I’m not sure how this one slipped past my radar for so very long, but I’m glad I finally found it. Aeternum is a side scrolling curtain fire shooter which owes a lot to the famous Touhou series.
There’s a story, such as it is – honestly it seemed to involve cats and people being trapped under a school stage. Not so unrealistic, back when I was at school one of our classrooms had a stage and we DID lock other kids under it. No cats though.
The layout is pretty familiar – make your way through the stages which feature a mid boss and final boss fight. Rushing to the far right will collect all the weapon items floating around on screen (taken from Perfect Cherry Blossom or maybe Imperishable Night – I forget which), once your weapon is fully upgraded all the weapon items become score items. Bosses have normal attack waves and spell waves just like most of the Touhou series, and beating the spell waves without being hit will grant you a bonus.
They added a shield instead of a smart bomb – it can be quite useful to put in the way of large spams of small enemies. Something which is nice to see since the shield isn’t ideally placed, is completely customisable controls – more games need to offer this option, it’s not difficult. You have three stages to play through, plus the final boss and a bonus standalone extra boss stage, and with the extra difficulties that’s actually quite a bit of playtime.
Graphics are nice, some of the sprites are very well designed and it puts up a consistent 60fps experience – looks best with the screen zoom at 100% of course to eliminate scaling, but if you’ve got a 1080 set with a bit of overscan in 720 it can make life difficult, I crashed into things behind me pretty often while trying to make the below video 😉