I want to be an amazing shoot-em up player, effortlessly weaving between endless streams of multicolored bullets, beams of light from my spaceship/airplane/magical girl painting enemies with glorious destruction. If only I were that coordinated.
Sunny Tam's Danmaku Unlimited 2 for iOS does not magically transform me into a proficient bullet hell shooter pro, but it does something that might be even better — it makes me feel like a pro. Saves me the effort of trying. I like that.
The greatest strength of this sequel to Danmaku Unlimited, considered to be one of the best scrolling shooters on iOS by folks that've played it (not guilty), is a simple tweak to the control system that instantly puts it on a level above other mobile games in the genre. There are no on-screen controls whatsoever — even the previous game's weapon-switching buttons are gone.
In the place of these controls is the new Burst Mode, which arms players with a bullet-cancelling laser blast activated with a single downward swipe of a second finger. As long as the weapon is charged, freedom from a tight spot is just the flick of a finger away.
Not that I expect most players will find themselves in tight spots. Thanks to incredibly responsive fingertip ship navigation, dancing between projectiles is just a matter of watching the field and waiting for the right moment to move. If the controls were just slightly less responsive, Danmaku Unlimited 2 might have been a nightmare, but it's just perfect.
The only downside to Danmaku Unlimited 2 is the price. Some might consider $4.99 a bit steep for five stages, two game modes and a smidgeon of role-playing game style skill point progression. That's exactly the reason free lite versions exist.