Shmup fans will want to check out Polar Night Games‘ premier title, Terra Feminarum. The Helsinki-based team recently released a demo version of their upcoming game on itch.io, touting it as “a Finnish mythology themed Japanese style danmaku shoot ’em up.” Mouthful though that may be, the stylistic influences converge beautifully. It’s hard to think of a better way to capture the aesthetic of Finland’s prominent Northern Lights than with the flash and color of the bullet hell genre. If nothing else, Terra Feminarum promises to be a stunning visual experience.

The Aurora Borealis of Shmups

Based on the limited content available in the demo, it looks like there’ll be a strong visual-novel component to the game as well. The three playable characters, Aino, Talvikki, and Lempo, each offer their own bullet patterns and supers, as well as their own unique dialogue and storylines as they progress through the game’s chapters. The character art shows keen attention to detail. As with most anime games, the character designs don’t come across as particularly inspired beyond their archetypes. All the same, the art is well-polished on the technical level.

In addition to the visual designs of the characters themselves, Terra Feminarum utilizes the conventions of its genre to give each character an extra touch of personality through their respective bullet patterns. Again, this conforms largely to archetypal standards, but it makes for some cool visuals. Aino, the fox, utilizes a spray of fireballs. The warrior Talvikki shoots some sort of blade or crystal. Lempo is the most interesting, with her beam of dark magic. My only complaint is that her attacks feel a bit stiff. I’d love to see some Binding of Isaac style beam-bending physics.

A gameplay screenshot from Terra Feminarum. The player is surrounded on either side by columns of red and black flower-shaped bullets.The demo for Terra Feminarum only contains the first chapter of the game. Even so, playing through with all three characters will yield a fair depth of content. The demo is free, and worth the time if you’re a shmup or bullet hell fan in any capacity. The current build requires Java Runtime Environment version 8 or later to run. There’s currently no word on when we’ll be seeing more content.

Lucia Taylor

Lucia Taylor

Lucia's an avid RPG gamer with a soft spot for old-school titles, the clunkier the better. They're also a part-time dungeon master and full-time tabletop enthusiast. On the off-chance they're not busy thinking about magic swords, they're probably on a desperate, mindless scrounge to find another cup of tea.
Lucia Taylor

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Lucia Taylor