• Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
DeveloperZac Game Station

Main review

Considering how often the phrase tends to be abused these days, Ifrit really is “retro themed”; it runs at a miniscule 320×240 resolution, the player has only three bullets in play at any one time without the option of power-ups, secondary weapons or smart bombs to be had and each of the three horizontally-scrolling stages should only take around a minute each to play through including the boss fight… at which point it congratulates the player and unexpectedly plays it’s trump card by entering the second loop where, along with a drastic increase in the number of bullets being thrown into play, it introduces a fourth enemy and beefs up all the bosses!

At the risk of sounding hideously pretentious, Ifrit is shoot ’em up minimalism where the complexities that have been added to the genre over the decades are stripped away whilst the visceral playability is maintained. Oh dear, that was as arty as it gets but what I’m trying to do is avoid using words like “simple” at this point because I don’t believe they’d be doing any kind of justice to this game; the in-level enemy deployment may well be randomised and almost every enemy shot fired is aimed, but the fixed movement rules for each type of nasty means they can be predicted and a single shot from the player kills everything bar the bosses so it isn’t unfair as such.


It’s never going to win awards for originality or indeed depth but that’s probably the reason I liked it so much! Ifrit is a spot of straightforward, totally unabashed shooting that looks 16-bit and feels like an 8-bit game to play because the player relies almost exclusively on their reactions rather than having to commit the level layouts and attack patterns to memory as would normally be the case for a horizontal shooter. And whilst a few people have bemoaned the lack of extra weaponry, commented on the unusual collisions (the player and enemy bullets are destroyed by the background detail, but enemies and player bullets sail through unharmed) and I suspect that the most hardcore shoot ’em up fans will have already lamented the lack of a scoring system that goes beyond “shoot stuff, get points”, to my mind those aren’t really necessities for an enjoyable example of the genre.

Basically, as long as there are enough bullets being fired to get the job done and there are points racking up for blowing the little… enemies from here to eternity I’ll be happy and Ifrit therefore makes me very happy indeed – it may not score particularly highly but anybody who likes a good shoot ’em up really could do a lot worse than take a look at it.