A while back, we did some digging and found that the GameCube/Dreamcast shoot-em-up Ikaruga (from the developers at Treasure) could be making a comeback. And now, thanks to Nicalis, it's totally happening.
The publisher took to its blog today to announce that Ikaruga would be making a return to a Nintendo platform for the first time in several years, set to make its debut on the Nintendo Switch on May 29 as a digital download through the eShop. It'll be available for $14.99.
As you can see from the gameplay trailer above, Ikaruga isn't like your typical shooter. Sure, there's lots of action and a handful of challenging bosses, but there's an interesting color change tactic, where you can absorb enemy shots that are the same color as your ship. In turn, you'll be able to charge up energy and unleash a super attack that will crush several enemies in its wake.
"Ikaruga garnered praise from gamers around the globe upon its original release back in 2001. The accolades focused on Ikaruga's elegant and fluid gameplay, and more specifically, the game's revolutionary polarity-based play mechanic which set it apart from other games in the genre," Nicalis noted in its blog post.
"Playing as the rebel freedom fighter Shinra, pilot of the advanced Ikaruga aircraft, you must defeat the relentless forces of a conquering nation not only by dodging and shooting, but also by switching between two polarities—black or white—to absorb enemy bullets of matching color. The ability to switch polarities at the press of a button adds a tactical, puzzle-like element to the action, and as you absorb bullets you'll power-up your ship's homing laser to dish out up to 10 times more punishment. Additionally, blasting enemies of opposite polarity allows you to inflict double damage on your foes. But beware: One hit from an opposite-polarity bullet will mean the destruction of your ship.
"Five stages of thumb-busting intensity await, each jam-packed with fantastic 3D visuals, challenging obstacles and epic boss encounters, plus a second player can join in for local co-op thrills. Ikaruga also features two distinct gameplay modes: Arcade and Prototype (which limits your ammunition based on the bullets you've absorbed). Three difficulty settings are available, plus a chapter-select option and the ability to play using either a horizontal or vertical screen orientation (often known as TATE mode) on Nintendo Switch."
It's sure to be a lot of fun for shmup fans. However, Nicalis hasn't said a word about the previously rated PlayStation 4 version of Ikaruga just yet. More than likely, it's giving the Nintendo Switch a first crack at the classic, with a PS4 release to follow later in the summer. We'll see what the team announces in the weeks ahead.
But for now, make some room on your memory card, because Ikaruga is a classic that you don't want to miss!