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  • Writer's pictureRoberto Nieves

Review: Drainius

There were many games and many shows I grew up with. Toonami showed me shows like Outlaw Star and taught me I have to be brave to chase those dreams. My favorite types of games were spaceship shooters, like Einhander, where it was one man against a malevolent army. Rarely does a game combine both, and I found that in Drainius.


Drainius is an excellent spaceship shooter that combines customization, tight gameplay, and a solid story. Like many spaceship shooters, it is on the shorter side, but the time spent with the game is incredible and shows that there is still a lot to enjoy in the genre.



A battle across time and space. On a distant planet, Irina tends to her dying father. The only cure for him resides on the planet known as Earth, far and away across space. Between them is the malevolent Kharal Empire and the General Emperor Izumo. Suddenly, a flash and an alien frog hops out and calls himself Ghenie. Ghenie hails from the future and warns of an imminent war. Infiltrating and stealing the advanced starship, the Drainius, Irina, and Ghenie set off on a mission to save the present and the future.


Drainius is a horizontal spaceship shooter. Players fight through entire armies of flying ships and machines, with each level ending in a massive boss fight. Players fly and shoot their way through. The fundamentals of the genre are present, but Drainius has a catch: The 'reflector.' By holding one button, players absorb enemy fire and discharge back to the enemy. Between missions, players upgrade and refine their ship. This includes different shit spreads, special attacks, and secondary attacks such as missiles and drones.


An enemy boss ship fire a laser cannon at the player

Greetings Starfighter


Drainius gets off to a rip-roaring start. The game is very much reminiscent of games on PlayStation and Dreamcast, with an incredible display of traditional 2D visuals and 3D visuals. That particular era was a time when video games were transitioning from 2D to 3D. There would be many games that either remained with pixels or went all-in on polygons. Darinius has a nice balance of both philosophies, with an incredible soundtrack to boot!


Drainius takes place across several stages, each one providing a different challenge, from blazing deserts to mammoth fortresses and everything in between. Drainius does a fine job of balancing out a solid variety of levels and settings. Mechanical enemies chase the player down, while walking tanks provide a significant obstacle for players to maneuver and overcome. The boss fights each have their own method to contend with. While the reflector is essential to survival, it does not make players invincible.


A walking tank charges upwards at the player in a cave

Drainius Death Blossom


The reflector is the biggest draw to the familiar tried-and-true gameplay of Drainius. The game lobs screen-filling volleys of enemy fire at the player. By using the reflector, players can absorb and dish out relentless salvos of laser shots against the enemy. Playing Drainius is a combination of avoiding fire, shooting back, and using the reflector.


The reflector makes Drainius fare more reachable than other games in the genre, but it does not make the game a cakewalk. During levels, boss fights especially, using the reflector does a fine job in balancing out a solid variety of levels and settings. Mechanical enemies chase the player down, while walking tanks provide a significant obstacle for players to maneuver and overcome. The boss fights each have their own method to contend with. While the reflector is essential to survival, it does not make players invincible.


A tank fires purple bullets at the player's ship

In Her Hand was Hope


Between levels, players customize their ship and listen to any logs recovered during the level. The customization options include different shots, drone assists, and special power-ups. Players can adjust their speed during battle to make them slower or faster. These options give layers a lot of options for gameplay and combat.


Each moment of Drainius is an absolute joy to play! The visual spectacle and gameplay kept me wanting more and giving me more. The game feels refreshingly new and old-fashioned, with a mixture of challenges that feel rewarding to conquer. The time travel story is neat and surprisingly heartfelt. There is even a twist that works extremely well in the context of the game.


SHOOT THE CORE

Pierce the Heavens


Drainius is excellent but only held back by its length. A few more levels and the game would have been golden. As it stands, the game could be beaten in one sitting, even with the replay value it holds, such as higher difficulties, several game modes, and collectibles. The developers clearly have a vivid imagination with the genre, and I could only imagine what more they could do.


Drainius is a great spaceship shooter with all the things that you could want. It has a solid story, great gameplay, a unique mechanic, and a sharp presentation that is both respectful of the past and incredibly new. Drainius is a great game for anyone, whether you are the kind of player that mastered R-Type or have never played a shmup before. Drainius is a rocking good time!


Drainius was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch thanks to a key generously supplied to Stack Up from Playism.

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