Super Bullet Break is a quirky combination of game genres rolled into a cute package that actually scratched an itch I didn’t even know I had. Developed by BeXide Inc. and published by PQube, Super Bullet Break is a deck builder roguelite that is absolutely adorable and fun in small bite-sized sessions.
Playing with the concept of collectable anime girls billed as “bullets”, SBB is all about saving videogames from sentient AI corrupting various game genres by using anime waifus to fight for you. If that sounds like it has potential for you then I encourage you to read on! The game became available on PlayStation 4, Steam, and Nintendo Switch on August 12th. A review code for the Switch version of the game was provided for this review.
The story begins with a trio of gamers being contacted by a friendly AI asking for our young heroines to cleanse the multiplayer games they love of malicious programs that have corrupted and rendered the games unplayable. How do they do this? Well they take turns diving into the various game worlds (A fantasy kingdom, school dating simulator, Music/Rhythm stage, etc.) fighting off enemies and the big bosses of each stage, Singulaladies (a portmanteau of singularity + ladies).
You start of each of the five main stages with a small assortment of “bullets” (The recruitable anime-style girls who do the attacking) and you must fight waves of enemies while building your deck of bullets to hopefully have a solid enough team to face the boss at the end. You can recruit extra bullets as rewards for winning enemy encounters, successfully completing specific events, and by purchasing them randomly at shop tiles.
The core of the game’s strategy is managing resources and making the correct choices. Getting into battle will reward you with a choice of bullet upon success, but you risk getting wiped out. Using rest tiles and shopping tiles will allow you to restore health and stock up on resources, but you’ll miss out on gaining extra bullets you might need. With a finite amount of choices everything is a calculated gamble.
Let’s just get this out of the way, this game is very addictive. The gacha mechanics keep the game fresh as you almost never have the exact same cards on your next run/playthrough. Each playthrough is, at maximum about 45 minutes. This allows you to tackle it in relatively short sessions. This also makes the runs that you fail less annoying as you don’t feel too fatigued to try again immediately. You just dust your shoulders off and hope that fortune is in your favor next time.
The artwork for each of the bullets is just so aesthetically pleasing and highly-detailed that it makes building your deck an absolute treat! The flavor text for each character is nice to read in the gallery and they pay homage to game genres in clever ways. The music is also very cheery and catchy. I found myself humming the various tunes as my gameplay hours accumulated. All of these things help make this feel like a cozy title.
The game is weirdly balanced. The very first dungeon you face in the game is by far the hardest! It gets noticeably easier after that but the scaling is just off. The bullets you get later on have more synchronization going on by fitting into neat categories that work well with each other, but the bullets in that first dungeon are mostly randomized and don’t fit particularly well. It’s just a bizarre design choice in my opinion.
The story is also a bit bland, I found. That might not be a huge negative, but I really didn’t care much for the little text conversations between the main trio of characters. It’s just kind of there to be cute and quirky.
Lastly the game’s random nature makes each run way more about luck than skill. It’s the game’s greatest strength but also greatest weakness. Games like Hades or Loop Hero allow you to make some form of permanent progression despite their difficulties. SBB doesn’t really have that. All your runs are random and you cannot carry over any bullets from earlier runs. You DO unlock new support bullets to start each run with, but you can only get one at a time and it is randomized.
The nature of this game being a turn-based RPG also makes it so that your outcomes in combat are almost entirely random. You can’t dodge or learn patterns. You built a bad deck in a run? Oh well. Start again and hope it goes better. I wish there was a little more reward for your efforts.
SBB is an unusually hard game. So much of it’s core gameplay mechanics are determined by RNG (randomness) that it can feel frustrating. Despite that, the runs are so short that I almost don’t mind, almost. The gameplay loop is so simple and addictive that I have poured many hours into it and will likely continue to do so. I recommend this game for those who like Slay the Spire or Loop Hero. Essentially games that can be played in short spurts. Overall I give Super Bullet Break a 7.3 / 10!