Review Shooter

Shinorubi – Review | An Explosion of Color

Another month, another shooter. I’m sure you’re all either sick of me banding words around like shmup or danmaku. That or you’ve converted and are looking for your next fix. Whichever way, gather round – it’s time for me to talk about Last Boss 88’s latest title Shinorubi.

Story – What is it Good for?

Looking on the Steam page at Shinorubi it displays quite an intense piece of writing for the story. This isn’t an issue, but I don’t remember any of it being displayed within the game. It certainly isn’t shown off during the gameplay.

As Shinorubi is a Shmup – a genre that lives and dies by its arcade pick up and play nature – I’m more than happy to ignore the story. It’s not needed in the slightest. Very few that do include it, manage to include it in a meaningful way.

Theatre of War

Shinorubi is a traditional vertical shoot ’em up where you control a small spacecraft with 8-way directional movement. It comes equipped with two-shot options and a screen-clearing bomb.

You’ll work your way through 5 stages of increasing difficulty, each stage culminating in a boss fight. Your aim in the game is to finish your run without continuing. Ideally, you’ll only be using the initial stock of 3 lives (or extends) and any you accrue during gameplay via score or finding them in the stages.

Shinorubi falls under the “Danmaku” sub-genre of Shmup. Rather than memorization and stage hazards, the game has more of a focus on intense bullet patterns, scoring, and an abundance of popcorn enemies -ones that die quickly but have a tendency to fill the screen quickly.

Shinorubi - Boss Rush

Mode of Transport

Shinorubi has 5 difficulties ranging from “Super Easy ” to “Realist”. The game has on-screen markers to show which you have completed and which you have “1CCd” – that is completed on 1 credit without continues. 

In addition, there is also a buffet of different playstyles on offer. These include:

  • Boss Rush across three difficulty modes. 
  • Shield mode gives you a shield as a power-up. 
  • Cancel mode which focuses on scoring using the bullet cancel mechanic of certain enemies’ death that cancels out bullets. 
  • Pink pig mode adds a pink pig collectible that will appear on the screen. You need to collect them for the highest scores.
  • Journey mode loops the game upon completion, gradually getting harder and harder.
  • Laser/Shot mode that only lets you use the specified attack when told.
  • Super Rank that increases the difficulty in line with your skill level.

Along with those modes, there is also a 2 and 5-minute Caravan scoring mode in development. No matter how you want to tackle Shinorubi, there is a way for you to play.

Shinorubi - Pink Pig

Up your Arsenal

Finally, as of this review, there are 5 stages and 3 out of 8 possible characters available to play. These each come with different weapon patterns.

Shinorubi follows that old but gold blueprint of having a wider weak shot and a focused and damaging beam that comes at the expense of speed. As mentioned earlier, there is also the traditional screen-clearing bomb at your disposal.

There is a fever meter. This fills up whenever you damage anything with the beam and when full it changes any enemy bullet on screen into a collectible. Pick these up and get yourself some extra points! It even boosts your damage a touch.

From the gameplay side of things, Shinorubi hits all the notes that it needs to. It’s very pick up and play, has simple controls, and has enough features to suit any budding shmupper.

Shinorubi - Cancel Mode

Fog of War

The only big issue I could find with Shinorubi is that the ship feels like it was sliding around on ice constantly. It feels completely weightless and I would often misjudge pixel-perfect dodges by overshooting. My only other issue was there wasn’t a feeling of feedback when I took enemies down. It’s like a knife through butter and it was disorientating initially, especially coupled with my other complaint. 

I did manage to adjust to both over time, but upon returning from any other Shmup it would take an adjustment period.

Love is a Battlefield

Presentation is one of the main drawing points for Shinorubi. A fully HD Shmup that uses the full screen rather than a smaller ratio is something of a rarity within the genre.

The colors are vibrant where brighter and perfectly duller for the darker colors. The enemy shots are a piercing pink color which helps them stand out from the visual assault on the eyes of colors and explosions this title provides.

The stage designs are where the cracks start to appear for this one. Stage 1 is a perfectly fine opening stage showing you flying over some forestry and enemy bases.

Stage 2 has you flying through a torrential storm at high altitudes while taking down flying fortresses. 

Stage 3,4 & 5 all visually look like retreads from the first stage. I was met with massive disappointment, especially after how good the second stage was. The latter stages just bled together with a pedestrian style. 

Another knock is that all the boss designs are just giant robotic aircraft. One of my favorite parts of the genre is the outlandish boss fights and again these felt rather dull in comparison to how HD the game looks.

The sound effects in Shinorubi are a little quieter and lack impact which again is a shame, but the soundtrack nails that blistering rock music all good Danmaku titles have. It keeps your head banging and your finger twitching.

Shinorubi - Journey Mode


Shinorubi is a fantastic product that offers so much value in terms of replay and flexibility in its copious amount of play modes. Sadly the presentation falls flat in some places it needed to nail, especially with the high definition visuals and full-screen aspect.

It is worth noting that Shinorubi is in Early Access, so some of this could be tweaked and changed for the final release. Even if it’s just characters added and a couple more modes, the game is still fantastic value for any fan of the genre. 


Platforms: PC (Steam)

If you would like to see more Shooters, you may be interested in our review of Cotton Reboot.

Many thanks go to Last Boss 88 Games for a PC review code for this title.

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