Game Info:

Crimzon Clover: World Explosion
Developed By: Yotsubane
Published By: Degica
Released: October 29, 2020
Available On: Nintendo Switch, Windows PC (in the form of Crimzon Clover: World Ignition, with a promised Explosion update coming soon)
Genre: Shoot 'em up
ESRB Rating: E for Mild Fantasy Violence
Number of Players: 1-2 with local multiplayer
Price: $19.99 ($9.99 for the Windows version of World Ignition; upgrade price not announced)

Thank you Degica for sending us this game to review!

While I have been long familiar with the shoot ‘em up genre as a long-time casual fan, I am far from an expert, and a lot of progress has happened in the time since R-Type, 1942, and Gradius. As these things turn out, the genre had a massive explosion in popularity in Japan, especially from the 90s through the 2000s, even to the present day. Several extremely popular series in the genre come from that time, including Touhou and Cave’s shooters.

Written by one man who goes by Yotsubane, Crimzon Clover was released for Windows in Japan all the way back in 2011. It quickly became a huge success, as just a couple of years later it hit arcades, and even got a worldwide release on Steam and GOG in 2014. No doubt looking to take advantage of the Switch’s explosive popularity (no pun ... okay it was), Degica brought this shoot ‘em up classic to Switch.

For those not familiar, there are two primary types of shoot 'em ups: the horizontal and vertical styles. In both cases you pilot some ship or craft that shoots bullets out in front of you towards enemies on the screen. This is almost always a form of 2D; first-person games are a different genre. These games started way back before scrolling screens with games like Space Invaders, and moved up to scrolling screens with games like the previously mentioned classics like Gradius and 1942. There is even a sub-genre of shoot 'em up, sometimes called bullet h*ll (I prefer to affectionately call them 'bullet heck' games), where you avoid waves and waves of shots, instead of just well-timed ones. This game is of the vertical 'bullet heck' style, where your ship starts at the bottom of the screen, and flies up towards the enemies. Ironically, it's not well suited to the more common wide screens, which is why this game offers a vertical orientation mode, if you want to rotate your Switch (or even TV/monitor) vertically. Everything in this game is displayed in a combination of 3D rendering and pixel art - or at least I think it is; the Switch isn't exactly known for a high resolution.

Crimzon Clover: World Explosion

Strong Points: Incredible spectacle of bullets flying everywhere; challenges appropriate to both newcomers and experts; exciting adrenaline rush the whole time
Weak Points: Somewhat short (though this is common to the genre); Arrange version is single player only
Moral Warnings: Animated violence against enemy space ships

While I am far from an expert in the genre, it’s funny how even with relatively little experience, how you can still tell when a game is good. The first time I played this, I kept going until I had finished it (thank goodness for infinite continues!). It was quickly obvious that this was a blast to play and something special. Little did I know at the time that this game has long been on people’s best of the genre lists.

From the very beginning, no matter what mode you play, your bullets flash in bright colors, and your enemies are clearly visible, with also clear bullets. You know how to hit enemies, and you know how to avoid them. Everything is really fast-paced, with stuff moving around constantly. Explosions are loud and impactful, and sound great. Particularly powerful enemies shoot bullets in waves, where you often have a specific pre-planned spot you should try to be in so that you don't die when hit. While dying can often require only one hit (unless you happen to have a shield up - availability depends on game mode and how recently you died), your hitbox is vanishingly small - it's that little glowing dot in the center of your ship. Many modern shooters do this, so that you still have a chance with the screen just otherwise flooded with things trying to kill you.

Crimzon Clover: World Explosion
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 94%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

There are three main modes, with sub-settings in each one. There is 'Novice' 'Arcade' and 'Arrange', which varies on difficulty levels called 'Boost', 'Original', 'Unlimited', and 'Time Attack'. The only exception to this is 'Novice', which only has 'Boost' and 'Original'. 'Boost' mode changes based on your skill, while 'Original' is a standard difficulty. 'Unlimited' mode is basically expert; things get crazy here. 'Time Attack' is where you have a limited time to get as many points as possible. Use as many lives as you need!

'Novice' is a simpler mode, with a much more manageable amount of enemies. 'Arcade' is what is sounds like; difficult, and meant to eat (free) quarters, or lives. All new to the World Explosion edition is 'Arrange', which has Gradius-style upgrades to your ship. Each mode also allows you to choose a ship to fight as.

Crimzon Clover: World Explosion is honestly a fantastic game for shoot 'em up fans, or anyone interested in the genre. I've really enjoyed my time with it, and it surprised me how few complaints I had, other than the genre typical short length - you're supposed to replay these games over and over for a higher score - which incidentally, has online leaderboards. Morally, you shoot bad guys out of the sky; nothing unusual since the beginning of video games. Degica has promised that the upgrades currently included in the Switch version will be coming to the PC releases in the future, but for now, the 'Arrange' mode is all new and exclusive to the Switch. Regardless of which version you play, it's a blast - and highly recommended.

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Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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