Genre: Shoot 'Em Up
Schmups are usually known for their fast pace, as players weave through constant barrages of enemy fire, while players still have to blast up wave after wave of incoming bad guys. It's a very visceral experience. PlaDzmA certainly has all this, but it tackles the whole power-up thing a little bit differently. Instead of collecting them as one goes through the level, players acquire credits in each level that can be spent at a shop between stages. Here one can snap up new primary and secondary weapons, and even new ships, among other goodies. It's a bit reminiscent of Area 88 / UN Squadron on the SNES in that regards. Thankfully, much of the writing in the shop is in katakana, so if you can read that, there shouldn't be much difficulty in discerning what weapon does what before purchasing.
PlaDzmA isn't terribly long, with only a handful of levels, but they are fun and stretch out for quite some way before reaching a boss. The combat also scales quite well as you progress through a stage. It starts off slow, and gradually builds up as you progress. By the end, players will find themselves weaving all sorts of incoming fire while trying to get in some shots on their enemies. As all of this is going on, there are two bars on the right hand side of the screen that gradually fill up as players blow up more and more baddies. As the bars fill up, they can help you get extra ships, as well as replenish your special attack. I thought this was a pretty neat way of getting extra lives, and bombs, as opposed to chasing down icons zigzagging across the screen.
It's definitely worth spending some time with this schmup. It's well laid out, looks and sounds very good, and makes for a nice way to kill an hour or so when you have some free time to relax. Rezetia has a link for downloading a demo of the game on their site (linked above) if you feel like giving the game a whirl.