Betrayed by her closest friend, a pilot sets out to seek revenge, find answers, and dodge thousands of bullets along the way. An Oath To The Stars might be a shmup of the bullet hell variety, but this one actually has a proper story… and huge bosses that will kick your butt, naturally.
Apart from the focus on story, most of An Oath To The Stars is par for the genre course. You are the bringer of fiery death while enemy bullets fill the screen and huge bosses try to hinder your progress at the end of each stage.
There are some nice touches, like the damage of your weapons increasing the closer you are to your enemies and a secondary laser beam attack that needs to be charged. While there’s a noticeable lack of enemy types, the game has a distinct look and some lovely artwork. It feels somehow softer than other bullet hell shooters due to its color palette and its low-poly backgrounds.
However, this softness does not translate to the actual gameplay, which can be unforgiving. Bullet patterns in particular often feel erratic, not like the carefully orchestrated fireworks of death that you sometimes see in similar games. Staying alive requires concentration and skill.
Even on the easiest difficulty, I wasn’t able to reach the fifth and final stage. There are few genres where the old saying that “practice makes perfect” doesn’t ring more true, though, so in time I expect to find out how that story ends. An Oath To The Stars might be just a tad too intense for the casual shmup player, but fans of the genre will find a lot to like here.