Bullet Life is a freeware 3D bullet hell game. That’s right, if you thought dodging bullets in two dimensions was hard or fun, let’s add the third dimension into the game!
But does it live up to the promises and expectations? After all, that dodging and shooting with those quick cuts looks like it will be a lot of fun!
Not to spoil my entire review, but no, it doesn’t really yet. It has room for improvement though, but it is not there yet.
But let’s break it down into story and gameplay and discuss those two elements. As far as the story goes, there isn’t one that I can decipher. You start at a basic level and a character that looks like it was at least inspired by Touhou is in the center of the screen and shoots at things. And those things are various basic enemies including spheres, or possibly circles. It’s honestly hard to tell as the game lacks 3 dimensional display or anything that seems more complex than basic sprites.
Gameplay wise, you can move up, down, left, and right and there is a camera you can set at one of three distances including close, medium, and far. The z, x, and c keys control shooting and the 3 dimensional movement (forward and backward) is controlled by no keys at all. You move at a set pace but you can move around some to dodge enemies and bullets, but you’re still limited to 2d movement despite a 3d area. If anything, it’s like a regular top down bullet hell game except you move into the screen and shoot into the screen, but you can’t actually control true 3d movement. I guess that makes this a 2.5D bullet hell game.
As far as the mechanics go you shoot things and they die. They drop items you can pick up and shoot things you have to dodge. You have one of several choices for characters to start not that you know what they look like and you have a couple different weapons with charge bars. What else do you want?
The movement keys are your arrow keys, and the movement is a bit sluggish and heavy. You hit a key and your character moves a little, and you have to hold the key down to move surprisingly slowly from one area to another, which likely explains why the game gives you many more lives than Touhou. For anyone used to bullet hell games, the slow movement alone may be a dealbreaker since twitch movements are such a staple of the genre.
Being a small and simple freeware game, there isn’t much else to say apart from the music in it is pretty decent, really. So instead of trying to examine some nonexistent theme of shooters in the gameplay mechanics, let’s just go to the review.
Stars: 1/5 bad
Pros: The music is not bad, and the idea behind the game is good.
Cons: The implementation of a 3D bullet hell game basically fell flat.
Verdict: It might improve and I personally would watch it and see what happens if the idea excites you. Personally, I would recommend Rez, Ikaruga, or Child of Eden as alternate games since all three of those are amazing, even though Ikaruga is the only one to not have limited motion, but at least Child of Eden lets you shoot bullets out of the air while being limited in actual movement you can make.