Treasure's classic shooter Ikaruga is heading to Switch this month

With vertical screen support in portable mode.

Publisher Nicalis has announced that it's bringing revered Japanese developer Treasure's classic, polarity-switching arcade shooter Ikaruga to Switch on May 29th.

Ikaruga first released in Japanese arcades back in 2001, and follows the exploits of rebel pilot Shinra as he battles enemy forces in his trusty Ikaruga - a warship that's, crucially, equipped with the ability to change polarities at will.

What this means in game terms is that you're not just focussed on dodging and shooting your way to victory; you've also got to use your polarity powers wisely too, strategically switching from black to white and back at the most opportune moments to reap the rewards.

Pick a colour and you'll absorb bullets of the same shade (powering up your homing laser in the process), and inflict double damage on enemies of the same colour. Unfortunately, a single hit from an opposing colour opponent will immediately destroy you, imbuing Ikaruga's frenzied shooting action with a distinct, almost puzzle-like rhythm.

As Eurogamer contributor Simon Parkinson explained in his 2008 review of Ikaruga on Xbox 360, this introduces all sorts of strategic considerations: "Where are the best places to switch up to maximise the combo meter? Are my reflexes good enough to dodge this stream of black bullets as a white ship or should I take the slower, safer route for fewer points and lesser glory?


"These questions complicate and crowd your mind as you play, drawing the game away from a pure shoot-'em-up experience into something altogether different and inscrutable."

All five of Ikaruga's stages are present and correct in the Switch version, as is a local co-op mode. You'll also find three difficulty levels, and two distinct modes of play in the form of classic Arcade and Prototype - the latter limiting your bullets depending on colours absorbed. What's more, Ikaruga's vertical-scrolling action can either unfold with the Switch's portable screen in its usual horizontal position, or, for added authenticity, vertically with detached Joy-Cons.

Ikaruga will release on the Switch eShop on May 29th and will cost $14.99 USD (there's no word on a UK price just yet). Interestingly, a recently spotted ratings board listing also suggested that a PlayStation 4 release may also be on the cards.

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Matt Wales

Matt Wales


Matt Wales is a writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.


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