Making its way onto the Wii U Virtual Console, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is an on-rails shooter set between the two dimensions of Outer Space and Inner Space, boasting a largely incomprehensible plot but plenty of spectacular action.
Choosing between Isa Jo, with his jetpack and manual fire, or Kachi with her hoverboard and multiple lock-on aiming, the gameplay will seem familiar to those acquainted with the flying sections of Kid Icarus: Uprising, although Sin & Punishment displays far more finesse in terms of design - as you would expect from a title wholly based around such a mechanic.
With a variety of control methods, there's several different ways to blast your way through the levels, but for me the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination seemed by far the most intuitive. The left hand controls your character in the foreground, while the right hand takes aim at enemies in the background, a neat division of labour that keeps you focused at all times. The action rarely lets up, with frenetic car chases down neon-lit highways, astrological encounters with satellites, and the obligatory volcanic lava level just some of the highlights. Boss encounters with the multi-limbed Horror Keeper or the stalactite-shooting Ariana Shami are particularly memorable and impressive in scale.
Players may find themselves over-awed by these battles at first, but the longer you keep playing without error, the more the score multiplier starts to increase. It can be especially rewarding to backtrack to earlier levels and see how much easier it becomes to rack up the points once you master the dodging and lock-on aiming techniques. Falling somewhere between the length of an arcade shooter and a console shooter, the skill required to survive certain levels of Sin & Punishment without a single hit means plenty of tense moments as you dodge dozens of laser beams at a time.
The only real downside to the game is that the two main characters seem rather weakly designed, with no real distinguishing features other than their hover accessories - this aside, it's a solid shooter with much to recommend in it. Treasure are a small but lauded developer responsible for several cult classics such as Guardian Heroes and Ikaruga, and here they manage to work some of their familiar magic. With their output slowing, and their last couple of games yet to see a release outside of Japan, this Virtual Console outing is a welcome chance to see their excellent handiwork up close.