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Minishoot’ Adventures is my Favorite Game of the Year

Key Takeaways
1. Twin-Stick shooting in a Zelda-inspired world.
2. Excellent art style and world design.
3. Accessibility options for less twin-stick-inclined adventurers.

You can’t throw a rock on Steam without hitting a game that is inspired by The Legend of Zelda. It’s the franchise that the entire “Action Adventure” genre was built on, and you’ll find its DNA in just about any game you’ll ever play.

Then there are the games that toss out “inspiration” and just aim to do Zelda. That’s not a criticism; you can incorporate plenty of your own ideas while making a game that is an obvious take on a classic. Tunic, Unsighted, and the Blossom Tales games would all be worse if they weren’t so obvious in their inspirations.

Minishoot' Adventures is another in that long lineage but puts a bullet hell spin on the Zelda formula. I thought it looked cute when I decided to check it out, but since I’m not a massive fan of twin-stick shooters I figured it would be a “this is neat but not for me” type of game at best.

I was wrong. This is my favorite game so far this year.

What’s Old is New

Minishoot' Adventures takes place in a world very familiar to Zelda fans.

At the surface level, Minishoot' Adventures is a top-down action-adventure game where you explore a modest open world to find and complete dungeons where you unlock new abilities that allow you to gain access to further reaches of the world. It is clearly inspired by the original NES The Legend of Zelda, down to featuring that game's iconic first screen relatively close to the village that acts as your hub.

Oh, but you play as an adorable spaceship. And all the enemies are adorable spaceships. And throughout the adventure, you’ll rescue your friends and family who are also adorable spaceships.

It’s not just the sci-fi tint that marks Minishoot' Adventures as unique, however. The initial loading screen of the game has a nearly apologetic note, explaining that it’s loading in the entire world in one go. That means that even though the world map is built in chunks like a top-down Zelda game, there’s no reaching the edge of a screen and waiting for the camera to pan across. Instead, you can fire your little spaceship's little boosters and shoot across the entire world in one go. Even going in and out of caves and dungeons is super quick, which makes exploring feel wonderful.

I’ve recently been replaying New Vegas. While I love that game, I cannot believe how much success it gained with an open world that vast and movement that is so dull. I think the Spider-Man franchise showcases how important good movement is to an open world. If you are asking players to spend a lot of time going from Point A to Point B and back again, then the “going” needs to be fun.

Minishoot Adventures absolutely nails “going”. Moving around in this game feels so good, that it has actually made classic Zelda games feel worse in compression. Remember that concept sketch of a modern, skater-boy version of Link? Minishoot' Adventures makes me want that.


Every enemy in minishoot' Adventures operates on Bullet Hell logic.

By default, Minishoot' Adventures controls exactly like Geometry Wars (which is the last twin-stick shooter I truly loved). You use the left analog stick to move and turn the right analog stick to fire. On the triggers and face buttons, you’ll unlock abilities to boost, do a barrel roll that can clear small gaps, fire a pulse that temporarily disables enemies, and more.

You fire out a string of bullets, which you can upgrade to have more spread, shoot faster or further, and more through a skill tree that you’ll constantly unlock points for. The basic controls feel great, and the upgrades are just significant enough to be interesting. The fact that you can redistribute points at any time for free makes experimenting with slighting different builds useful for changing tactics for specific bosses, but it'll never drastically change your build.

There are a lot of basic enemies that will spawn and respawn throughout the world map, and a few bigger and badder foes distributed in key areas of the overworld and in the dungeons. Every enemy you come across either fires spreads of bullets at you or launches themselves at you in patterns that will feel very familiar to fans of shoot-em-up games. Bullets will fan out in a spread, they’ll zigzag back and forth, they’ll expand and contract, they’ll spiral… Throughout the game, you’ll find enemies that fire bullets in just about every bizarre pattern you could imagine, but the key is that you can learn hose patterns on an encounter-by-encounter basis. Once you’ve got the pattern locked in, you’ll feel like Neo swerving through a screen full of death without taking a single hit.

Accessibility Options!

Minishoot' Adventures has perfect accessibility options.

That dodging and weaving is normally where twin-stick shooters lose me. I like the feel of finding the path through a bunch of bullets, but I struggle with the focus required to avoid getting hit while also making sure my bullets are firing in the right direction to hit enemies. Thankfully, Minishoot' Adventures features two alternative options that made the game way more playable for me.

At the first level of assistance, the game will refine your aiming for you, giving you a massive assist so that even if your stick is pointed vaguely towards an enemy you’ll shoot at it. At the next level, which is where I spent most of the game, your ship starts firing at enemies automatically whenever an enemy is in range.

That setup allowed me to play Minishoot Adventures like some weird hybrid of Zelda and Vampire Survivors, where it was my job to avoid getting hit while exploring a big world full of hidden treasures, and my ship fired at everything in my path.

On top of the different control methods, there are accessibility options to slow down the game speed, make your ship invulnerable, or give you infinite energy for boosts and power shots. Considering that the overall structure of this game is going to appeal to Zelda fans more than shmup fans, having these options to tone down the bullet-hell nature of things is excellent.

Excellent Exploration

The ability to see unfound items on the map in minishoot' Adventures is excellent.

I made it through the four dungeons and to the final boss of Minishoot' Adventures after about five and a half hours. I fought the boss once, got thoroughly wrecked, and then left his lair. Honestly, I’d been having such a blast that I didn’t want the game to end.

One of the optional items I’d picked up at a shop had marked hidden items and an indicator on whether caves were “completed” on my map, so I spent another three hours just cruising around the map clearing out caves, going through optional combat gauntlets, and finding heart pieces and other upgrades.

I’m not a completionist, but I literally did every single thing on the map before I went and finished the boss off. The world design, the movement, and the visuals are all so good that this was a world I was delighted to be lost in, and that I didn’t want to leave. Thankfully, even after the credits there are a few more challenges to take on.

Final Thoughts

The art style of minishoot' Adventures is absolutely adorable.

I adore Minishoot' Adventures, y’all. It’s less puzzle-oriented than most Zelda games, but it nails the feeling of exploration I love in those stories and has a combat system all of its own that is delightful. If you grew up exploring Hyrule on the NES like I did, I cannot recommend this game enough.

Just remember those alternate control options are there, and if things are still too tough you can always flip on invincibility from the accessibility menu.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Adorable Spaceships

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Quick View
Title:Minishoot' Adventures
Release Date:April 2, 2024
ESRB Rating:Not Rated
Number of Players:1
Publisher/Developer:SoulGame Studio and IndieArk
How Long to Beat:6 Hours
Recommended for fans of:Exploration, Adventure, and Bullet Hell
Geek to Geek Media was provided with a review copy of this title.

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