New horizontal shmups rarely appear on the market and once in a blue moon they matriculate in North America. However, the titles that appear outside of Japan don’t have alien samurais flying around with giant lasers. Omega Five does. Why? I wasn’t sure myself so I spoke to Peter Dassenko, the US producer of Omega Five to get the details before the shmup arrives on live on Wednesday.
Omega Five doesn’t have cookie cutter characters or generic spaceships. Instead there is a four armed alien who flies around on a jet pack called Tempest. What's the story behind the original character design?
We wanted characters that were different yet familiar. Like you said, a lot of SHMUPs have you piloting a spaceship or playing as “generic grizzled, crew-cut brown hair guy.” A big, green, four-armed, reverse-kneed alien and a samurai with a Shiba Inu (his dog) are way more interesting. Besides, it’s more fun to play as a cool-looking character instead of “silver spaceship” or “green tank.”
Out of the characters which is your favorite to play with and why?
The Tempest, by far. As you upgrade his weapons you’ll notice that his attacks cover more & more area, making it easier to take out minor enemies quickly. I also like Ruby for her level 3 laser, which reflects off of certain surfaces so you can take out enemies around corners.
All the characters are not unlocked from the start, right? Since Omega Five is appearing in less than a week can you give us a hint on how to unlock another character?
I could give you a hint… Unlocking the other characters has something to do with completing the game. The reason you’d want to unlock them all, outside of simply being able to play them (and seeing which one best fits your play style) is that there is a separate Leaderboard for each character. That means there are plenty of opportunities to beat your friend’s high scores on multiple Leaderboards to show that you’re a better gamer.
I haven't played another shmup that lets you temporarily teleport to another dimension to dodge bullets. Can you give me (and all the Siliconera readers) some strategy tips on how to use the Dimension Field and Ultimate Burst?
There is an unlockable mode (++ Mode) that is essentially a “one hit & you’re dead” mode. The way Omega Five is designed, there are certain levels that simply moving your character out of the way of the bullets may not be enough. At those points I would use the Dimension Field. To me the Ultimate Burst is a sort of backup plan for my character. If I get in a situation where there are far too many enemies on screen, and I have one, I may use it instead of taking a hit. If I get to a Boss & I’ve got it saved up, I’ll definitely use it there. The Ultimate Burst certainly helps with Bosses but the main trick is getting to the Boss with at least one Ultimate Burst to use.
I've been burning to ask this question since I heard about Omega Five’s multiplayer options… it has local two player co-op, but why not online play?
We designed this game as an homage to old-school shooters. As any old-school SHMUP fan knows, back in the arcades, you’d stand side-by-side with a friend and do your best to survive the onslaught. There’s something about that camaraderie that we wanted to reproduce it with Omega Five.