The 5 Best Bullet Hell Games for Beginners

Getting into bullet hells isn't easy. Every game looks very scary at first and most are very hard to even finish for the first time. The five games on this list will help you to get used to the crazy bullet patterns and bosses the genre can offer without suffering!

The 5 Best Bullet Hell Games for Beginners

The bullet hell (or shoot ’em up) genre is one of the tougher ones in gaming to get into as a beginner. Its name says it all, you’re fighting while dodging a hellish array of relentless bullets. It also doesn’t help that most of the traditional titles in the genre follow old-school arcade rules (because most of them are arcade games after all), which can make your life even harder.

But don’t worry, because there are quite a few bullet hell games that can be used as entry points for beginners. Even though some of the ones featured in this list may not be traditionally easy, they all offer enough options for you to get used to their mechanics and eventually even get good at them.

Deathsmiles

Unlimited continues: Yes

Difficulty options: Yes

Deathsmiles is one of, if not the most accessible CAVE shooter you can get your hands on. CAVE is a studio known for its innovative mechanics and legendary bullet hell output, as well as the high difficulty present in most of their games, like in Mushihimesama and Dodonpachi. Deathsmiles is not like that though. It’s a really stylish gothic horizontal shooter in which you play as a bunch of witches stuck in an alternate reality.

If you play one of the modern ports, you can choose between the many arcade versions that offer different mechanics, although I recommend choosing the 1.1 version, which is polished and relatively straightforward. You can choose both the difficulty and order of the levels, but the difficulty will scale regardless as you keep going. It still gets pretty hard in the last couple of levels, but you’re at least assured that you can make it through your first attempts with the unlimited continues.

You can find Deathsmiles on the following platforms: Steam (old port), Steam (updated port), Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4/5, and Xbox Series X|S.

The 5 Best Bullet Hell Games for Beginners Deathsmiles

Deathsmiles is fast, but the bullet density doesn’t get daunting until the final levels.

Yurukill: The Calumniation Games

Unlimited continues: Yes

Difficulty options: Yes

You may think this pick is a result of recency bias, but no, Yurukill is actually a great starting point for newly initiated bullet hell enthusiasts. It mixes a bunch of genres together in an impressive manner, and the bullet hell segments are plentiful and high quality. Since it’s in there alongside visual novel and point and click adventure segments which are not known for asking fast reflexes of their players, the teams responsible for Yurukill made things simple and adaptable.

The easy and normal modes have auto-bombs that let you take free hits as long as you got enough of the game’s own Overdrive Gauge. You also get a bunch of lives everywhere, and since the campaign is about 20 hours long instead of the usual single hour you get in a regular bullet hell game, you get to continue on the same level when you lose all of them.

Yurukill is an impressive title that offers an entire death game and murder mystery alongside its bullet hell gameplay, which makes it the perfect starting point for visual novel fans looking to get into some shooting action.

You can find Yurukill: The Calumniation Games on the following platforms: Steam, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation 4/5.

The 5 Best Bullet Hell Games for Beginners Yurukill

Yurukill: The Calumniation Games is a crazy genre mash-up that works surprisingly well.

WITCH-BOT MEGLILO

Unlimited continues: No

Difficulty options: Yes

WITCH-BOT MEGLILO is an indie bullet hell game with cute visuals, a low asking price, and much charm. It foregoes the traditional screen-clearing bombs to instead give you the warp ability, which allows you to reposition yourself to any point in the screen at the press of a button. Its gauge depletes the more you use it, and you’ll have to use it often since the whole game is designed around careful and strategic use of this mechanic.

Aside from the warp ability making your life easier, WITCH-BOT MEGLILO also doesn’t have that many bullets on screen at once, even in the last levels. Don’t get me wrong, though: finishing the game on normal is not a cakewalk, and you’ll still need to get used to moving as little as possible while taking advantage of the warp to do it.

You can find WITCH-BOT MEGLILO on Steam.

The 5 Best Bullet Hell Games for Beginners WITCH-BOT MEGLILO

WITCH-BOT MEGLILO is all about positioning, especially since you can warp to anywhere on the screen instantly.

Touhou ~ Unconnected Marketeers.

Unlimited continues: No

Difficulty options: Yes

The eighteenth and most recent main series Touhou installment is also one of the best ones to get into the franchise. It has it all: an accessible Steam release, a fanmade English patch, pretty bullet patterns, and… roguelite mechanics? Yes, even though Unconnected Marketeers is not one of the easier games in the series, it eases you into the difficulty while also allowing for a lot of player choice with its Ability Card system.

There are six different kinds of Ability Cards and more than 50 available in total. They can help you both passively and actively, and you can keep most of them to select later when starting the game again. So, even if you keep losing all your continues to the tougher bosses in the last stages, you can get some OP card combinations to help you out significantly. Also, like in every other game listed here with difficulty options, there’s no shame in starting with easy mode. It still teaches you a lot about the game. Just remember to use focus mode by holding the Shift key and you’re good to go.

You can find Touhou Kouryudou ~ Unconnected Marketeers on Steam.

The 5 Best Bullet Hell Games for Beginners Touhou

Unconnected Marketeers’ Ability Card system makes the bullet hell experience go smoother for newcomers.

Imperishable Memories

Unlimited continues: Yes

Difficulty options: Yes

Yep, you’re not reading this wrong. Imperishable Memories has a very similar title to Touhou: Imperishable Night, but that’s no coincidence. Imperishable Memories is a hand-drawn indie bullet hell that takes some thematic inspiration from that game, and it’s one of the most underrated titles in the genre.

It’s a fairly story-focused horizontal shoot ’em up with simpler enemies than usual. Instead of a screen-clearing bomb, your main ability here is grabbing enemies. Just get your crosshair close to them and they’re yours to use both as a shield and as a throwing weapon that instantly kills most enemies.  The plot is also deep and thoroughly interesting because it ends up connecting its meaning to the nature of the genre’s gameplay. I can’t elaborate on that because of spoilers, but that’s even more reason for you to play it.

You can find Imperishable Memories on Itch.io.

The 5 Best Bullet Hell Games for Beginners Imperishable Memories

Imperishable Memories is a delightful hand-drawn bullet hell that can ease you into the genre seamlessly.

Bullet Hells Don’t Need to be Scary!

They truly don’t. Even regular shoot ’em ups can be hard sometimes, but it’s just like learning to play fighting or rhythm games. Practice makes perfect. If you keep moving as little as possible and always focus on your character’s premises instead of looking at the enemies, you’re already halfway there. Once you get past the initial hurdles, you’re going to be welcomed into a beautiful and expansive genre, and since most of the skills you need to get through a bullet hell are transferrable between games, you can go anywhere from here.

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