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Treasure Takes Aim for PC, Ikaruga on Greenlight

Hungry for some classic bullet hell action on PC? Get those voting fingers clicking.

The PC has a fair few classic bullet hell games -- most notably the Touhou series that popularized this particular offshoot of the shoot 'em up genre -- but there are a few developers and series who have been conspicuously absent until now.

One of these is Cave, who seem stubbornly dead-set on making mobile games at present, and the other is Treasure, the prolific developer behind games like Gunstar Heroes, Radiant Silvergun, Bangai-O and Ikaruga.

You may recall in this week's JPgamer column, we reported that Treasure were teasing... something, but what that "something" might be was not altogether clear. Well, now it's been revealed: Treasure very much wants to make strides into the PC market, beginning with a port of Ikaruga on Steam.

One snag: presumably due to the fact that Treasure hasn't released any games on the PC before, Ikaruga is presently stuck in Greenlight limbo and needs your votes to get on Steam. For those of you who already know what Ikaruga is all about, this is probably all you need to know, so here's the relevant link; do what needs to be done.

For those of you who have missed out on the joy of Ikaruga in the past, may I first point you to our History of Bullet Hell feature from a while back? Here's the short version, though: originally released as an arcade game on the Dreamcast-like Sega NAOMI hardware back in 2001, Ikaruga is a "bullet hell" shooter with an interesting twist that has since become known as the "polarity shooter" subgenre.

Essentially what this means is that the player's ship, all enemies and their bullets are either black or white, and you can switch the polarity of your ship at will. The reason you might want to do this is because you can absorb bullets of the same polarity of your ship, which in turn allows you to fill up a special weapon meter. Similarly, defeating multiple enemies of the same polarity in a row allows you to build up chain bonuses and score highly, giving the game something of a "puzzle" feeling amid all the things exploding around you.

The PC port is based on the Xbox 360 version that came out back in 2008, so it features HD visuals and support for the Xbox 360 controller. There's even a peculiar "Double Play" mode in which you can control two ships with a single controller, and for those who want the truly authentic arcade-style experience, you can turn your monitor vertically and play as the gods of danmaku intended.

It's a shame Ikaruga, as such an iconic installment in the shmup genre, has to go through Greenlight rather than being automatically accepted on Steam, but it's a good opportunity to show Treasure that there's demand for its games on PC in the West -- recent tweets from the company certainly make it sound like Ikaruga is far from the only game they want to bring to the platform.

You know what to do, then; get voting!

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