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version: jp - year: 2005 - developer: skonec - publisher: taito - format: playstaion 2, dvdrom - condition: mint - rarity: uncommon

The artwork is attractive


Extra credits are awarded as you accumulate playing time


The smart bomb is very powerful


End-of-level bosses always have two forms


Bullet Patterns are hypnotizing


Mid/End bosses are well designed


Mid/End bosses are well designed

Review - Originally released in the arcades on a PC-based hardware called Taito Type X, Homura has then been ported to PS2 both in Japan and Europe.

The game was developed by SKONEC, a Korean company who already developed Psyvariar 1 & 2. If you're familiar with bullet hell shooters such as the Skikigami No Shiro series, then you'll feel right at home here.

The main goal is actually not to finish the game but rather to accumulate as many points as possible to achieve the highest possible score. For this, you'll have to normally shoot your way around and collect coins but more importantly, when the screen if full of enemies, jump right into them and use the slash button. At this point, if you've done things correctly, your character will go into some sort of berserk mode and annihilate every enemy within reach by unleashing multiple slashes all over. The effect is not only highly spectacular but it also serves the purpose of collecting all coins and clearing the screen almost entirely. So when you're encircled and overwhelmed, play offensively to get out of trouble and maximize your score!

Once you've used the slash button, you'll have to wait about 5 seconds to be allowed to press it again so this will force you to play smart by timing and combining your attack patterns with judgement. By pressing the fire button and the slash button simultaneously, you'll unleash a very useful and powerful smart bomb so don't forget you have that in your arsenal for when you're in a desperate situation.

Gameplay really works well and levels are also fun to go through but the main problem I see with this game is that there are only 4 levels! This is a bit of a letdown…

As for the audio-visuals, the symphonic music is certainly epic and empowering but the graphics could have been better. The main characters and the enemies are well designed, while bullet patterns are often pretty impressive and almost hypnotizing as they come down the screen in cool shapes and colors but the 3D backgrounds are forgettable, exactly like in the Shikigami games. I guess the focus in bullet hell shmups is on the bullet patterns and not on the background graphics…

In the end, Homura represents another quality shooter on PS2 but it's all over too soon! Four levels just aren't enough to keep me on playing...

Bottom line: short but impressive bullet hell shooter with a cool gameplay gimmick. 7/10











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