I’m quite the fan of scrolling shooter games or “SHMUPS” (Shoot’em ups) for short. There have been many entries into that category ranging from classics such as Gradius, R-Type or Tyrian just to name a quick few ones off the top of my head. They all have their own tone but frequently go with a sci-fi setting since it works well with the type of game presented.

Years ago the developer Rake In Grass developed the game Jets’n’Guns for the PC. Published in 2004 it can best be considered an indie game before that was an established thing. You pilot your small craft in a sidescrolling manner blasting just about everything in sight. Tons of things happen on the screen at any given time with boatload of little details. It can get quite hectic but also just engrossing in the amount of things presented to the player. Environments everywhere can be blow up or demolished.

A typical screen during gameplay

You earn cash for each mission which you can spend in a shop to further upgrade your ship weapons or gear. The choice and style the player decides to go with can drastically alter how each level plays out adding a nice strategic depth. It’s possible to build a total flying murder machine making levels trivial or on the opposite spectrum make it a lot harder if you have the wrong loadout.

The game has a gritty underworld in space sort of feel to it. Renegades, outlaws and unruly folk of that kind that just need to be blasted out of the sky (or space). It’s great fun and the game actually loops when you complete it while allowing you to keep all your cash, gear and equipment allowing you to grow even further as the challenge increases.

Leave no space blimps unexploded

Above all the reason I wanted to write quick about it is the terrific soundtrack provided by Swedish metal band Machinae Supremacy. I’ve long been a fan of theirs and the rocking soundtrack provides the perfect backdrop to all your space murdering.

Take a listen and see what I mean. Amazing (especially the shop music it’s just fantastic).

Rock out while explodinating everything in sight

The Gold edition of the game packs more content in and is available on many modern platforms even though it was originally written for PC so long ago. I’d say it plays best on PC and is available on Steam but I’ve had a great time with it on Switch as well.

I should also mention the sequel in Jets’n’Guns 2 which is good but may not live up to the lofty standards of the first game sadly. I’m hoping it can be expanded upon and patched to reach the heights of the original at some point but for the moment I’d say you are better off spending your cash on the first one. That said the soundtrack of the second game is arguably even better (again that shop music!).

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