The second Psikyo Shooting Stars compilation is flying in from NIS America, giving people a chance to build up their collection of shoot’em ups on the Nintendo Switch and have more games to use with the Flip Grip peripheral that makes it easier to play games in tate mode. With Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo, there’s a sense that instead about seeing the progress over the years, it is about enjoying fun and goofy characters.
First, before we get into why the characters and their personalities help sell the games in Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo and make it so enticing, it is important to know what’s in there. You get Gunbarich, Gunbird, Gunbird 2, Samurai Aces Episode I, Samurai Aces Episode II: Tengai, and Samurai Aces Episode III: Sengoku Cannon. Five of them are shoot’em ups, while Gunbarich is an Alleyway/Breakout sort of game with Gunbird heroine Marion in it. The earliest game here is 1993’s Samurai Aces, while Samurai Aces Episode III: Sengoku Cannon came out in 2005. So what we have here is a look back at two major Psikyo series.
This means we have a chance to follow stories and characters through series. Samurai Aces Episode I starts with Sengoku warriors trying to save a shogun’s daughter from a cult. Except some of the warriors are characters like Kenno the dog, Koyori the priestess, a monk named Tengai, and scientist with a robot named Gen. There’s also Ayin, a constant hero for the series who keeps letting his little sister get kidnapped. (Geez, dude. Keep an eye on your family. Oh…) They’re all master pilots, flying around and shooting things. In the sequel, well, another princess has been kidnapped. But this time, everyone can fly, so they don’t need to bother with planes. I’m also quite partial to Junis in this entry, who has a lemur named Socrates that pipes in on her dialogue scenes. For the third game, the demon god and his minions decided they don’t need royal blood anymore and are okay with using normal humans. (Good for them?) Ayin, Koyori, and Tengai are all around, but Junis decided to ditch Socrates.
With Gunbird and its sequel, things get much sillier. Each one focuses on wish fulfillment. The original game has characters like a carpenter, an inventor, a robot, and a witch as they look for parts of a mirror that can grant one of their wishes. In Gunbird 2, there’s another item that can make a person’s dreams come true! Except this time, it is a potion. Marion the witch and Valnus the robot (as Valpiro) are still there, but this time there are other characters like the inventor’s niece and Dracula’s son, Alucard. (Not to be confused with the Castlevania character.) Again, it doesn’t take itself too seriously and is a product of its age.
When it comes down to it, I feel like each Psikyo Shooting Stars game has a defining feature. With Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha, we have a sense of progress. We see how Psikyo shooters grew between 1995 and 2001. We learn how the company used new elements and techniques. Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo is about the personality. When you get to certain story segments, they have the kind of odd and unusual dialogue that makes you want to screenshot and share with friends. (I am a big fan of "I’m the true king of all beasts, you miserable battle scum.") It shows the sense of intelligence and whimsy that went into creating characters and even giving a (occasionally goofy) sense of purpose to players.
Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo will come to the Nintendo Switch in North America on February 18, 2020, in Europe on February 21, 2020, and in Australia on February 28, 2020. Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha is immediately available.