Last month Taito announced that they were bringing a port of Dariusburst – a recent entry in the classic Darius series of shooters that was released in arcades and on PSP in Japan – to iOS. While it's a bit of a straggler behind the normal round of new weekly releases, Dariusburst SP [$10.99] is now available on the App Store.

Originally Dariusburst was a PSP game, and featured the familiar horizontal shooting and brutal difficulty that the Darius series was famous for, but with beautiful 3D visuals. It was then released in arcades about a year later as Dariusburst Another Chronicle, and came with additional features not found in the PSP game as well as a crazy double wide screen.

Dariusburst SP on iOS is mostly based on the PSP version, but with some nice iOS-specific enhancements. It features the entire PSP campaign, an additional playable ship named Assault as well as two boss battles from the arcade version, an SP Mode with remixed enemy patterns and boss encounters, and some brand new music. Plus, it's crazy customizable, with several options for screen position and size, the ability to reposition the virtual buttons, options to adjust the amount of lives and continues, and 3 difficulty modes.

I've spent a good amount of time with Dariusburst SP already and I'm totally digging it. The controls are tight, and there's a cool upgrade system as well as a burst special weapon which can be used to counteract enemy fire and boost up your scores. There's four different ships (two unlockable) and a branching level progression that lets you choose which path to take à la OutRun or Taito's own Bust-a-Move games.

But really, it's all about the graphics. The graphics in Dariusburst SP are bananas. The frame rate is silky smooth, and the 3D backgrounds are whizzing by while moving in all sorts of directions. It makes you feel like you're moving really fast, and enemies often appear from the foreground or background, adding a feeling of depth to the levels. Boss characters fill the screen with their size, and are intricately designed and equipped with heavy firepower. Everything is crisp and high resolution, and along with the buttery frame rate it makes for an especially attractive game.

We're gonna spend some quality time learning the intricacies of Dariusburst SP, and will report back soon with a full review. My gut instinct so far though is that if you're into shooters you won't want to miss this. I know Taito has you nervous because they released RayForce for $11.99 last month. Personally, I totally love that game and didn't mind dropping the coin, but I could see how a fairly straight port of a nearly 20 year old game with very little enhancements might not be something everybody wants to pay at the higher end of App Store pricing for.

However, this isn't that. This is a full blown PSP game that was previously only available in Japan, with enhanced visuals and additional features for iOS. This is the sort of release that we shouldn't mind paying the extra money for. You can find more player impressions in our forums as we get back to diving into the nitty gritty of Dariusburst SP.

  • http://www.meadiciona.com/charles_anjos Charles Albert

    te;db

    • http://twitter.com/lolshin Josh Berkowitz

      worth every penny.

  • http://twitter.com/Lappstrong LappDog

    Wow, I was going to buy dodonpachi this morning, but this looks great! Is there the super wide screen format option for my iPad?

  • P Allen

    Haven't got it myself yet (i will though) but based on other Darius games this is easily the most exciting release of the week.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, looks like Taito learned their lesson with RayForce. I was dead set on buying Dodonpachi too, but damn, this makes me reconsider. Especially since it has universal support!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kamil.malinski Kamil Malinski

    does this have a virtual d-pad control also?

    • phuong vo

      No d-pad.  You drag anywhere on the screen to move your ship.  It works pretty well.

  • http://suitcasereviews.blogspot.com/ Suitcase Reviews

    This looks sweet, why is it only avaliable in japan ?

    • phuong vo

      search for 'darius sp'. 

  • Adams Immersive

    Wow! One of those games that looks so much better in motion than in still shots! It seemed a little Space Deadbeefy from still shots alone (no bad thing).

  • phuong vo

    I bought it.  I'm really liking it so far.  Great controls and good difficulty balance so far...and very fun.

  • http://twitter.com/TrisTronNL Tristan Leichsenring

    Can anybody tell me whether this is playable on the iPad 1 or is its GPU to wimpy? Thnx.

    • phuong vo

      Runs great on ipad 1.  Definately better on the big screen of the iPad.

      • http://twitter.com/TrisTronNL Tristan Leichsenring

        That's what I was thinking. Thanks for the reply, I'll give it a try this weekend.

  • http://profiles.google.com/saulobenigno Saulo Benigno

    There's no save? I need to always start from the beginning?  :(