Generally favorable reviews - based on 52 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 52
  2. Negative: 0 out of 52
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  1. Play Magazine
    Treasure has crafted another masterpiece of hyper-tuned overhead shooter action, the likes of which the world may never see again. [Apr 2003, p.57]
  2. GameNow
    Ikaruga owns you. It's hard as heck, but it's also a pleasure to play and watch. Don't wuss out; play it. [May 2003, p.41]
  3. 100
    While the game obviously plays like a 2D shooter, the backgrounds are 3D rendered and the game just combines the technology of today with the old-school gameplay perfectly.
  4. Once I reached that Zen state of immersion, it felt as though the controller and I were one entity, working together to achieve a common goal. As I wove through a barrage of bullets, deftly changing colors in order to survive, I knew that Treasure had crafted a jewel.
  5. If you love shoot'em ups, or even just love great games, go out and buy Ikaruga now.
  6. Games like this simply aren't made very often, especially not of this caliber. It has incredible depth for a shooter, replay value through the roof, and most importantly, it's fun to play. [JPN Import]
  7. Addicting, beautiful, and challenging; everything anyone could ask for in a video game.
  8. 93
    Ikaruga is the finest shooter I have ever played. From Space Invaders to Xevious all the way to the games spiritual predecessor Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga is the epitome of the vertical shooter.
  9. An absolutely amazing game for anyone who has ever even considered liking arcade space shooters. The action is intense, the visuals are great, the sound is solid, and there is plenty to keep you coming back for more.
  10. Ikaruga rests its laurels on hard and fast gameplay, and while it is good gameplay, it's also very challenging, fairly short, and not what I'd call a mass appeal title.
  11. A fantastic game which is an absolute must buy both for fans of the genre and people looking for a real grown up challenge on the Gamecube.
  12. A disorienting thrill ride of white/black strategy; an unbelievable roller coaster of shooting glory.
  13. While some may complain that the game is technically short, where the strength of the game lies is in its replayability. Shooter fans will be addicted by the game, which beckons multiple play-throughs just to improve their score and hopefully their internet ranking.
  14. 90
    Ikaruga is not an easy game. Even on Easy difficulty mode it is quite challenging, and the higher modes just ramp things up another notch.
  15. Brilliant. It's hugely playable, graphically sublime and even more importantly, once again Treasure have raised the bar for top-down shooters.
  16. Ikaruga is the best shoot-em-up on the current generation of consoles. With perfect gameplay, perfect difficulty curve, and beautiful graphics, it provides an intense experience like no other.
  17. AceGamez
    Ikaruga successfully blends nostalgia with new and modern twists in a usually very rigid genre, while providing a challenge that few other games come near to presenting, without ever feeling unfair to the player.
  18. One of those rare games that is beyond criticism. It plays beautifully, and gives you the opportunity to become at one with it - provided you're willing to put the hours in. Try playing this one at 3am and you'll see what we mean. The best shooter in years.
  19. Monstrously tough and definitely not for part-timers. Ikaruga is demanding but ultimately rewarding. [GamesMaster]
  20. Game Informer
    One of the best shooters to date. [May 2003, p.85]
  21. Nintendo Power
    Quite possibly the greatest entry in one of gaming's oldest genres, Ikaruga is brilliantly innovative, visually stunning and one heck of a challenge. [May 2003, p.136]
  22. No review will ever accurately convey the tension in navigating through a sea of multiple colored bullets that fill every inch of the screen or the joy in finally nailing a 100+ chain combo because Ikaruga, like all good shmups, is visceral.
  23. Cheat Code Central
    If you are itching to stretch your left brain (or is that right brain?) and give your trigger finger a workout, Ikaruga is one nasty mother - shut your mouth. Rent it. Buy It. Whatever you do, just play it.
  24. 90
    With an astounding muscial score, amazing graphics and incredible gameplay, Ikargua is a gaming dream come true.
  25. A brilliantly designed shooter, which can be enjoyed by any gamer of any time period.
  26. In short, this is the current crème of the crop when it comes to 2D shooters. Following the path of "Radiant Silvergun," Ikaruga will long be thought of as a great example of what a 'shmup' can be.
  27. Anyone who appreciates what makes a truly great game should be able to recognize Ikaruga for its elegant design, aesthetic beauty, and sheer challenge.
  28. It's one of the few Dreamcast ports that weren't sloppily remade. Anyone who appreciates a great game should be able to recognize Ikaruga for its challenge, design, and elegance.
  29. The game never seems to take cheap shots at you, it just happens to take a lot of shots at you. So when you die, you only have yourself to blame. Well, that and about a million bullets!
  30. The staggering difficulty and blazing visuals may overwhelm the casual gamer, but anyone who takes the time to master the binary gameplay model will find a deep strategic shooter.
  31. I never expected to see an arcade shooter translate so well to a console, but Ikaruga blew my mind from the first time I changed polarity.
