Dodonpachi Resurrection Review: iPhone, Meet Bullet-Hell

Top-down shooters are usually not my type of game; I have fun with them but I am for sure no expert.  I can’t even remember the name of the last top-down shooter I’ve played, only remembering that it was fun and enjoyable.

So when Cave released Dodonpachi Resurrection for the iPhone, I was curious to find out how it played with no intentions of actually getting deep into the gameplay and playing for hours upon end.  But that’s exactly what happened… all without me knowing it.

And after playing for hours and hours, I can’t help but say that I’m satisfied.  And satisfied is an understatement.


Bullet-hell: This is my first introduction to the bullet-hell genre; I haven’t played Cave’s previous game Espgaluda II and I haven’t played anything close to this on any other platform.  With that said, I’ve finally been introduced to bullet-hell and I really like what I see.  The screen is absolutely chaotic and things are exploding from left to right; I can’t help but feel a bit giggly inside, the same feeling a pyromaniac gets when he or she starts burning something.

Controls: The bar on the bottom allows you to control your ship without having to obstruct the view of the screen.  Sure in terms of aesthetics it isn’t the prettiest, but it sure makes the controls a lot easier than any other top-down shooter I’ve played.  They’re accurate, feel natural, and allow sharp moves and turns that wouldn’t be possible with any other control option.  While their solution was simple, it works to perfection.

OpenFeint achievements: I usually don’t expect old or retro companies like Cave to implement OpenFeint into their games, just like I wouldn’t expect Gameloft or EA Mobile to implement it.  But Cave did, which comes as quite a surprise, and they implemented it with well over 40 achievements.  It’s a sign, to me atleast, that they’ve studied the market and took the time to see what iPhone gamers want, and I applaud them for that.

Variety: There are a lot of enemy types, a lot of different bosses, and just a lot of everything.


Repetitive: Each level is essentially the same, with one mini-boss towards the middle of the level and one towards the end.  The game does start to get repetitive after a certain amount of time, but it shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

Short arcade mode: The arcade mode shouldn’t last anyone longer than 30 minutes, although you can go through that gameplay mode three different ways with three different ships.  Still, it is a bit short and would have been better with more levels.

Dodonpachi Resurrection is the best top-down shooter I’ve ever played, and being a newbie at bullet-hell shooters, I’ve had a ton of fun with it.  Even though it is a bit short, I’ve still poured in hours into the game by replaying the arcade and iPhone mode over and over again.  Achieving those achievements aren’t too bad either, and overall, I can’t NOT recommend this to everyone.

Dodonpachi Resurrection was developed by Cave, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $8.99.

About Daniel

I have been an iPhone game addict ever since the NES emulator came out on the 1.1.4 iPhone 2G. After 2.0 and the App Store came out, my iPhone homescreen has never been the same. Other than writing reviews for App Store games, I play soccer/football, American football, volleyball, and golf. I love going to the beach and fishing on the pier. Some games not available on iPhone/iPod Touch that I truly love are the Call of Duty series, Guitar Hero III, Madden NFL 09, and PGR: Gotham Racing.

5 thoughts on “Dodonpachi Resurrection Review: iPhone, Meet Bullet-Hell

  1. I had considered writing a review of this one, but decided against it. I would have been much less kind. To sum up my very contrary opinion, Dodonpachi Resurrection is one of the most boring, assinine top-down shooters I’ve ever played. The game is little more than an orgy of lights and explosions. Your ship cuts such a wide swath of destruction that it almost doesn’t matter where you fly; if something is on the screen you’re going to hit it without even trying. Enemies have only one strategy, that being to flood the screen with as many bullets as the device can handle, and so they all end up feeling exactly the same. In fact, most of the time they are so obscured by a miasma of explodery that you won’t even see them. Luckily, you don’t actually need to see them to destroy them; see above. And because this is a “bullet hell” shooter, you will spend most of the game staring directly at your ship and a one-centimeter radius surrounding your ship. The rest of the screen doesn’t matter at all, is totally unimportant, because whatever is out there, you’ll shoot it without trying, and because whatever is out there, the only thing it can do is throw more bullets at you just like the ones you’re already navigating, and when those bullets get to you, they will be just like the bullets already here. Honestly, you could play this game with pinhole vision.

    So while many will go on saying this is the best shooter in the app store, I disagree. I think it’s one of the worst — a tedious, repetitious bore in which every enemy, every boss and every stage feel exactly the same. The $8.99 price tag is a joke, and not a funny joke, but a mean joke. Like your friends tying you up, hanging you upside-down from the ceiling and using you as a piñata; like Cave slapping a new coat of paint on Espgaluda II and selling it to you again as a brand-new game.

    Thank you, Cave. In retrospect, my money would better have been spent on a second copy of Space Invaders Infinity Gene gifted it to a friend.

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