I’m probably one of the most casual players of Shmups you can imagine. I’m terrible at them, but I love explosions, lightning fast action and a great rock soundtrack blasting out of my speakers. There are loads of games that cater to these exact reasons why I love the genre. And then there’s Detana!! Twinbee.
This game doesn’t need huge explosions or a rock soundtrack. Why? Because it’s got cuteness instead! Detana Twinbee is a colourful and cute Shoot’em Up, or cute’em up, if you want to be really specific. It’s a vertical scroller, where you fight against enemies in the air and on the ground. You have a charge attack, a rapid fire attack and a ground attack, that can only target enemies on the ground. Does that sound fairly simple? That’s because it is! But it also makes for a very straightforward and fun game that is easy to pick up and play.
The stages are long and vary in style, but their overall structure is basically always the same: First you fight off many waves of enemies before you encounter a boss that is way tougher to fight. You need to find out how to exactly beat it first, which isn’t all that easy with later bosses. But it adds some variety to the gameplay and the challenge is very welcome as the game is overall quite forgiving. Your ship can take several hits before exploding and if you’re powered up, you’re really tough to beat.
Speaking of power ups, this is where things get interesting. Instead of straight forward power-up pellets, Detana!! Twinbee offers bells that hide in clouds. You have to shoot at them while they come flying towards you in order to push them back and change their colour. You really want to do that, since the normal golden bells only give you more points, but no power ups. Only when they turn into another colour, you get satellite ships and shields, that can really help you out. This adds a neat strategic layer to the otherwise simple game and it’s quite unique too!
Besides these interesting design choices, there’s another reason why I include this game in Virtual Console Gems: the game was first released internationally on the Virtual Console service. Yes, it’s one of those titles that are only available to us thanks to some very brave people who thought it was interesting enough to be released despite being completely in Japanese. And while there is a short cut-scene, you don’t need to know Japanese in order to play it. As it’s a fun and slightly different Shoot’em Up, you should give it a try if you’re into the genre or want to see what the Turbografx-16 has to offer.