Ikaruga Review
Ikaruga box art
System: X360 (XBLA) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Treasure 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Treasure 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: April 9, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

In addition to playing Ikaruga single player, you are also able to play co-op either locally or over Xbox Live. And while this is a pretty good option for those too daunted to go it alone, I feel that playing this game solo is slightly more satisfying then playing co-op. Part of Ikaruga's charm is the way it makes you scrutinize every level in painstaking detail, and when you are able to co-op it makes it much easier to burn through levels without paying as much attention as you would if you were going alone. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I think this type of frustratingly difficult play makes Ikaruga distinctive, and as such it is a game to be savored single player.

Ikaruga screenshot

Although Ikaruga might be punishing in terms of gameplay, it is fairly easy…on the eyes, that is. The game has gotten a major facelift since its last iterations on the GameCube and Dreamcast. The game is presented in full HD up to 720p and has a wonderfully quick framerate that keeps excellent pace with the extreme speed of the action on-screen. One cool feature of the game for those who own widescreen TVs is the ability to flip your TV on its side and use a realistic arcade full screen display (as opposed to the shrunken display with the large borders that you get if you leave your TV right side up.) Although this may be a bit impractical for those who don't have wall-mounted TVs, it is a cool option nonetheless, and if you have the ability to play it like a jumbo arcade game, then all the more power to you.

Controls in this game are exceedingly simple. You lead your ship around with the left joystick, and then you decide which buttons control your three remaining actions: fire, burst attack, and polarize. I personally found that the shoulder buttons work best for the polarize command and the A and B (or X) buttons for the two attacks. But ultimately, the choice on how to control this game is completely up to you, which is a good thing because you'll need to be as comfortable as possible with the controls so you can focus on getting through the game.


Ikaruga might sound like a short game, metering in at a paltry five levels. But trust me, this is not some flash in the pan game. It took me almost six hours just to get through the first three levels on easy with all the handicaps listed above. It is a truly challenging game, and is probably one of the best games out on Live Arcade. It challenges the notion that all the Live Arcade games are of the casual sect, and it definitely gives the hardcore crowd something to sink their teeth into. So if you're ready for a challenge and have 800 Microsoft points to burn, you simply can't go wrong with Ikaruga!

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer

Everything looks great in 720p. The option to play with your HD-TV on its side is a great option, even if it is impractical.
Very simple. There are only three commands: change polarity, fire primary weapon, and fire charge attack. You can assign these actions to any button (or combination of buttons) you want, so no complaining if you mix up the buttons!
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Level music is pretty good, but spoken dialogue (which only really happens when you're about to face a boss) is way too fast and sounds annoying.
Play Value
There are only a handful of levels, but the difficulty is so high that you'll have to run through them again and again in order to sufficiently beat them and move on to the next levels. Local and online co-op are great options but the best way to experience this game is solo. And trust me, you'll be doing that for quite awhile.
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Co-op play: Multiplayer support for two-player co-op offline or over Xbox LIVE allows you to clear the levels with a friend.
  • Video replay: Record your best moves and replay them to awe your friends.
  • Arcade shoot-'em-up action: Five full classic and exciting levels are coupled with twelve new achievements to master.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Ikaruga screenshot - click to enlarge Ikaruga screenshot - click to enlarge Ikaruga screenshot - click to enlarge Ikaruga screenshot - click to enlarge

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