Roche Fusion | Review

Twinfinite's review team takes on indie PC arcade shoot-em-up Roche Fusion, out now on Steam.

Roche Fusion on PC

Since as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of top-down shooter games. Starting with arcade classics such as Galaga and 1942, I’ve loved the idea of soaring along and battling wave after wave of enemies to reach the goal and defeat potent bosses. Roche Fusion is a full-bore modern take on the genre, with an emphasis on the “waves of enemies” and a punishing torrent of baddies, bullets, and bosses to cut your way through. With a variety of ships to unlock and pilot, a pulse-pounding soundtrack, and a sharp aesthetic, it brings a lot to the table. But does this style of game still hold up, so many years later?

Roche Fusion opens up with a single basic ship, a single difficulty level, and not much else to kick off the party. Unlocking more ships requires completing missions, such as reaching certain stages or defeating a boss; for the most part, these are pretty simple and straightforward tasks that players will likely achieve simply by playing the game. That’s not to say they’re easy, though — the first boss I found was a knock-down, drag-out fight with the starter ship’s less-than-impressive arsenal. Of course, you’re not stuck with just your basic weaponry, with each stage ending in an opportunity to choose from three randomly selected upgrades that offer either passive improvements or cooldown-based super-weapons.

Roche Fusion Missile Swarm
One of my favorite cooldown weapons, this massive cluster of missiles is a great way to deal with large swarms of low-powered enemies. Needless to say, these come up a lot.

Roche Fusion‘s strongest point, probably, is the variety to its play. With each stage offering something a little different each time, and the upgrades being randomized rather than on a set path, it’s never quite the same. Each ship also has unique upgrades available. Your starter ship, for instance, can upgrade to a wide-angle spread shot, while your first unlockable death-machine can juice up its potent missiles to fire their own missiles. With plenty of other capabilities and weapons, making your choice from the three offered each go-round can be a tough decision between bolstering your ship’s strengths and trying to compensate for its weaknesses.

Roche Fusion Black Hole
Did I forget to mention that this game allows you to weaponize black holes? Because, well, that’s pretty goddamn sweet.

Enough about the ships and upgrades, though. While they’re the icing on the cake, the real heart of Roche Fusion is the gameplay. Fast, furious, and unforgiving, it gives players something to really work for. There’s scarcely a moment in any stage that you’re not facing a constant barrage of enemies and incoming fire, and players will need all of their reflexes to survive the onslaught. The boss battles, even against lesser foes, are a tour de force that will test the mettle and resolve of anyone outside of fans of Japanese “bullet hell” games — and this definitely rides the border into that territory sometimes, as well. The soundtrack is fantastic, and crisp graphics lend a great feel to the heart-racing action that only lets up between stages. It can be hard to track everything that’s happening, but it’s so well-executed that it’s still an absolute blast.

Roche Fusion Boss Battle
I’m not kidding when I say that the boss battles are a serious trial. Impressive weapons, massive ships, and more await those fortunate enough to make it that far.

Roche Fusion takes a long-standing genre and gives it fresh paint, a slick interface, and great overall look and feel. While I’d sometimes shy away from recommending an indie title with a $12.00 price tag on Steam, I can’t stress enough just how necessary I find this one for fans of the top-down shooter style of game. Intense, punishing, and filled with a ton of great content and fun, over-the-top upgrades and enemies, Roche Fusion brings so much to the table that I can’t possibly think it’s not worth the price of admission. Even if you’re on the fence, I’d urge you to take the plunge. It’s an absolute blast, and you may have noticed that I couldn’t think of a single negative thing to say about it; that doesn’t happen often, but it wasn’t by omission. It’s just that much pure fun to play.

About the author

Chaz Miller

Chaz was Twinfinite's resident indie game reviewer from December 2013 through until May 2017. An indie reviewer extraordinaire, father-type human for two young gamers, and generally a very busy person.