Vatn Squid, a bullet hell game [Game Saturday]

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 2, 2013

I'm attracted to so called bullet hell games even though I'm not particularly good at them. In these shoot em up games, it is not enough to beat enemy ships or objects that fly your way, no, you also need to dodge an ever increasing number of bullets that fly your way. While ships and objects in traditional shoot em up games shoot bullets as well, bullet hell games increase the count of these bullets by the factor 10 or even more. Sometimes, you see more bullets than background of the game.

Vatn Squid is a bullet hell game for PC that will test your skills against boss ships that are increasingly difficult to beat.  The first thing that you may want to do is load the readme file after you have unpacked the game on your system. Here you find information about the controls and game play which you do not find in the game.

  • Cursor keys for moving the ship around
  • Z for firing the weapon
  • X puts up the shields to absorb bullets
  • C shoots missiles but only when the power bar is full

You can also play the game with an Xbox 360 controller that you have connected to the PC. You cannot remap the keys which is pretty bad if you use a keyboard layout where the Y and Z keys are swapped (like in Germany).

The game starts in a window and once you have tapped on the x key to get started, throws the first boss at you. The first couple of bosses are relatively easy to beat. While you still need to dodge bullets or use the shield to absorb them, it is likely that the first three won't be difficult to beat.

When you use shield it will deplete and regenerate slowly when you release it. The power bar fills when you absorb bullets with your shield. When it is full, you can hit the C key to fire seeking missiles at the target that will hit it guaranteed.

The game becomes difficult starting with the fourth boss. Here you need to make good use of your shield or bullet dodging capabilities to survive. Once you reach level five, you know you arrived in bullet hell. You have three lives and when you run out of them, it is game over and you need to start from the beginning.

The game is rather short. The best score for instance to beat the game is 1 minute 31 seconds, but your first score - if you make it at all - will probably be more around the 3 to 4 minute mark.

Here is a video of the game that gives you a better impression of what it is about.

Vatn Squid video


If you like shoot em up arcade games and the bullet hell niche, this game is for you. It is short and up to the point, and while that may be disappointing for some, it is ideal for a quick run or two every now and then without wasting too much of your precious time.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Stoner said on February 3, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Heh. This is nothing compared to Touhou Project.

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