Ikaruga is a callback to Shoot-em Ups of old such as Galaga & Space Invaders with an interesting couple of twists but let’s start by going back in time a little bit…

By 2003, Ikaruga had already become a hot arcade game in Japan and had been ported to the Dreamcast back in 2001, but it wouldn’t be until two years later that the game got a western release on Nintendo’s GameCube console. Players pilot the eponymous Ikaruga fighter, flying and battling their way across five stages and three difficulties. Unlike most other titles in the genre, Ikaruga doesn’t feature any kind of power-ups to pick up but instead uses it’s distinct “Polarity System” to absorb attacks based on their colors. This extra level of complexity makes for some of the most interesting gameplay mechanics the genre had seen in quite a while and allows alternative modes of play such as the “Bullet Eater” challenge, where the player must complete the game without firing a single shot.

The port of Ikaruga for the Nintendo Switch is tightly made by the team at Treasure and holds true to the original release while offers a slew of challenge modes to bolster replay value as well as difficulty. In a fun, yet surprising move, the version for the Nintendo Switch allows you to disconnect the screen and play it vertically, mimicking the aspect ratio of older arcade cabinets as well as the standard handheld & docked modes. If your looking for a fun challenge to pick up and play or a fan of 80s-era Shoot-em Ups, Ikaruga might be just the right amount of skillful, nostalgia you’re looking for.