Sunday, December 18, 2011

FireFly Vegas (XBLIG): "A Visually Brilliant Arena Based Shmup"

There a variety of game types within the shmup genre including side-scrollers, bullet hell, and arena based games. RockMint, the developer behind "FireFlyVegas" created their game with graphics that truly suited the title. The game is an enclosed arena based shmup full of brilliantly lit neon shaped enemies that are constantly attacking, and filling the playing field. FireFly Vegas features two different game types (Retro & Dynamic) along with two modes of play (Clock & Survival) in each one. Retro mode takes the classic arena formula, and applies some soothing music with fast paced shmup action. Dynamic is an expert mode that allows the player to rotate the arena 360 degrees while fending of approaching enemies. As with most shmups there are power-ups, point multipliers, and various weapon types that can be obtained/used. This is a dual thumbstick shmup that also utilizes the shoulder buttons for shooting, thrusting, and even jumping. While the game is similar to other shmups it is still it's own game.

FireFly Vegas is a simple yet very challenging game. It has a wide variety of enemy types that get more aggressive as you make progress within the game's modes. To take care of your neon foes you have an arsenal of different weapon shots that can be gathered as you destroy them. Weapon types include spray shots, flame shots, spread shots, and mixed shots. Aside from weapons there are also available power-ups such as bombs (for clearing the screen), shields, and satellites that rotate around your ship protecting it. There are two main modes of play including 'Retro', and 'Dynamic'. Retro mode is a basic arena shooter with various enemy types that move in different patterns, and try to run into your ship. Within Retro mode there are two sub-modes that include a timed game called 'Clock', and 'Survival' mode which continues for as long as you can stay alive. The 'Dynamic' mode in the game is deemed as an expert mode by the developer, and gives the player the ability to rotate the arena 360 degrees as they fend off oncoming attackers. The sub-modes in this game mode are the same as in 'Retro'. Controls in both modes are kept simple, and require the use of both thumbsticks (L.Thumbstick = Movement, R.Thumbstick = Shoot) and three of the controller's shoulder buttons (R.Trigger = Bomb, L.Trigger = Thrust/Dynamic, R.Bumper = Jump). The purpose of the jump feature in the game remained a mystery to me during my playthrough, but I did notice that it makes the players' ship actually jump upward.

In conclusion I found 'FireFly Vegas' to be a somewhat enjoyable game. As a veteran shmup player I still found it to be quite difficult to last very long into the game due to a certain enemy type that was included. The enemies I speak of are the semi-invisible ones that can't be killed until they appear. The problem with this is that they can kill you even if they're in a semi-invisible state or not. In any of the game modes I could hardly last over two minutes, because of this. Another issue I had was with losing my ships position on the screen. Often times I would lose my ships position due to certain bullet sprays, and this too presented a problem for any real progress. Aside from those issues the game looks amazing, and the controls are very responsive. The control layout in the game was very user friendly for both modes of play. If the developer could tweak the game a bit, and maybe do something about those semi-invisible ships/shapes then I think this game would definitely be worth it to purchase. Making the ship more noticeable would also be a big help.


  1. Nice article! - well made observations and nicely balanced conclusions. Thanks for taking the time to review FireFly Vegas, and I'm already working on the first update.

  2. @RockMint I'm glad you liked the review ;) You're welcome. I love reviewing games, especially shmups like 'FireFly Vegas' ;) I'll be looking forward to seeing what the new update brings ;)


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