Andro Dunos 2
Andro Dunos is a shmup that was one of many released during the late 80s to mid-90s. Originally developed by Visco Corporation, the same developers behind the Breakers series, this simple yet well-received shoot-em-up centered around a spacecraft known as Yellow Cherry. Yellow Cherry is tasked to defend the galaxy against a looming alien threat, such was the case for many similar stories at the time for games like these. While it was a hit in the arcades like most SNK published titles, it only saw a console release on the Neo Geo itself. A Dreamcast version wouldn't be ported until 2022, which leads to the release of Andro Dunos 2.
This all-new sequel was developed by Picorinne Soft, with licensing rights given by Visco of course. Picorinne Soft, a two-person development studio, had their hand in developing original indie shmups, including the Infinos and Battle Crust series. The best developers to be left in charge of a sequel to a thirty-year-old arcade exclusive title are the ones who were fans of the original, to begin with. As such, Andro Dunos 2 is the best way to experience the original in the convenience of a home console, both new and old.
One look at the available platforms will quickly become apparent that several of these platforms are not like the others. What's important to note is the Nintendo 3DS version as this is one of the last marketed 3DS titles to be released physically. This was done in part by PixelHeart, which has worked with VGNY Soft in the past. The former was also responsible for an exclusive Dreamcast port although, in recent years, the Sega console has been one of the frontrunners in the modern retro scene. I've tried out the physical Nintendo Switch copy which, like most VGNY Soft copies, includes a certificate of purchase.
Andro Dunos 2's gameplay features the familiar Yellow Cherry with a story that takes place roughly around the same time it took for a sequel to release. Not having played the original, this 4:3 ratio horizontal shoot-em-up features simple yet often unforgiving movement and patterns. Similar to games like Harmful Park, the difficult involves using the right weapon for the job at the right time. Some weapons fire lasers, a stream of bullets, homing missiles, bullets that fire in both directions, and more. There are over nine levels, each featuring a boss at the end of the level.
Other options including the difficulty and the number of continues can be adjusted and there are no online leaderboards so one doesn't have to worry about their score being invalidated. While the player controls Yellow Cherry, they can fire a "Mega Shot," which is a super version of the weapon the player has equipped. The homing weapon's super shot fires a 360-degree laser that destroys everything surrounding the craft. The laser weapon shoots a volley of lasers across all directions and the fishtail weapon shoots giant beams in unison.
The best thing about these power-ups is that they recharge in mere seconds and are even used to combat the enemy fire. As such, it's encouraged to use these power-ups as sporadically as possible. To balance things out, the density of the enemies becomes consistent at later levels. The atmosphere is just as impressive as one level requires the player to enter the sea, fight underwater alien enemies, and resurface like so.
Andro Dunos 2 is very barebones in its appearance as what you see is what you get. A simple menu that gives the player a chance to replay levels they may have cleared as well as an options menu and a ranking screen against a simple black background is what the player is treated to.
Nostalgic graphics, sounds, and music await the player and all of it fits the homage that the developers sought to achieve. The lack of bonus content shouldn't be enough to sway players away from this title as it's purely a love letter to SNK-based Neo Geo shooters of the 90s.
Andro Dunos 2 is available on Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Sega Dreamcast, and Xbox One.