Gun Trails
Image: @superfunc

Update (Tue 27th Jun, 2023 16:30 BST): @superfunc has now revealed the official release date for the DoDonPachi-inspired shmup Gun Trails.

It will be coming to Panic's curated Playdate catalog (essentially it's version of an online storefront) on July 18th and will cost around $6 USD.

Update (Mon 6th Mar, 2023 09:45 GMT): Last week, the programmer @superfunc delivered an update on their new shoot 'em up for the Playdate in the form of a new trailer and release window.

The trailer was published as part of a news roundup on YouTuber Tiny Yellow Machine's channel and is roughly a minute long. It shows more of the incredible insert animations that initially caught our attention, as well as a closer look at the various aquatic-themed enemies you'll be facing off against.

@superfunc revealed in a tweet that he is now aiming to release the game in early April, so be sure to mark the date on your calendars and follow him on Twitter for future updates.

Original article (Tue 7th Feb, 2023 11:05 GMT): Panic's crank-controlled handheld Playdate was only released last April, but already we're seeing some amazing new games in development for the device; case in point, this incredible-looking shoot 'em up from the programmer @superfunc.

Gun Trails is a vertically-scrolling shoot 'em up that draws inspiration from acclaimed Cave arcade titles including DoDonPachi. It features a slick anime aesthetic, with developer videos showing off its exaggerated launch sequences, dramatic boss fights, and animated character portraits — all of which are rendered in the device's signature 1-bit graphics.

According to a post from December, the professional artist and animator @SamFilstrup is responsible for the graphics in the game, and they've definitely knocked it out of the park if these recent progress videos are anything to go by.

The music is also nothing to be sniffed at either, as evidenced by the video below. This shows a small snippet of one of the more energetic tracks from the contributing composer @father_p_, and has us desperate to dive into the portable shmup.

Just in case you're wondering about the controls, it appears that the game will not be taking advantage of the crank, instead opting to use the Playdate's d-pad and face buttons.

Last year, its programmer @superfunc claimed the game would be released in "January-ish", but it appears that it is still in active development as we speak. We'll keep you posted when we know more about a proper release date.

What do you make of these teases? Does it make you want to pick up a Playdate? Let us know your thoughts!