Gynoug Review (switch eShop) | Nintendo life

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From the moment you start Gynoug it’s obvious that this is another release from the same team that recently re-gifted the world to Gleylancer, giving players the same options with the same UI, just a different Mega Drive- Shmup who runs under it all. That’s great.

As we mentioned in our other review, the options in Ratalaika Games’ Mega Drive ports are broad and well executed, and we wish their highly customizable CRT shaders were standard in all retro re-releases. Still, it’s easier than ever to customize the game to suit your own preferences, with the original, pristine experience always being the default. Would you like to keep everything as always, only without the punishing power-up decay upon death? Would Infinite Lives help you overcome that one boss that you always struggled with, or just need to be able to rewind a few seconds and undo a stupid mistake? How about full invincibility for those times when you just want to blow things up and enjoy the pixel art? You can access all these and other settings at any time, combine them as you wish and switch them on and off as you wish.

There’s no all-new remixed version of the game this time around, although Gynoug doesn’t include an obvious “Wouldn’t it be great if …” avenue for slight rearrangements, we’re actually grateful they didn’t try to shoehorn into something New for it.

The game itself is a side-scrolling shmup known for its brilliantly cruel, meaty-industrial tone, with enemies just as likely being a collection of screaming faces as giant brains jumping on spindly legs or a studded train with a human face. It’s also known for being as tough as many of the best classic shmups are, with death robbing you of some of your power and unceremoniously set back at the start of the stage by using your limited number of credits. Attacks can and will come from all sides all the time, from sneaky water attacks from below to high-speed swarms rushing in at top speed.

What sets Gynoug apart is how well balanced it is; There are no “gotcha” moments when death is inevitable because you happened to be at the top instead of the bottom of the screen before danger emerged, and bosses can be reliably knocked out with just skill and reflexes. Unfortunately, most people take a little longer to learn Gynoug than it used to be as there are no instructions. This shmup in particular is a problem as there are nine different power-up related items (and that counts the eight different types of spells – six offensive and two defensive – as a collectible) as well as two separate displays next to your power score, all unexplained . It’s not an insurmountable problem for anyone with access to Google, but it is a problem and could have been avoided.

Gynoug doesn’t have that special spark that makes a great game a spectacular one, but nonetheless it’s a unique and extremely entertaining 30 year old shmup who can proudly stand next to everyone else sold in the eShop, and another affordable retro re-release that sits in that perfect balance between modern comfort and hardcore authenticity.

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