is good value, by the way. Get it.

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