I think one of my favorite nostalgic shoot-em-up revelations is when I play a new one and realize that the level loops around itself. Graceful Explosion Machine is just as excited about this feature as I am because its fantastic tutorial unveils it like the game changer it is.

I love being able to fly quickly through the level, shooting as many enemies as I can, and getting the stragglers on my second pass. At any given moment I can also stop and u-turn to surprise them from behind.

Sure, it isn't a unique feature, but it's an underutilized one that Graceful Explosion Machine mixes in perfectly with its vibrant art style.

The shooting feels great as does the weapon management. It gives you just enough of a strategic variety so that you can focus on clearing a level or trying different tactics to get a better score.

Best of all, Graceful Explosion Machine is that solid combination of easy-to-play and challenging to master. I'll be coming back to this throughout the year for sure.

More Explosions

Ryan Billingsley - Graceful Explosion Machine is a beautiful temptress waiting to smack you right in your stupid face. The game looks fantastic, it plays extremely well, and on the surface seems pretty simple: four weapons, looping levels, enemies. That is when the sweet sting meets your face. Chaos can quickly overcome you, with enemies spawning on top of an already chaotic battle where you are unleashing missiles and your laser sword, fending off your looming death.

Then you get your rank. If you are like me, you want, no, need to do better. That is where the depth really starts to bubble to the surface.

This game really feels at home on the Switch. I love being able to pick it up, play a quick level or two while I am waiting around, then stash my Switch back in my backpack. I haven’t actually played the game on a big screen yet.

Graceful Explosion Machine is available now for Nintendo Switch and coming soon to PS4, Xbox One, and PC.