Twitter apparently still has a use. It can show me random game developers that I do not follow and the games that they are working on. This is how I found this week’s demo: I was scrolling at 7am to see a game that is a straight homage to the Metal Slug series. This week I return to the era of arcade cabinets at bowling alleys, this week is Aqua Ippan.
Aqua Ippan is a 2D shoot em up from Division 六. The demo is available now on Itch.io right now.
There is no semblance of a story within the demo but the Itch.io page has some clues into the plot. You can take the role of one out of two divers who discover some buried treasure, and it is immediately chaos from there. An armed militant group is out for treasure and blood. It is time to steal back the treasure and escape the area.
If you ever have played a game in the Metal Slug series, then you are at home here. The player starts at the left side of the screen and the aim is to shoot the bad guys, collect power-ups, and save the various townsfolk. The divers can shoot at multiple angles, and shoot as fast as you can press the fire button. The demo has the player start right where the intro cutscene ends, running through a coastal town with the milita group on our heels. Aqua Ippan really captures what made Metal Slug a great franchise; the run and gun chaos.
Enemies are jumping out left and right and bullets are flying everywhere. Even the animations really nail the Metal Slug vibe. One hit, one kill. In the demo, the player has infinite lives but I’d imagine that when the game releases the life system will be different.
There is also a scoreboard to compete with anyone I’d imagine. I have no idea how points are awarded but I definitely ended in 5th on my first playthrough and I died a bunch.
The stationary bosses with readable move-set and the music all pay homage and I am here for it. The music really hits the nostalgia. I remember JAMMING to every Metal Slug game with that sick jazz fusion OST that was playing and it comes full circle with Aqua Ippan. I played a demo FOUR times just to listen to the soundtrack on repeat. IT’S SO GOOD.
Aqua Ippan is a dope homage and a dope video game. It is fun because it provides all of the best aspects of the Metal Slug series: That sweet, sweet art style/ animations, that awesome music, and the frantic shoot ’em-up gameplay. The gameplay is crisp and clean. The only issue I have is that there are really no powerups so far and the children that you save really don’t help out at all. Other than that, the demo was super fun and I am excited for the full release.