PuPaiPo Space Deluxe is a frantic shooter with a very simple premise: avoid bullets and the various creatures firing them for 90 seconds, and defeat each boss that follows. Then repeat for a total of five stages. Whilst other games revel in infinite lives, frequent checkpoints, layered plots, and lengthy tutorials it’s refreshing to just start blasting everything that moves.
There is a plot — something about pizza — but it seems to hardly feature in the game itself. When it does, it’s merely in the form of a throwaway line from each boss. But plot really doesn’t matter much with this type of classic arcade fare; everything other than gameplay is pretty incidental.
And this is a game that you really can just pick up and play any time, wherever you are. Load time is practically instant, wait times are totally absent. The controls are easy to grasp, especially given the autofire button which puts the gameplay firmly in dodge-em-up territory. You can use the right stick to aim and fire if you choose, but it’s far trickier and I avoided doing so for the most part.
The collision detection here feels just generous enough to help the player without patronising them. Again and again, I performed manoeuvres I couldn’t believe I was capable of, making it from one corner of the screen to the opposite one whilst shimmying through an impenetrable block of foes. If you like flattery, PuPaiPo Space Deluxe has you covered.
As you’d expect, there are power-ups to help, ranging from a shield to a gun with fatter bullets and one that sprays out multiple projectiles at once. There’s also a small number of bombs on-board your ship, but I found myself using these rarely; they only do damage to enemies at very close range and there’s often just not enough time to deploy them effectively.
Visually, PuPaiPo Space Deluxe is nothing to write home about. In fact, at times it resembles the kind of game you see coming out of beginner tutorials; the graphics aren’t objectively bad, they’re just nothing special and seem a tiny bit slapped together. But, thankfully, this isn’t much of a concern and it’s at least a departure from the standard metallic look.
Ultimately, this game succeeds by doing what little it does, as well as it can. This is a game about avoiding waves of enemies. To maintain interest it needs a good range of enemy types, and it needs to introduce them in patterns that are increasingly challenging — but never outright unfair. PuPaiPo Space Deluxe does both of these things very well. The bosses are also a delight, each is totally unique but has well-defined attack patterns to learn and master. Unfortunately, the final boss is a bit too easy.
I completed the core game all too quickly, but I still enjoyed it. The difficulty level was reasonable, and the continue system is just one of the ways it can be adjusted, providing ample opportunity for return visits. There are also two modes unlocked on beating the first five stages: a boss rush and a never-ending survival mode.
Despite being short and not really offering a lot of gameplay variation, PuPaiPo Space Deluxe is highly entertaining, and what’s here has been put together well enough to result in a decent game. It scores highly in terms of accessibility even if it’s not particularly memorable.
PuPaiPo Space Deluxe £3.99
PuPaiPo Space Deluxe may be short and lacking in depth, but the main game plays as well as you could hope for. Additional modes will reward fans who return for more. This is classic arcade shooty action done well enough.