The visual language of Flat Shot is akin to applying a material design theme to raw Touhou Project frame data. Pastels, simple white polygons, and cel-shaded lighting communicate exactly what is happening very effectively, which, as bullet hell fans can attest, is incredibly important for this type of game. Each level add something new that escalates by the later stages into a satisfyingly parabolic difficulty curve. By the fifth stage after the tutorials any doubts I had about how Flat Shot was put together were firmly rebutted. Controls are fast, but tight, and the charged shot and bullet deflection give you enough variety in play-style to offer different approaches to each stage, while retaining the simplicity that this game aims to convey.
My experience with Flat Shot has given me a lot to think about. I’ve written before about how Roguelikes, Shmups, Twin Sticks, and the like felt hollow if they didn’t stray far enough from core gameplay, but this game takes the opposite approach and is a joy to play. Would I be singing a different tune if someone did the same with these other indie mainstays? Probably not. Still, Flat Shot and other titles like it may fill a niche that no one knew existed, becoming the exceptions that prove the rule.