Wartech is one of those 2D shooting games that's unlikely to trouble the upper reaches of western sales charts, in spite of the rave reviews it received in its native Japan. Originally developed for Sega's Naomi arcade board, then given a few upgrades, then released on Xbox 360, it's now coming out over here thanks to Ubisoft's impressive eye for quality.
And in spite of the new name, and some slightly ugly new boxart, it's pretty much exactly the same game, because Ubisoft has taken the wise decision to keep its localising zeal to a minimum. There are none of the crappy American voices here that have plagued games from Shenmue to Yakuza, just subtitles. Which, actually, is perfect, because it preserves the big-eyed anime aesthetic and the slightly shrill, slightly perplexing sense of style.
But what does the game actually involve? It's basically like a beat 'em up meets shoot 'em up. Visually it's got the small sprite appeal of something like Bangai-O: like Bangai-O, it's a quirky shoot 'em up, featuring tiny big robots. Like Bangai-O, while it looks like a conventional 2D shoot 'em up, it's not. And like Bangai-O, it's pretty brilliant, but it won't appeal to everyone. But the comparison to Bangai-O is only partially instructive.