Shoot ‘Em Up games have evolved as gamers’ tastes have changed. Consequently, they are much more refined and rarely rely on a hardcore experience to stand out. Instead, developers push the envelope with incredible animation, interesting stage design, and amazing sprites. As such, does this mean that retro games should now be avoided? Absolutely not. These foundations of an incredible genre should be respected and loved. Accordingly, when the Toaplan Arcade Game Collection was released, I couldn’t wait to get started.
Developed by Toaplan and Bitwave Games and published by the latter, this is a retro arcade experience. What’s more, each title has been polished for a modern audience. Moreover, each of the games can be purchased individually or discounted in the collection. Either way, they run extremely well on PC and are compatible with Steam Deck. Therefore, you can pick your favourite and enjoy it whilst out and about or on your break from work.
What games come to the Toaplan Arcade Game Collection Vol.1?
The great thing about this Toaplan Arcade Game Collection is the varied titles you’ll enjoy. What’s more, they capture the genre on the cusp of bullet hell madness. Accordingly, the action feels stripped-back and manageable, but aggressive and challenging. Now, this may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed the vertical and horizontal scrolling methods and the varied gameplay mechanics.
The Toaplan Arcade Game Collection comprises Twin Cobra, Out Zone, Truxton, and Zero Wing. Each of these games captures the late 80s and early 90s vibes while staying true to the genre’s standards. However, Out Zone was particularly special as it breaks many rules along the way. This vertical scroller allows you to pause, regroup, and examine your surroundings at will. Moreover, there are environmental obstacles to avoid, and multidirectional foes to slaughter. In short, it begins to evolve into the bullet hell madness that we are familiar with.
Though the team behind the Toaplan Arcade Game Collection has worked hard, I struggled to see the minute changes. However, each title performed perfectly, and the controls were great. Subsequently, I reckon hardcore gamers will appreciate the improved response times and better frame rates, but it’ll be lost on mere mortals. Instead, I liked the blend of games and the journey from the mid-80s to early 90s gaming. Furthermore, the different scrolling methods and varied mechanics exposed the tough but moreish elements of the genre.
The lack of modernisation may disappoint you, but I appreciated the trip down memory lane. The determination of the developers to stay true to their roots was admirable, and old-school gamers will adore this approach. However, the menu system and UI weren’t as user-friendly as I’d have liked and this was frustrating.
The Toaplan Arcade Game Collection looks amazing.
Discussing the visuals of 30-year-old games seems pointless. However, I think each of these titles looks amazing. Furthermore, they performed impressively on Steam Deck. Alongside this, I loved that you could adjust the borders, and how smooth every explosion and projectile was. Yes, retro haters will say they look dated and awful, but they are wrong. The garish colours and pixel finish are wonderfully nostalgic and great to look at.
This is then complemented by the incredible audio. Each game has a unique soundtrack that is oddly familiar. Furthermore, the loud and obnoxious sound effects add to the drama as well. As such, if you are old enough to remember the original games, you’ll adore the trip down memory lane.
It is better on Steam Deck.
I’m not the greatest M&K gamer, but the Toaplan Arcade Game Collection handled better with a controller. Alternatively, if you have a Steam Deck, the experience is improved further still. Now, I know purists will hate me, but it is what it is. The developers have done a great job with their control setup, and the layout is perfect for a controller. However, my only gripe is that each menu is slow to navigate. This was frustrating and unnecessarily cumbersome. Yet, it is a minor shortcoming for an otherwise excellent collection.
Unsurprisingly, this collection is moreish as hell. Yes, Zero Wing outstays its welcome a bit, but that’s a minor thing. With plenty of gameplay on offer and so much variety to experience, you can flit between each title without getting bored. Moreover, the developers have incorporated a reverse button to undo mistakes, and this makes it a little easier than necessary. However, this is the perfect tool for newcomers or casual players.
The Toaplan Arcade Game Collection is fantastic.
With so many amazing Shoot ‘Em Ups, it can be tough to pick the right one. Yet, The Toaplan Arcade Game Collection has 4 of the best titles in one place. Furthermore, the varied mechanics, the excellent graphics, and the era-specific audio make this a fantastic library of games. Consequently, I loved it and I recommend that you buy it here! Relive the late 80s and early 90s with this amazing gaming collection.