PAX EAST: Hands-On With Spaceship Shooter Natsuki Chronicles

Rising Star Games paired with Thunderful at PAX EAST this year to demo a brand new spaceship shooter straight from Japan. Natsuki Chronicles, from developer QUTE is an ambitious sci-fi spaceship shooter with a unique story, dynamic combat, and a focus on the mechanics that make spaceship shooter a blast to play. 

Natsuki Chronicles follows the story of Natsuki, a young female rookie pilot that fights to unlock the memories of her past. In a story that parallels the universe of Ginga Force, another spaceship shooter, Natsuki fights against a massive enemy Armada to find more about herself and her past. 

I had the opportunity to play a few levels of Natsuki Chronicles at PAX EAST. As someone that has been very familiar with spaceship shooters, I was quite excited to play as there have not been as many spaceship shooter games made recently. Spaceship shoot-em-ups, or spaceship shmups, are some of the best games to play, as they are known for their epic scope, great gameplay, and easy-to-learn controls. Natsuki Chronicles did not disappoint. 

Natsuki Chronicles takes its inspirations from DariusBurst and Raystorm. Players fight unending waves of enemies, fighting to shoot every last one down. In Natsuki Chronicles, players fight with a combination of primary weapons, sub-weapons, and a special weapon. The primary weapon shoots forward whereas the sub-weapons shoots either backward, as well as other directions. The key is to shoot, survive and build up your score. 

Natsuki Hronicles felt like a meeting between the old and the new. The game reminded me of Raystorm with its ship design and DariusBurst with its visual cues and use of the sub-weapon. Both of the aforementioned games were games I grew up with and helped cement my interest in spaceship shmups. Seeing that Natsuki Chronicles remind me of such games was a strong sign for me. 

Natsuki Chronicles is a visual extravaganza, with hundreds of enemy ships filling the screen. Destroying them is constantly rewarding and the constant sense of danger made my knuckles white with intensity. It’s extremely fast-paced but also action-packed. One moment, a squadron of small fighters fill the other half the screen, and the next moment, several enemy battleships send their missiles towards what they hope is your doom. As expected, the more players fight to stay alive, the higher their score. Additionally, they receive power-ups that give their firepower and super energy some much needed umph. For the demo, the special weapon I had access too were a special shield that could block everything at least for a limited time. 

In addition to the hundreds of enemies on-screen, my demo had me destroy several immensely enjoyable bosses, including a big enemy ship and an enemy combat walker. These bosses are incredibly difficult and require keen skills and awareness. Knowing where bullets would go gives a slight grasp at hope to fight the enemy and survive.

Overall, Natsuki Chronicles is a fantastic spaceship shooter in its current state. The game captures a feeling evoked only in similar games from the 1990’s on the first PlayStation and Sega Dreamcast. The action is fast, the presentation is sharp, and the gameplay is great! Natsuki Chronicles looks to be a great spaceship shooter for all! 

Natsuki Chronicles releases for Steam and PlayStation 4 in 2020.