Ikki Unite – Review
Follow Genre: Bullet hell, Arcade game
Developer: Sunsoft
Publisher: Sunsoft
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested on: PC

Ikki Unite – Review

Site Score
Good: Cute arcade gameplay
Bad: Extremely simple mechanics, Servers are frequently empty
User Score
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Odds are high you’ve never heard of it, but in Japan, developer Sunsoft brought out the first Ikki as an arcade game. The game was universally considered a bad title, but in an affectionate way. It’s essentially a very rough top-down shooter you can play when you don’t take video games too seriously and want a few hours of fun. And the multiplayer spin-off, Ikki Unite, is much the same. The idea is there and it’s not half bad, we just wished the execution was better. That is if you get to play it at all since the servers are deserted.


Ikki is Japanese for revolt and that’s also exactly what the game is about. Not that this is very clear, since there’s not much of a narrative to the game. A short cutscene at the start of the single-player mode is the only indication of a plot we get. It shows us as a poor farmer in the Japanese Sengoku era. As often is the case, commoners are oppressed by the ruling class. Sick of this treatment, they finally violently revolt against those rulers. One farmer alone is weak, but if they unite their powers, they can make a real difference.


The visual style of Ikki Unite can only be described as ‘incredibly charming in how retro it is’. No effort was made to update the graphics for the modern era, not even for the menus. Everything looks exactly like it does on an arcade machine. It adds a lot of character to the game and fits the general way it plays too, though it lacks finer details. We do applaud the winding map design for always offering something new to explore and the character designs which are pretty cute sometimes.


That arcade feel carries over into the soundtrack too, which is fast-paced and upbeat with a retro vibe to it. We quite liked the music, since there was enough variety to stay interesting during long matches. The game also has a whole collection of fun sound effects that add to the lively atmosphere. It’s hard to be in a bad mood with this silly music in the background.


Ikki Unite is a chaotic bullet hell that’s very much designed for multiplayer matches, though there technically is a single-player mode too. The mechanics are incredibly simple, as you don’t even need to press a button to shoot since your character will do so automatically in the direction your mouse is pointing. You move across the map, trying to avoid waves and waves of enemies. These waves grow more plentiful as you play and will have stronger creatures. Thankfully your character isn’t helpless either. Every enemy you kill gives you exp and moving across the map allows you to pick up valuables. Then there are shops, where you buy new equipment to upgrade your character. The game has a lot of different characters to pick from, each with its own weapons and stats, so there’s some fun in exploring the differences and seeing which you like best.

The end goal of any match is to kill the final boss in the middle of the map before time runs out. Finding a good balance between killing enemies, upgrading your character, and avoiding mini-bosses that are too strong for you, is key. Working alone is impossible, and the idea behind the game is that you find the other players on the map and team up. This also shows why it’s geared towards being a multiplayer title since the single-player version of the game is an even shorter and more simplified version of the same gameplay. You can see the single player almost more like a practice level.

The problem with the multiplayer is that there is only online multiplayer, no local co-op, and the servers are kind of dead. This isn’t entirely the developer’s fault, obviously. Sadly, when a game restricts itself this badly to being mostly enjoyable when played online, it becomes a major hurdle. When you do find a lobby with other people, the game can be genuinely fun. It’s extremely simple in its mechanics but that makes it perfect for a quick match without a lot of thinking. Sadly, it’s just a pain to find other people to play with.


Ikki Unite is one of those games we feel guilty about giving a bad review. The basics are there and we like the idea behind the game. While very simple and not groundbreaking, the classic retro arcade elements are fine. It’s just a hard game to enjoy with the current activity level on the servers. And even beyond that, there’s so little to the gameplay it doesn’t blow us away.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Ikki Unite - Review, 3.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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