A bullet hell of your own making
A longtime classic gaming genre is that of the bullet hell shooter: games which typically put the player in a massive crossfire of tons upon tons of flying onscreen ordnance which appears to be impossibly overwhelming, yet allows players to really strut their stuff as they take down the foes responsible. But what if the one responsible for putting all those bullets on screen… was you?
That is basically the premise behind Don’t Shoot Yourself!, a bullet hell game in which you must always keep moving, and as you’re moving, you’re always firing. Eventually, the screen is filled with a bullet hell of your own making, where your own firepower is your greatest enemy as you attempt to simply survive until the time runs out.
And, in truth, there really isn’t much more to the game than that. The rest comes through in the 50 different levels provided, which each have their own shapes and quirks to add and change up the challenge each time you go in. Narrow walls, odd shapes, and even portals through which your bullets pass in order to come back to haunt you keep things interesting.
Graphically, the game doesn’t do much—no roving soldiers on a battlefield, no starships blasting through alien armadas or asteroid fields. It’s all very simple and basic, yet pleasant. The only problem we really had is that it seemed that some of our bullets weren’t hurting us upon contact while others were, and determining which is which proves to be a bit tricky with so many all around you. On the other hand, it could just be a hitbox-detection thing, which is common enough—and exploitable, in the right hands—in these types of games.
The music is nice and sort of mellow as well, fitting the overall aesthetic of the game. It doesn’t quite pump you full of adrenaline, but nor does it feel like it’s going to put you to sleep, either. It’s just that sort of nice, melodic middle-ground you might expect to see in a game like Tetris, enhancing the experience while not distracting from it.
If there is any other grievance or praise to have with the game, it’s that it feels like the sort of game that would greatly benefit from having some sort of thumb stick to use for controls. The control is kept separate from the playing field, so there is thankfully no overlap, but sometimes during all the sliding around, you might find yourself reaching the edges of the device, throwing you off just slightly. Incidentally, the page on the App Store does note that a “FREE extra virtual joystick control mode with stunning full-screen levels” will be available “imminently,” so that will be something to keep an eye out for.
Don’t Shoot Yourself! is an interesting take on the bullet hell genre, but as a part of that genre, may not be for everyone. In this case, though, it feels like a cross between those games and the classic Snake number-eating game, so it may yet appeal to some outside of that core audience.