There is a kind of beauty at work in many bullet hell shooters. There’s just something really pretty about the hundreds of colorful shots floating your way, whizzing past the ship while you thread it like a needle. It’s something about the genre that I never really noticed until I came across the bright arrays of Lurkers Lair’s Awaken: Underwater Odyssey, a shmup that is full of really nice bullet patterns aiming to rip your poor submarine to pieces.
When not watching shots bursting apart into spinning wheels of shimmering color, players will want to take some time to customize your submarine. Instead of relying on item pickups floating by, or a single stock weapon or ship, the player has the ability to equip their ship with unlockable weapons before heading out, choosing from different damage types and effects. There’s also the bonus choice of bringing other members of the crew, known as Kraken Squad, along for the ride. They’ll hug the ship, providing constant firepower support that increases the main ship’s shot spread, with the tradeoff being that moving with them will slow the ship down. It also means players can’t use AOE torpedoes, so they’ll really need to think about whether the backup is worth the hassle for each mission.
With multiple weapon unlocks and various boss rush and onslaught modes, the game has a lot to keep any shmup fan busy. Lurkers Lair has also been hard at work ensuring everything stays balanced, so don’t expect to find that one weapon unlock that turns the whole game into a cakewalk. Neptune isn’t going to give up its secrets easily, but if players are willing to tiptoe their way through blooming flowers of bullets across an underwater battlefield, they can drop the few bucks needed to play Awaken: Underwater Odyssey.
Awaken: Underwater Odyssey is available for $3.99 on Itch.io. For more information on the game and its developer, you can head to the Lurkers Lair website, read their IndieDB profile, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.