Don't you just hate being left out of things? Like finding out about a great party you didn't get an invitation to? Or having to sit on the bench during a game while your teammates do all the playing? Well that's how Ian Morgan, general of the Imperial Army of Planet Rhea feels, having been stripped of his rank for treasonous actions and told that the war is no longer his to fight. Of course, that doesn't stop him from fighting a one-man war against his Rhean superiors, and you get to accompany him in Pawel Lyczkowski's newest shooter, Not Your War.
Not Your War is a challenging vertical-scrolling shooter where survival is by no means guaranteed. You control your agile ship with the [WASD] keys and aim and fire your ship's cannons with the mouse. Later levels unlock new weapons and defenses, letting you use the  and  keys to toggle your guns, and the [spacebar] to shoot a swarm of missiles at the enemy. There are numerous enemy ships to deal with, from small pesky drones and fighters to large capital ships. Drones tend to fly at you kamikaze style, while fighters zip in and around your ship and are tough to hit. Larger enemies take much more damage, and they launch tracking missiles at you which can be shot by your cannons or defenses.
With the game's multi-directional shooting and numerous enemies onscreen, Not Your War often feels similar to Robotron or Smash TV. Like those titles, colliding with enemies often results in instant destruction, so success comes in accurate shooting and deft maneuvering. Thankfully the game has a decent ramp-up in difficulty, introducing enemies and unlocks gradually throughout its 11 levels. There's even an easy mode for people who find gameplay too unforgiving. Eventually you get into the rhythm of gameplay, casually targeting and picking off the swarms of bad guys and making controlled circles around larger ships, peppering them with cannon fire until they explode.
With its challenging gameplay and gritty back story, Not Your War provides a satisfying shooter experience. Despite having only one background and somewhat repetitive music, there's still a lot to like about this game. The ships are slickly detailed, and the shots and explosions look and sound satisfying. Gameplay seems a little short and the upgrades are a bit limited, but overall Not Your War dishes out classic arcade-style action. Don't be left out again! Give this war a try.