  32. netjak
    Ikaruga is for that special breed of gamer, who knows gameplay is more important than graphics; and skill is more important than power-up's. Believe me when I say "misery never felt so good". The game is tough.
  33. The game is brutally, unrelentlessly difficult, and it very much expects you to play through the same levels and same situations over and over again until you get it right. [Import]
  34. Is the game fun? Yes, for the hardcore gamer, but not for the newbie. The newbie should wait a few years before sinking his teeth into this one.
  35. Not only one of the best traditional shooters ever made, but also the only one that GameCube owners have the option to play.
  36. 83
    If you don't like intense, mind-numbing shooting action, then you're going to hate Ikaruga.
  37. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Incredibly innovative, wickedly addictive gameplay is the compelling reason to pick this up. It's pure genius. [May 2003, p.126]
  38. 82
    Granted if you've never played a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up before it is a trial by fire and that may put some people off. But Ikaruga is a damn good game plain and simple. Even though the genre is very old, Ikaruga is original, unique and a welcome breath of fresh air.
  39. The mind-emptying beauty of Ikaruga is its seamless unity of aesthetics and game-play.
  40. If you're an old school arcade veteran looking to prove yourself again, then this is perhaps the purest gameplay experience you'll find for a long time. Even if you're a rookie looking for something 'new', you can't go wrong, but you might well find the barriers to entry a little harsh to say the least.
  41. Treasure/Atari/Infogrames/whoever have failed to add anything significant to the game or remedy it's main deficiency: replayability and variety -- the prototype mode notwithstanding. [Import]
  42. 80
    It's for that rare breed of gamer who isn't afraid of inhuman challenge, who spends days practicing their routines, who will do anything to beat his last high score.
  43. While striking visuals and retro-themed music make up the game's framework, Ikaruga's foundation is undoubtedly built on innovative, engaging and downright challenging gameplay.
  44. An excellent mind numbing shooter that'll send a splitting headache crashing through your forehead like Astaroth's giant axe in "Soul Calibur" There's no doubt in my mind that like me you'll be begging for mercy, but that won't mean you'll be able to put down the controller.
  45. 79
    The progression of difficulty is actually quite linear and well-balanced. But, because the entire experience is so densely compressed, for most people the game becomes too difficult and too technical far too quickly.
  46. The game has 5 fast skull breaking levels which may look like it's not much, but it takes a while to get through them all, because it is unbelievably hard.
  47. GMR Magazine
    It's a claustrophobic eye-dryer whose thrills are offset by the demands it places on the gamer. [May 2003, p.65]
  48. Ikaruga is a game that takes the old and combines it with the new, and does a good job of it.
  49. This reminds CVG of when videogames were designed to scare you into submission with impossible challenges, while pacifying you with digital displays beyond most imaginations.
  50. 60
    This unique and head-bangingly challenging game is really not at all suited for the non-hardcore, and if you don't like games that require your entire mind and body as a sacrifice, you're likely to loathe and fear Ikaruga.
  51. 60
    A perfect example of why shooters have become such a niche genre. It's a good game that's well made. It's even got an interesting hook to keep the hard core happy. But the insane difficulty will keep most players from getting past the first level before giving up. And with the ultra-short playing time, even shooter fans might not find enough to like here.
  52. As fun as it starts out to be, it gets old rather quickly. Fortunately or unfortunately, the game is extremely short, and on its easiest mode can be completed in about an hour.

Awards & Rankings

#23 Most Discussed GameCube Game of 2003
#23 Most Shared GameCube Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 53
  2. Negative: 3 out of 53
  1. Aug 5, 2018
    Si bien no llega a la excelencia de Radiant silvergun, Ikaruga es uno de los mejores matamarcianos de la historia. La dualidad entre blanco ySi bien no llega a la excelencia de Radiant silvergun, Ikaruga es uno de los mejores matamarcianos de la historia. La dualidad entre blanco y negro es la esencia del juego y es sencillamente espectacular. La única pega es que es muy corto. Full Review »
  2. Feb 16, 2015
    A really hard but an amazing bullet hell shoot 'em up that Treasure is always great at making them. Easily recommend it to those who loveA really hard but an amazing bullet hell shoot 'em up that Treasure is always great at making them. Easily recommend it to those who love shoot 'em up games or games that are made by Treasure like Gunstar Heroes and Radiant Silvergun as well. Full Review »
  3. CoffinSandman
    Nov 14, 2007
    Surprisingly, I was able to find this game at a retailer and I can easily say it was worth the $50. It's very deep for a side scroller. Surprisingly, I was able to find this game at a retailer and I can easily say it was worth the $50. It's very deep for a side scroller. You have to use strategies and have quick reflexes to make it through. The graphix and music are really good too. I will admit that it is a bit too hard, but it's something I can overlook. Only thing that sux is that after I bought it I learned that it'll come out on Xbox Live for only $10. So you might as well buy it there, but MAKE SURE YOU DO!!! Full Review »