Thanks to Dispatch Games for the review code
Title: Psyvariar Delta
System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 07/02/2019
Psyvariar Delta is a compilation/remix of the original Psyvariar: Medium Unit, containing three different forms of the game with differing backgrounds, enemy layouts, and soundtracks. While the differences between versions are kinda tough to spot at first, they do become more apparent, even if Revision and Delta appear to be too similar at first. Each version of the game sports different backgrounds and even their own arrangement of the game’s OST, and you can mix and match them as you please, in case you want to go with only Medium Unit material or mix up the Medium Unit music with the Delta stages. Thankfully, all the music in this game is fantastic, although I prefer the nature of the Medium Unit arrangements more than the remixes, since those tend to get quite busy.
Being a vertical shooter, you have your typical screen options to choose from, either a horizontal display with a border (said border includes a bunch of helpful game info, which is really handy) or a vertical display with no border, but the game’s original resolution. Either option works great, and I find the vertical one to be very useful for portable play, as it makes all the 3D models and projectiles pop, leading to the game being crisp and easy to see overall.
Psyvariar Delta is a vertical shooter that controls just like you’d expect it to. With a shot and bomb button, you just pick a ship and game mode, then off you go! Alongside a normal shot that levels up over time, you can also do a slower but more powerful shot by doing a mid-air roll. (either by wiggling the D-Pad/Stick or holding a shoulder button) While it would take forever to list every single minor difference between the three versions of Psyvariar in this game, I’ll still at least go over the core gameplay of all three versions while highlighting the noticeable changes.
Regardless of which version you select, the main goal of each stage is to survive and destroy as many enemies as possible in order to make it to the end, either to face off against a powerful boss or to continue on to the next set of stages. The two default ships play pretty similarly to each other, although their rate of fire and method of shooting are slightly different and will continue to change the more you level up. Gaining levels in Psyvariar is pretty easy, as shooting down enemies and avoiding bullets will increase the level, which in turn will increase your ship’s shot power and also change its appearance. However, if you play the original Medium Unit version, the rate of gaining EXP is a lot slower than the other versions, so bear that in mind if you go with the original.
Along with a differing EXP rate, the other versions of Psyvariar also differ in the form of the game’s branching path system. While Medium Unit has a few differing routes to choose from, it’s a significantly shorter and more simple shooter compared to Revision or Delta, which add a lot more enemies, firepower, and even more branching paths to take that lead to brand new stages. Delta tweaks these extra stages to make the action more intense, which can make some of the final extra stages a full-blown bullet hell experience, and it’s joyous to play.
Delta alone has a bunch of replay value for that reason, but that doesn’t mean the other two are slouches on this fact either. Personally I found Medium Unit to be the best of the three for score chasing purposes thanks to the shorter length and thus a shorter amount of stages for the two online modes: Replay Mode+ and Score Attack. Score Attack is your typical 1CC score mode to try and get the highest score, while Replay Mode is a different take on that as it lets you play the game stage by stage to refine the score further. This means that that you can go crazy and pick your own order, and upon clearing a stage in this mode you will see your previous attempt as a reply from that point onward. This also makes it easy to play all the alternate stages without having to go through the entire game again, which is another great plus!
Last but not least is an overview of the DLC character, Blanche. While it’s not included with any version of the main game, the character is still only a $5 eShop download, and while it’s easy to assume that this character would play pretty similarly to the other two ships, Blanche actually brings a whole lot of interesting things to the table due to a completely different combat style. Now alongside a normal shot, Blanche can fire in all eight directions, and even has a powerful melee attack that murders bosses. It definitely feels like a beginner-friendly character but this whole new style of play makes the DLC well worth it, even if you wouldn’t think a random Jaleco character would be much of interest.
In conclusion, Psyvariar Delta is a score chaser’s dream, sporting three games in one and a bunch of leaderboard options to mess with. Combine that with fun bonus modes like Replay Mode+ and Score Attack, and you have plenty of ways to work for a higher score either locally or online. Considering how each game sports multiple paths and you can practice any stage from any game that you wish via the practice mode, this is also a very accessible shooter for newcomers, as they can work with the default settings for a while before improving their skills and being able to take on the main game on the normal difficulty. The DLC ship Blanche is also a great fit for newcomers due to the protective shield and eight way shooting, and it also serves as a great retro throwback due to remixing the entirety of the Cybattler OST when you use it, but the game’s still tough regardless and just playing as Blanche isn’t really an invincible mode, since you still have to figure out patterns and deal with the boss battles.
Regardless of how you choose to play this, Psyvariar Delta was a shooter that absolutely surprised me with how addictive it is while also getting so much right about score chasers. As a re-release, it’s fantastic, and as a new remix it’s equally as good. Normally I’d consider a $30 pricetag for a shooter a big risk, but considering the refined quality of the game alongside the high replay value from score chasing alone, this is an absolute steal for any fans of shooters or scorechasing games, and I strongly recommend you pick this game up if you’re wanting something new to play.
I give Psyvariar Delta a 9 out of 10.