A brand new sidescrolling shmup just surprise-launched on Steam

The Indie Live Expo, a two-day digital showcase for indie games broadcast in English, Japanese, and Chinese, just wrapped up. Over 400 games were shown, including some we'd seen before and some that were totally new. Among the new games was the latest from Team Ladybug, developer of Touhou Luna Nights and Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth

The metroidvania studio has branched out for their latest title, a sidescrolling shmup in the vein of R-Type, which was released on Steam as it was announced. Drainus—yes, it's a terrible name—is both the game and the ship you pilot in it, a fighter with a reflector that can absorb bullets then spit them back at enemies. You have to strike a balance between dodging waves of fire, turning on the shield to soak up as much as you can before unleashing a counterattack, then going back to dodging while the reflector comes back online.

The trailer briefly showcases a heck of a lot of weapon upgrades, which can be bought with energy absorbed via the reflector. Apparently you can alter your loadout whenever you like, even halfway through a level. There are a lot of sweet parallax effects and robots to blow up, including some kind of robot dinosaur in space, and it looks like one of the pilots is a frog? It's a lot to absorb in a 90-second trailer.

According to the Steam page, the frog is actually a time traveler named Ghenie who has come back from 30 years into the future to warn everyone about a galactic war. Well, that's all right then. There's an evil empire to take on and a sick father and it sounds like a solid amount of anime nonsense. Drainus is available now, both on its own and in a discounted bundle with Team Ladybug's other games.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.