Review: Drainus – A Spectacular, Showboating Tour De Force For Sci-Fi Shmup Fans

Drain the core.

Drainus. Whether a ham-fisted portmanteau of Darius and Gradius, or relating to the game’s core mechanic, it’s a silly name any way you look at it. Japan-based developer Team Ladybug, more recently known for the rather good Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth, has had the Switch shooting game hardcore waiting eight months since the game’s Steam release, but does it live up to the hype?

Drainus pays homage to many genre classics; a touch of Border Down in its ship functions and styling, a nod to Einhander in the aesthetic of its stage-two train assault, and plenty of Gradius V in its transforming boss phases. The one influence that’s been touted heavily in previews, inexplicably, is Ikaruga, as if it’s the only other title in the genre the mainstream gaming press has ever heard of. While Drainus features a system of absorbing enemy fire that can be returned in a flurry of homing lasers, the execution here has far more in common with Takumi’s Giga Wing than it does Treasure’s puzzle-shmup hybrid, making it a largely erroneous comparison.

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