Natsuki Chronicles Review
Reviewed on PCAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and PC
Natsuki Chronicles, from developer Qute and publisher Rising Star Games, is described as a "dramatic horizontal shoot 'em up." Natsuki Chronicles is billed as a prequel leading up to Ginga Force's events, a previous game from the same developer-publisher team, taking place in the same universe.
In much the same vein as classic games such as R-Type, Gradius, and Bio-Hazard Battle, Natsuki Chronicles is a horizontal side-scroller shooter in which the protagonist controlled by the player must destroy, outsmart, and outmanoeuvre a continuous onslaught of enemies, projectiles, and environmental hazards to defeat a powerful boss at the end of each level. In this title, we follow the story of rookie pilot Natsuki Sugiura as she learns the ropes and becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the practice of destroying others in what she considers senseless deaths.
The story of Natsuki Chronicles does not prove to be the most diverse as time goes on, as evidenced by basically that same conflict of conscience at the end of basically every level. Otherwise, the story only consists of brief cutscenes between levels and flavour-text dialogue throughout the levels themselves. While I did enjoy the cutscenes for what they were, the frequent text on the screen, which tended to be fairly lengthy for random comments, quickly outstayed their welcome and became repetitive and distracting in an already distracting game screen.
Thankfully, the story is not what you typically look for in a title such as Natsuki Chronicles. The gameplay elements were spot on, encouraging me to replay again and again to get a better score or to earn enough currency to unlock bigger and better weapons for subsequent levels. Speaking of, the frequency at which new upgrades or weapons were opened seemed perfectly timed, allowing the player to have something to look forward to after nearly every level ends, whether through success or failure. Unfortunately, this can also be viewed as a negative because it is difficult to keep up with buying all of your fancy new upgrades without grinding for more and more currency.
As far as replayability goes, Natsuki Chronicles seems like a title that will hold its own for quite some time. Whether you want to perfect your scores and unlock all of the weapons and upgrades or test your skills in arcade mode and battle other players on the online leaderboards, there are options to keep you going even after completing the final level in story mode.