PAX Prime 2010: Bangai-O
For those who have been following the Bangai-O series, the newest release coming to Xbox Live Arcade in 2010 will be like a familiar friend back with a new, polished look. Maybe last time you saw this friend on the DS he was a little slow, he stuttered a little. Now, however, he’s a smooth and confident character, bursting with vigor. He still has that old habit of punching you in the junk every time you hang out with him, but for some reason you never stop hanging out.
The demo of Bangai-O at PAX is still in the alpha testing phase, but what developer Treasure has hammered out so far is looking to be a very polished rendition of Bangai-O, taking full advantage of the 360’s processing power. Truly, there was never a barrage of bullets or maelstrom of missiles so smooth or relentless. Even in the alpha testing stage, there was no noticeable slowdown during those times when the screen was crammed with munitions and enemies.
Most of the reason that Bangai-O is still in development is that the levels are still heavily under development. Only five or six levels are complete at the time of this writing, and Treasure say they’re not even done tweaking those yet, they’re something of a group of perfectionists when it comes to balancing their level designs. However, when they’re done there will be fifty challenging and engaging unending hells of bullets and missiles to blast through. That’s not even counting the sixty extra levels that will be unlocked once you’ve finished the first fifty, bonuses for the Bangai-O elite that include old levels remixed to be a bit more challenging as well as new content.
The feature that many users will be most interested in, however, is the level editor. Bangai-O on XBLA wouldn’t be complete without the ability to edit, create, and share levels, and Treasure makes sure not to leave it out. You’ll be able to create and store up to ten levels, or use some of those slots to download the creations of your friends or other Live users.
Though Bangai-O is still in alpha, Treasure is planning a November release, so keep your eyes peeled for it if you’re a fan of the series, or if twitchy shoot em up bullet hell is your cup of tea. Even if it’s not usually, I would recommend giving it a go. It’s easy to pick up, hard to master, and ridiculously addictive. Each failure only encourages you to think of another way to tackle the level, and when you finally do beat some of the more challenging ones, it’s very satisfying. At XBLA prices, it’s also sure to be a bargain given the hours it will likely keep you engaged.