REVIEW: ‘Devil Engine’ is a Difficult but Incredible Spaceship Shooter (Switch)

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Devil Engine - But Why Tho

Artificial intelligence, the very thing that humanity entrusted for this defense, has gone terribly awry. It has destroyed Earth’s defenses and reigned itself supreme. Humanity’s last hope lies in a special weapon unlike anything else. It is a top-secret combat vessel with an untold weapon and navigation systems, that can tip the tide of battle in Devil Engine.

This ship is known as the Devil Engine and only the most skilled of pilots can take to the skies in this advanced combat fighter. With the fate of the world in the balance, its pilot will need to dive deep into the fires of combat, like the devil itself. From Dangen Entertainment, Devil Engine is a difficult, but immeasurably incredible spaceship shooter that will challenge experienced pilots but greatly reward newcomers.

Devil Engine is a spaceship shooter, or shmup, which puts players in the pilot seat of the most experimental combat ship known to man, all in an effort to defend the Earth. The artificial intelligence commands an entire fleet of vessels and an arcade of enemies, including multiple high-quality caliber weapons in the form of boss fights. Only your skill as a pilot and the weapon systems you craft will give you the chance to survive.

The first thing for players of Devil Engine to be aware of is that it is not an easy game. Like many others before it, Devil Engine provides a solid challenge to players, with a plethora of enemies to destroy, aggressive boss fights, and levels in which a hailstorm of laser bullets will fill the screen. On the surface, Devil Engine can seem too intimidating for some players. But, I am extremely pleased to say that Devil Engine is a fantastic for greenhorn players of spaceship shooters and in fact, encourages players through it’s easy-to-learn but hard to master campaign.

Players will take to the stars in the Devil Engine which has access to three different weapon types and adjustable maneuverability. Players can use the traditional laser shot, a beam shot, and a homing shot. These types of shots can be switched in the heat of combat giving players a variety of tactical abilities. Additionally, they can adjust the maneuverability of their craft, making it slower or faster depending on the situation.

When players get the hang of the look and feel of the Devil Engine, the game opens up to become the most exciting spaceship shooter so far this year. The key for players of Devil Engine is to keep playing and the more they play, the more they will feel themselves becoming stronger and more skilled in the game. This is the hallmark of fantastic game mechanics, as it constantly encouraged the player to keep trying one more time.

With each passing play session, the player will feel a sense of reward. Players will face unmistakably challenging enemies, from sentient ship defenses to a dragon-like robot. They will require patience, skill, and experimenting with different weapon types. However, they are a blast to challenge.

The game is also nostalgic for myself as the game evokes the visuals and presentation of the “blast-processing” days of the 16-bit era of games. At the time, these were the types of games we played as they were quick and sharp with instant action. Devil Engine has a refined 16-bit presentation that takes players through thick forests, the innards of spaceships, and even the depths of space.

My personal favorite is level 2, the Neo-City zone, as it evokes that sharp early 90’s Japanese illustration of a futuristic city. Of course, the music is incredible as well, feature digital jazz tunes and upbeat MIDI music. In a way, the music reminded me of the classic tracks of Streets of Rage and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 on SEGA Genisis. 

If there is a setback to Devil Engine, it would be the length. There are only six levels. However, each time a level is completed, a lifetime score is accumulated. That score hits tiers that unlock new features, such as different visual filters and more lives to continue. Once again, Devil Engine encourages fun and repeat gameplay for all players. I would have liked to see a few more modes added to the overall game, with perhaps nods to other classic shmups, such as Cybernator or Star Soldier. 

Fast, beautiful, and well-made, Devil Engine unleashes that galactic hero in all of us through it’s welcoming and challenging gameplay and presentation. When you need to unleash hell on the enemy, the devil needs to drive. 

Devil Engine is available now on PC, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.

Devil Engine
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10


Devil Engine encourages fun and repeat gameplay for all players. I would have liked to see a few more modes added to the overall game, with perhaps nods to other classic shmups