Samurai Games is not from Japan, but if you play their upcoming bullet hell shoot 'em up, Operation Dracula, you might think they are. Developed by a team with the lead developer in Morocco, but others in the US, this game, being published by Crescent Moon Games, could prove to be one of the most accurate representations of the Japanese bullet hell shmup outside of Japan when it eventually releases.

What I mean is that Operation Dracula is aiming for a very particular over-the-top style, where the title of the game is shouted out by an announcer, and each characters name is proudly stated. There's loads of games like this, and you see plenty of these games from companies like Cave, even on the App Store. There's bullets everywhere and tons of colors. But Samurai Games, made up of a bunch of decidedly non-Japanese names, have made one of the most accurate approximations of this unique style that I've seen outside of Japan.

The game has you controlling the ships of one of three characters, with the goal being to fight wave after wave of enemies, dodging fire with your small hitbox. You have bombs you can deploy, along with the special ability that can be charged up, and varies depending on the character selected. It's a familiar setup for shmups like this, but it nails the look and feel of how these games should be. There's colorful bullets everywhere, ridiculous character profiles, everything feels like overload, and is in your face constantly. Even the name Operation Dracula makes no sense whatsoever! It's absurdity as a video game.

Operation Dracula PreviewThe difficulty is a bit welcoming at this stage, which is a bit of a surprise because these kinds of games wind up being north of impossible. This game is still very difficult, but it's at least somewhat doable. While I had some trouble beating the first couple of levels in previous playthroughs, I wound up finally being able to beat them in the video I recorded. Thankfully, you have a credit system which helps you get a few extra shots at progressing. It's definitely not easy at all, and will require a lot of practice to get good at. I mean, it is a bit more accessible than many similar games.

But still, it's super-cool because the game looks amazing, runs great even in pre-release form, and provides that sensory overload that the best bullet hell games do. The controls are 1-1 touch-and-drag controls that work well. It's just an overall solid package. There are some interesting IAP options where you can buy one of the characters and buy extra credits, but as a pre-release build, these are subject to change.

This one has been kicking around in some form for a while now, there's evidence of the game existing since 2013 but Crescent Moon Games has picked it up for publication. It will be interesting to see how the shoot 'em up crowd at large takes to this. It's definitely a solid game, and it nails a lot of its genre's conventions. But I'll be interested to see if Operation Dracula manages to appeal to the hardcore fans of the genre. At least on the surface, it nails the aesthetic it's going for.

  • gaymerX

    "everything feels load and in your face"

    "While I had some trouble beating the first couple of levels, in the video I recorded, I wound up being able to beat the first couple of levels. "

    Do you guys have an editor or proofreader? LOL. 🙂

    • innocuous1

      Embarrassingly bad. Lol

  • gaymerX

    The video shows the game being played on 'normal' and it looks insane. I can't imagine a harder difficulty!

  • vectorarchitekt

    This looks great!!

  • LordShad0wz

    Where's that Maglor Instabuy cat? Lol.

    • Goggles789

        \\ Λ_Λ
         \( 'ㅅ' ) PHUCK
          > ⌒ヽ
         /   へ\
         /  / \\
         レ ノ   ヽ_つ
        / /
        / /|
       ( (ヽ
       | |、\
       | 丿 \ ⌒)
       | |  ) /
      ノ )  Lノ

  • macatron

    Whoa! The sights, sounds and music all make me long for the days of the arcade. This looks like it's going to really be something special. It's hard to believe that it didn't come from Japan.

  • 7lilwhitewolf7

    Everytime i see those beautiful words... Binoculars

  • Cédric

    Yes, the game is hard, i can't pass the 3rd level. Even if i've my weapon powerfull, if a boss hit me with big laser or missile, i die in one shot !
    The gameplay is great even if you have your power down when an ennemy touch you, so, you're not enough powerful to destroy another ennemies ans you die. I didn't try easy mode yet, because the 3rd level isn't include in it.

    • vectorarchitekt

      What store is it already out in? Or are you beta testing?

      • Cédric

        I'm beta testing.

      • vectorarchitekt

        Cool. I can't wait for this one.

  • macka

    I wouldn't say it nailed perfectly, but it does do a fairly decent job. I would still buy though.

  • stelluhreyesthis

    Looks amazing, hope it's premium

    • Stormourner

      yeah let's hope it's premium but um let's hope it's freemium nonono let's hope it's premium my goodness let's hope it's freemium sheeesh let's hope it's premium sigh let's hope it's freemium

  • oaky

    buddy there is nothing authentic about a shmup on a phone.

  • vectorarchitekt

    Where oh where is this?? Haven't heard or seen anything.