Lillymo Games and eastasiasoft are proud to give us, Habroxia 2. The shooter that allows the pilot the pleasure of both vertical and horizontal Shmup action. Upgrade your ship and navigate branching paths until you meet the final boss Odin! Fans of the previous game will be happy to see the visual style return, my favourite aspect of both games.
Habroxia 2 is available to purchase now on Nintendo Switch.
After a brief introductory stage the player is shown an outer space area where one must overcome different stages multiple times to unveil new paths and bosses. Once all the required bosses have been beaten, the final boss Odin may be faced.
Once a stage is failed or completed, a list of stats appears including a high score for the level. I didn’t pay much attention to it but it’s nice to see progress made after replaying stages. This will bring the player to the shop for ship upgrades! This RPG element is fun but usually gets some flack as the player could farm and exploit it, but I didn’t feel that it was necessary. Difficulty increases with each stage, enemies and bosses alike require more bullets but upgraded guns will result from every boss you defeat.
The gameplay loop is fun!
Replay stages, gather coin and then upgrade your ship. Upgrades provide choices in their desired strategy to tackle the game. The immediate upgrade of choice for me was attack power and speed.
My favourite weapon was the Vulcan in the earlier stages but switched to the homing missiles as it allows the player to use the stock weapon as they see fit, while making quick work of nearby enemies. The stock weapon is equipped at all times and shoots forward, but the special weapon has forward and rear directional capabilities. Both directions have the option to choose a different weapon but I opted for the same weapon after some experimenting. I did not use items often but they are available and include a bubble shield, laser, and bomb among others.
Movement speed feels perfect for the game. At times it feels like the ship is a little slow but it’s just demanding more skill from the player. This can be the case in boss battles, boost rush mode, and boss rush mode as those areas/modes require more ducking and dodging. As long as the action button is pressed, the stock weapon will shoot forward. Special weapons are controlled with the right joystick and can be aimed in any direction.
I’m not a fan of this personally but I’m sure it will scratch an itch for others. It’s interesting how it affects gameplay for backtracking to clear enemies, and adding more variety, but I don’t care for this aspect.
The music fits well both in and out of stages.
It’s not the most catchy that I’m singing it whilst away from the game, but fades into the background well allowing the player to focus on gameplay. I always say, bad music sticks out like a sore thumb but good music blends into the gameplay.
The visual style is reminiscent of the previous title and I am ALL about it. It has this modernised bit graphic look, and I’ve always been a fan of this style. Lillymo Games did a wonderful job from the small breakable rock areas that reveal upgrades, to the massive boss ships at the end of stages. It does give me a bit of nostalgia with the style but it has an upgraded look comparatively and fits in very well on Switch. The art style weighs heavy for me in this game as it’s just so satisfying to see.
Historically for me, the boss battles in Shmups serve as the height of gameplay or at least match the main mode of play in terms of fun. I did appreciate the different sizes, shot patterns, asteroids, and every way the game tried to add variety but overall boss battles did not deliver. More often than not, the player can simply hide on either side of the boss and either tank through being shot at or pepper the boss until the end.
A boss or two did not allow the player to avoid hits from the side but still allowed the player to skip an engaging battle. After defeating the final boss Odin, additional modes are unlocked:
New Game Plus – I played one level of new game plus mode and did not feel motivated to continue, but it is good for those that want to complete every aspect of the game. This will give the player the chance to fill out the remaining upgrades if it hadn’t been done already.
Boss Rush Mode – A series of consecutive boss fights, I wish this was available from the start to serve as a sort of practice run to improve.
Boost Rush Mode – Boost at high speed while avoiding obstacles, I’m not sure why this was added but why not as it gives a bit of variety to the game. Simply avoid rocks and squeeze into tough spots until you eventually crash. This seems like it could also serve as a practice area for boss fights to get used to ducking and dodging more efficiently.
I’m happy to see Lillymo Games at it again with a sequel to Habroxia. Their art style and skills are top-notch. I like that they implement RPG elements into the Shmup genre because it’s something we don’t see often (and I loved it in Sky Force). Gamers will be able to complete Habroxia 2 in a couple of hours but, overall, it was a fun playthrough and I look forward to what they create next!
Review code provided
Platform: PC, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 03/02/2021
No. of Players: 1
Category: Action, Arcade
Developer: Lillymo Games
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop