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You Have 3 Minutes to Read this Review of Bullet♥︎

D Updated June 08, 2021
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
729 0
You have 3 minutes to read this review of Bullet♥︎

Game Information

Game Name
Publisher
Players
1 - 4
There Will Be Games

Those son of guns over at Level 99 Games have done it again. They've created an kick butt new board game experience.

Surely they can't keep getting away with this?

If you have never heard of this game think back to the 90's where there was an outbreak of arcades across the world. Think back to games like Raiden or Ikaruga, where you're a space ship shooting bad guys while all manner of ships, bullets and everything else flew your way. These mechanics combined with competitive tower defense games, made a decade later, give you Bullet♥︎.

Bullet♥︎ is played in 3 minute rounds with everyone playing at the same time on their own boards.

During these 3 minutes you will draw tokens from a bag placing them on a board in front of you. These bullets are numbered, colour coded, and are placed in the matching colour column from top to bottom. Jumping over any bullets already placed. For example, a blue two bullet is placed in the blue column two spaces from the top. If there is already a bullet in one of those spaces. The bullet is placed in the third space from the top.

Note: These pictures show the deluxe edition - standard edition comes with cardboard tokens.

You can see how this creates a waterfall effect. Where if you pull more than one of each colour, then the closer the bullet gets to the bottom of the board. If it reaches the bottom, that's when it does damage to you. Take enough damage, and you're eliminated from the game.

Thankfully, you have special powers to help you move bullets around the board. And patterns which, once fulfilled, will help you to clear out swathes of existing bullets at a time.

At the end of each round, every bullet you clear goes to the person on your left. Likewise, every bullet the person on your left removes, heads your way. If you do well enough, your friend's face will share the same look as 300 Spartans did seeing the Persians arrive.

The pattern you need to match is the circles, the explosions are the bullets to remove from your board.The pattern you need to match is the circles, the explosions are the bullets to remove from your board.

I immensely enjoyed Bullet♥︎ because while it's simple enough to play, you can get better at it, and learn to get better at it. In my plays I noticed I was consistently going through five layers of learning. Similar to seven layers of hell, except it's fun, light hearted, and you don't get damned for all eternity.

The five layers are:

  1. First, your only thought is surviving - how do I make it to the next round?
  2. Once you have a handle on surviving you then begin to feel out the powers of your heroine.
  3. Then you start thinking about Star Power. Clearing bullets with stars on them gives you mana back. Now that you've got a feel for your heroine, you now want to arrange your patterns so that they remove as many star bullets as possible.
  4. At this point your gelling with your heroine, and you're comfortable with holding off a lot of bullets. Now it's time to plan your attack. Instead of focusing purely on survival, you start thinking about which bullets you're sending to the next person, and what combinations. For instance sending 6 green bullets to your friend who already has 3 green on his board. That creates a tough situation for them to think out of.
  5. The last layer is learning every heroine and their weaknesses, and then tailoring my attack pattern for each.

This is a lot easier to write about than to do in practice because you'll be on a time limit that gets tighter and tighter each round you play. And with incoming bullets pulled randomly from the bag, you're not always going to be in a good space for these layers of thought. Leading to a lot of risk taking, sweaty hands, and asking: can I pull one more bullet?

Bullet Characters

It's the combination of push your luck, and tactical pattern matching that keeps Bullet♥︎ never far from my playing table. Add on 8 unique characters, and 4 distinct modes of play, and you've got yourself a game that will stay on my shelf for years to come.

Bullet♥︎ absolutely succeeds at doing what it set out to do – to emulate a bullet hell style game. It’s quick to learn and play, with games lasting around 20 minutes. But has enough layers and addictive game play to make me want to play it more and more. The only knock against the game is using music for a timer. After playing 10 rounds in a row I’ve acquired a Pavlovian response where my heart rate spikes whenever I hear certain songs out in the wild.

Thanks for reading my review. I'm currently ranking all my board games in a list, and much more on my blog Roll to Review. 

Photos

You have 3 minutes to read this review of Bullet♥︎

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Rating 
 
4.5
Bullet
D
David Norris  (He/Him)
Associate Writer

David Norris is a board game reviewer from Brisbane, Australia. When he’s not writing reviews, he’s usually playing board games or reading rules. And when he’s not doing that, he’s goofing around with Steph, his loving wife, toddler son, Jay and Chester the Corgi.

You can find more of his work at Roll to Review, a one man blog that pumps out fortnightly board game reviews.

Articles by David Norris

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ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #323830 09 Jun 2021 15:58
We've been having a lot of fun with Bullet. The Spawn was psyched that all the characters are female. She wants to try all of them.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #323831 09 Jun 2021 16:05
Great review.

The real-time aspect of this game appeals to me, but I just can't appreciate the anime settings that Level 99 utilizes. Just not my thing at all.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #323834 09 Jun 2021 16:17
Yea the anime stuff is not my bag either, but it fits the shmup theme really well so whatever. Bullet is awesome though. I want to buy the expansion but their shipping is exorbitant from the lvl99 sure so I haven't yet. There's an expandalone sequel in the works too, but I don't know much about it behind it exists.
Erik Twice's Avatar
Erik Twice replied the topic: #323837 09 Jun 2021 18:27

ubarose wrote: We've been having a lot of fun with Bullet. The Spawn was psyched that all the characters are female. She wants to try all of them.

It's interesting to see how the boardgame world has reacted to the all-female cast. In shmups, the prevalence of all-female casts is seen as a sign of otaku-pandering so it's interesting how a different context can put it in a different perspective.
DavidNorris's Avatar
DavidNorris replied the topic: #323838 09 Jun 2021 18:52
I'm fortunate to be a closet anime fan, so I kind of dig the anime pandering of their games.

I'd imagine this isn't the last we've heard of Bullet, the system seems endlessly expandable.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #323839 09 Jun 2021 20:13

DavidNorris wrote: I'm fortunate to be a closet anime fan, so I kind of dig the anime pandering of their games.

I'd imagine this isn't the last we've heard of Bullet, the system seems endlessly expandable.


Bullet Orange is already up for preorder, its a licensed expansion that ties in with a series of japanese shmups called Orange Juice. adds 4 more heroines, and i believe releases in July. Bullet Star is currently in playtesting, and is a standalone expansion that I believe doubles the number of heroines and adds a lot more high complexity/weird heroines.
DavidNorris's Avatar
DavidNorris replied the topic: #323842 10 Jun 2021 06:41
Oooo, I have Bullet Orange on preorder already, I hadn't heard of Bullet Star. Now I have something else to look forward too. :)
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #323844 10 Jun 2021 10:16

Erik Twice wrote:

ubarose wrote: We've been having a lot of fun with Bullet. The Spawn was psyched that all the characters are female. She wants to try all of them.

It's interesting to see how the boardgame world has reacted to the all-female cast. In shmups, the prevalence of all-female casts is seen as a sign of otaku-pandering so it's interesting how a different context can put it in a different perspective.


I don't know what "otaku-pandering" is, or really even what a shmups is. Neither my daughter or I are much into anime or video games. Bullet is just a fast, fun game, with many cute yet powerful playable female characters, that, to our eyes at least, aren't over sexualized, that we can play together, and that my daughter feels comfortable playing with all her female friends.