Refreshingly unique and lots of fun, Steel Vampire is well worth checking out. Its inspired take on rank control makes for a shmup that can be approached in a number of ways. The RPG elements are also quite interesting. Finding the right build can lend all sorts of advantages to the player's ship. There are even rare and legendary drops, which is an amusing novelty. Best of all, this game's usage of high speed bullet spreads and strong weaponry create an aura of ferocity not often seen in the genre. The impact of crushing legions of enemies before they can shoot is oh-so-satisfying.
Steel Vampire's concept of on-the-fly difficulty settings has merit, but it proves to be far too challenging from the get-go. Its focus on offensive play ultimately puts players at a disadvantage, making it only worthwhile for the most hardened of shmup fans.