If you've not grown weary of the twin-stick shooter yet, perhaps give arcade throwback Gatling Gears a chance, the top-down shoot 'em up that injects a dash of bullet hell into the mix.
We recently got a chance to play Gatling Gears at an Electronic Arts event last week, finding the game to be an enjoyable, if extremely familiar experience. Think Wanako's Assault Heroes or Capcom's Commando series. Players walk steampunk mechs through thickly populated battlefields, firing in all directions at cute, stubby weapons of war — tanks, airships, infantry. Players have access to multiple shot types, including a standard machine gun, missile launcher, grenade launcher and a screen-clearing bomb attack.
What could make Gatling Gears more interesting, beyond its visual charms, is its upgrade system. Players can collect gears from the battlefield and spend those on weapons and vehicle improvements, taking their customized mech online.
We plowed through a pair of Gatling Gears' levels during our hands-on time with the game, wrapping it up with a lengthy boss fight. This was a multi-stage, bullet hell-ified battle that probably won't challenge Ikaruga players perhaps, but will deliver plenty of on-screen explosions. Simple, straightforward fun.
Play it at PAX East this weekend, if you're going. See if it does anything for you.
Gatling Gears will launch on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC in Spring 2011.