Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
Buy On
  1. 75
    Despite the high challenge level, Bangai-O is most definitely a "pick-up-and-play" experience, but it's best not to try and clear large parts of the game in one sitting -- and you won't, unless you know you're awesome. But even if you're not, you'll come back to it often.
  2. In the end, this iteration of Bangai-O is a fast, intense shooter that retains the unique feel that the game has had both on the N64 and Dreamcast, with the difficulty significantly ramped up
  3. What's the one thing that could hose an otherwise awesome action game? Aside from removing all the weapons, it's bad performance.
  4. The most challenging and rewarding experience currently available for hardcore gamers on the DS!
  5. Crazy and varied gameplay. Bangai-O Spirits is a must-have for shooter fans on the Nintendo DS.
  6. Edge Magazine
    While certainly being Treasure's most fragmented game, there’s a sense that the lack of narrative, character and even proper framework makes this its most raw, pure and delightful. [June 2008, p.95]
  7. 100
    Playing Bangai-O Spirits is a pleasure. If I could, I'd play it for every waking moment. [JPN Import]
  8. Bangai-O Spirits is a revival of an original franchise that blends puzzle solving and action in a way few other games can. An unfair learning curve and some noticeable technical bugs haunt the title, but it’s also filled with varied content.
  9. Bangai-O Spirits is one of, if not the most, fully-featured and expansive shmups ever created, but it’s absolutely unmerciful in its brutality.
  10. Bangai-O Spirits lacks a story mode, but it makes up for this with over 160 stages of explosive shooting action.
  11. While this game is very insane at times with an ‘on and off again’ difficulty which humbled my poor old fingers at the best of times, it is very addictive and fun. The replay value is very high especially with the level editor which is fun and such a great addition. If the overall online Bangai-O DS community supports the level editor this is one game that will be more then worth the price you pay for it.
  12. 75
    It's obviously aimed squarely at the hardcore DS gamer; and while the intense action and high difficulty will probably turn off the casual crowd, it's a solid shooter for anyone who's looking for a challenge. [Sept 2008, p.84]
  13. Bangai-O Spirits is a great puzzle game, an extreme action game, a worthy notch on Treasure's belt and a discount priced experience with infinite replay.
  14. Games Master UK
    If it clicks with you, you'll never be able to put it down. [Oct 2008, p.82]
  15. games(TM)
    You can tackle the 160, inappropriately named ‘standard levels’ in any order, so Treasure’s glorious design work is immediately on show. [May 2008, p.108]
  16. This is a must buy for fans of the original Bangai-O, Treasure addicts looking for an excellent, sustained fix, and old-school shooter fans of all breeds.
  17. Bangai-O Spirits is an intense, challenging shooter with terrific tools for creating and sharing your own levels.
  18. 80
    Although it's certainly not for everyone, Bangai-O Spirits is a well-made and extremely challenging game. It's great to see Treasure revive this title, and it works surprisingly well on the DS.
  19. Bangai-O Spirits is one of the toughest, craziest, most variety-packed titles you’ll ever play.
  20. Overall, Bangai-O is a fantastic shooter, and the sheer customizability of it is amazing. Still, if you like shooters, or puzzles in general, it is worth your time—oh-so-worth it.
  21. 81
    It's a shooter that celebrates shooters. The approach certainly limits the game's audience, but if you're a fan of the genre it should please you to know that Treasure loves it just as much as us and made this game just for us.
  22. Maxi Consolas (Portugal)
    Bangai-O Spirits is one of those bizarre but extremely addictive games that we can always expect from Treasure. The difficulty can sometimes be exasperating, but behind this shoot’em up, that contains a whole lot of genres, there is a unique game for DS. [Oct 2008]
  23. Treasure gives us exactly that, a treasure. It’s an improved version of the classic Bangai-O, originally released for the N64 and later ported to Sega Dreamcast. More than 200 levels are waiting for a solution, and believe us: this is not especially easy. Take weapons and become the new Bangai-O rider to complete one of the funniest DS games. Indeed, Spirits includes a great level editor.
  24. 80
    It's been awhile since we've had a Nintendo DS game come along and totally kick our ass, but Bangai-O Spirits does it in a very good way.
  25. n-Revolution Magazine UK
    A daring and ambitious shmup, reminding us of our reasons for falling in love with the genre in the first place. [Issue#22, p.70]
  26. Nintendo Gamer
    Gives you the freedom to keep the game going indefinitely, if that's your thing. [June 2008, p.60]
  27. Nintendo Power
    Bangai-O Spirits is, above all, an excellent community game. [Sept 2008, p.84]
  28. But for those who are intrigued by what Bangai-O Spirits has to offer, there is a deep and rich well of truly unique gaming enjoyment to be tapped here.
  29. 90
    It's a gamers' game to be truly savoured - here to show anyone who forgot or missed it the first time, just how ridiculously good it is at what it does.
  30. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    There's loads of new stuff in the DS version. The level editor is brilliant. [Sept 2008, p.98]
  31. 75
    Bangai-O Spirits is an entertaining portable shmup title that has plenty of game to offer.
  32. Pelit (Finland)
    Bangai-O Spirits is a hybrid shmup with brains. Tough as nails gameplay with imaginative levels makes for refreshing change amidst today's games that try to cater for everybody. [Sept 2008]
  33. It may initially appear to be somewhat basic and the pesky language barrier presented by this Japanese import is a shame, but Bangai-O Spirits remains an unmitigated blasting brilliance that every DS fan should indulge in, and one of the strongest DS titles we've encountered so far. [JPN Import]
  34. Dishing out mass destruction upon legions of enemy robots is a fun and addictive experience. With a nice variety of weapons and abilities, you’ll be able to tweak your mech’s capabilities in plenty of ways.
  35. I can't remember a time when I've ever scored a game this high and yet warned the general public to stay away, but I suppose there's a first time for everything, and Bangai-O Spirits seems like the perfect game to cause just such an occasion.

Awards & Rankings

#20 Most Discussed DS Game of 2008
#32 Most Shared DS Game of 2008
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 27
  2. Negative: 4 out of 27
  1. StevenH
    Apr 17, 2009
    It might be good if the controls actually worked. Even they did, they make no sense. Waste of money and time.
  2. JamieA
    Nov 16, 2008
    Hopefully you have played one of the earlier Bangai-O titles as the difficulty is very high from the start, is a rewarding game with much fun Hopefully you have played one of the earlier Bangai-O titles as the difficulty is very high from the start, is a rewarding game with much fun to be found. Is bound to give you an adrenaline rush every time playing. If anything lets this game down it would be the DS's D-pad, it's up to you to get used to it.. Full Review »
  3. RyanK
    Nov 15, 2008
    No annoying, pointless cutscenes or loading times, lots of missiles and challenge, all other games have become obsolete since I started No annoying, pointless cutscenes or loading times, lots of missiles and challenge, all other games have become obsolete since I started playing Bangai. Only problem is that Sound Load doesn't really work Full Review »