Graceful Explosion Machine is a side scrolling shoot em’ up developed by Vertex Pop. This vibrantly colorful starship shooter places you as a pilot trying to save their home world from aliens.
You will fight your way four planets to warp your way back to your now safe home. The ship you pilot has four different attacks, all of which draw from a the same power reserve except for your primary fire that has an overheating mechanic. The three other abilities are what make this game so much different from other 2D shoot em’ up games. Where most games of the genera give you power-ups to choose from, Graceful Explosion Machine gives you a short-range sword, heat seeking missiles, and a high power long-range sniper to play through the entire game. Having to manage what abilities you use given that they all draw from the same power source gave the game more depth than most bullet hell games I’ve played. It added many situations where I would fail a level then go back through with an entirely different strategy and succeed.
Graceful Explosion Machine never got stale. Every few levels you would be introduced to an entirely new type of enemy that completely changes the strategy you have to use to survive. From space centipedes, to cyclops with lazers, every enemy felt unique.
The only problem I had with the game was that with so much going on at all times, it was really difficult to keep track of where everything was. Through the game I felt more like I was losing to not being able to see enemies rather than my ability to dodge them. The explosions of enemies killed would often hide other enemies for split seconds, often causing me to lose a life.
Graceful Explosion Machine was a fantastic shoot em’ up with a good twist on the genera. Overall I would give Graceful Explosion Machine 4.5/5 stars due to it’s fantastically fun gameplay as well as a truly difficult experience.