Review – Ikaruga (Switch)

I love Ikaruga. I have always loved Ikaruga ever since the first time I got to play an import copy for the Dreamcast back when I was 9 or 10 years old. Granted, I couldn’t even get past the first boss back then, but I would never give up. The great art design, excellent soundtrack, simple but challenging gameplay and insane difficulty were more than enough for me to grab the game for the Gamecube, followed by the Xbox 360 and PC. It’s now time for the Switch to be graced with this classic, and it’s still great. Ikaruga on the Switch is Ikaruga on-the-go, do I need to say more?


The only somewhat easy boss in this whole game

For those not acquainted with this game, Ikaruga is a top-down arcade shooter with a twist. There are no power-ups, multiple weapons, shields, none of that. Both your ship and your enemies have two polarities: black and white. Whenever an enemy from the same color as you shoots you, you can absorb those shots and charge up your homing attack meter. All you have here is one shooting button, one polarity button, and one special attack button. You can map them however you want to.

You can only be killed by polar opposite shots, but don’t think that makes the game easy. Ikaruga is one of the hardest games you’ll ever play. The amount of shots onscreen is insane. The game will constantly test you without ever being downright impossible or unfair. Ikaruga isn’t very long, but it will still take you a lot of time in order to complete all five levels. Thankfully, you can increase your initial amount of continues before the game starts.


A very relaxing experience…

My biggest concern before playing this game on handheld mode was the screen size issue. You see, Ikaruga’s screen resolution has always been more vertical than horizontal, and that would make the entire playable screen extremely small on the Switch. Thankfully, you can flip the screen vertically and play the game on a much larger resolution, as long as you find something to hold the tablet while you play it. Those issues aren’t very important when playing the game on a TV. Then again, that wasn’t the reason I bought this game in the first place.


Flip that screen!

There’s little else I can say here. It’s still the same Ikaruga, one of the, if not the absolute best shooter ever created, but on-the-go. It still looks great, it still sounds great, it still plays great. It suffers a bit from some screen-related shortcomings, but I still recommend this game to all Switch owners, without a doubt. Just get ready to die a lot more than any other game you’ll ever play in your life.


Graphics: 7.5

The game’s visuals have aged gracefully, but the screen size is less than ideal when playing it on handheld mode. Luckily, you can flip the screen and play it vertically.

Gameplay: 8.5

An extremely responsive and fast-paced gameplay, but I’d recommend reassigning the button placement before starting the game.

Sound: 9.5

Ikaruga‘s soundtrack is still as good today as it was back in 2001.

Fun Factor: 9.0

The same insanely challenging but insanely replayable Ikaruga experience you’ve always known, this time around on-the-go.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Reviewed on Switch.
Also available on: PC, Dreamcast, Gamecube, Xbox 360