We've waited far, far too long for an Xbox Live Arcade game in which you must shoot a robot dinosaur repeatedly in the face with a neon pink laser beam until its eyes fall out.
A flash of classic Japanese exuberance, Omega Five is a throwback to those side-scrolling shoot-'em-ups you once read about in the import section of a SEGA Saturn magazine. With enemies 500 pixels tall and boss battles five frames of animation shy of an anime tentacle rape scene, it's a game whose wild, bright, Dreamcast-esque aesthetic reveals just how accustomed to white, western and (graphically at least) middle-of-the-road videogames we've become. It's bold and incongruous, joining forces with Earth Defense Force 2017 in broadening the style and ethnicity of the 360 library, and for that we already like it.
Omega Five is the creation of Natsume, a Japanese developer best known in the west for its pastoral themed, carrot-growing sim, Harvest Moon. With little arcade action style output since the Super Nintendo's - admittedly very good - Pocky and Rocky games, the company lacks pedigree in this niche. Likewise, unlike forthcoming Ikaruga and Raiden, Omega Five is a new release that has never spent time out in the real world, earning its stripes and credibility from arcade punters' credits. As a result, genre fans have been understandably nervous that this, the first contemporary Japanese shmup on the service might be something of a missed opportunity.