Aaron Drewniak writes:
''For those unfamiliar with the vertical shooter genre, they generally come in two flavors. There's the methodical memorization of the Raiden style and the plane of bullet hell that most Cave shooters occupy. Ikaruga strips away the crazy weapons and other power ups, then merges these two forms into a single entity. The screen is still flooded with enemy fire, drowning out the background, but you only need to worry about half of it. The stark and lovely color scheme of white and blue contrasted with black and red is more than just art when you can flip the color of your ship at will. Matching colors mean those bullets are harmlessly absorbed to build up a homing missile attack, though your own rapid fire is weaker against enemies of the same shade. Switching back and forth between white and black is the key to survival in Ikaruga, and after long hours cursing the crazy boss patterns, you'll finally reach the end credits with a sigh, only to realize you're a few thousand places down from the top of the online leaderboards.''