See the rest of my thoughts and a run-through of the basic game mechanics after the jump.
Black Rock Shooter: Discover the Mystery of the Sexy Planet (iOS - Universal)
When you start off, you've just got your basic chibi BRS and a blast gun. As you advance through the various stages, you can collect in-game money (G) to buy yourself new things. After each stage you also grab EXP and level up your cute game hero; the most EXP and money gain of course, coming from the boss battles.
To shoot things, just touch BRS and "pull back" to bring up the aim, and let go to launch a huge canon-sized bullet-bill looking explosive towards the floating skulls and things you're meant to target. You only get three tries to blow them up at first, but you can eventually upgrade to more ammo and get a chance to hit other targets for extra Gs. If you run out of ammo and haven't cleared the stage, the game will bring up a continue screen with a few options. You could pay to reload and continue, or you could just start over. I opted to start over every time.
Once you've beaten a boss and moved on to the next set of levels, you can go back and play the same boss at a different difficulty. There are up to three stars (difficulty) for each boss set, meaning you effectively get 45 levels in total with this free game. That's a pretty generous package if you ask me.
The artwork is done by CHANxCO, and it's beautiful. As you progress through the game and gain lots of Gs, you can purchase accessories, new weapons and ammo, and outfits for BRS. Some of the IAP use real money though, so make sure you check whether there's a yen symbol or a G next to the cost of anything before you start buying things.
The music itself has this great retro feel to it, reminiscent of the good ol' NES chiptune sounds. Though the artwork is modern, the blend is nice and it adds a fun dimension to an otherwise simple game. By simple, I mean that BRS doesn't actually move around throughout each stage. She sits at a little platform at the left, while you are responsible for shooting things ahead of her.
The boss fights can be a little tough since you not only have to hit them twice at designated weak spots, but still have limited ammo and have to avoid obstacles floating around trying to intercept your shots. The Sexy Planet denizens have some dialogue, which is kind of neat.
All that being said, I could understand that the language barrier might be a potential issue with some folks. Except it isn't. The game is so visual that you do not need to understand Japanese at all in order to enjoy the game. Just be careful with the "yes/no" screens and avoid accidentally purchasing something with real money that you didn't mean to, and you'll be absolutely fine.
Tip: when you fail a level and get the "continue?" screen, hit "no" to simply start over. Each level is rather short and simple, so there's no particular reason to pay. If you're on Stage 1-4 and fail, hitting "no" won't restart you to Stage 1-1, for example.
Overall, I don't see why you wouldn't want to at least download this game if you've got an iOS device. You do not need to change your region to Japan or do anything fancy in order to obtain it. Just go to the App Store (on your device) and type in "imageepoch inc" and you'll be directed to a list of games they've created, which includes this one. It's easy and free. Enjoy! Photo Gallery: (5 images)
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