eXceed 2nd - Vampire REX is the second title of the eXceed series as a bullet hell shooter by Tennen-sozai and Nyu Media. This shooter features a vampire girl Ria File who serves the Undead Lord. Ria is sent to lay siege to the Church to learn about their plans as an opposing faction. Along the way, Ria will encounter the three Gun Bullet Children Chinatsu, Sowel and Miyabi, an enemy boss from the earlier title eXceed - Gun Bullet Children, and three new characters across 7 levels.
Similar to the first title, the game is a doujin bullet hell shooter with great artwork in the character sprites, Steam badges, emoticons, and profile backgrounds which make it attractive to showcase on profile. The game also has fast catchy pop background music to keep players excited in the game as an arcade shooter and great voice acting. In addition, this title of the eXceed series has an interesting game mechanic where Ria can invoke a magic circle that is blue or red colour. A blue magic circle enables Ria to absorb blue (holy) projectiles from enemies to gain energy to unleash her ability more frequently, while a red magic circle enables her to absorb red (dark) projectiles instead.
However, this game has (as a game that is released back in 2007) brought some problems with the Steam version of the game. Although there are improvements to the localization of the game where English text will now be displayed correctly without having to configure operating system settings, gamepad controller sensitivity is better, and it is now possible to pause the game, the take screenshot feature in the Steam version doesn't work in many cases, giving a black picture or a blank background without any picture of the character artwork sprites or conversation text window.
The game's soundtrack album cover has a magical symbol and the title which resembles a scrawling. I would have preferred a cute and pretty heroine character or boss character on the cover as with the soundtrack album cover in eXceed or eXceed 3rd. In addition, during boss battles, there are no longer any special cutscene animation on bosses using different forms. Thirdly, the game also only has 3 continues this time where if the player doesn't play well, the player will have to replay the game all over again from level 1 to see the ending. Although it isn't too difficult at easy difficulty, I still had to play the game from start to finish several times and practice the later levels and boss battles to become familiar with it.
After spending around 5 hours to finish the game at the easiest difficulty, eXceed 2nd - Vampire REX is a short arcade bullet hell shooter that is made longer because of the limited number of continues allowed for the game. The game continues the storyline as an enemy of the Gun Bullet Children with a few interesting plot twists, attractive anime artwork, voice acting, background music, artwork while also being more difficult for players who are more familiar with bullet hell shooters. For a moderately challenging bullet hell shooter with visual novel elements, I can recommend this game when it is at a very attractive discounted price or bundle offer of a few dollars for the game and soundtrack DLC.
Full gameplay video on YouTube by Maribel Hearn