You may think that diving into a bullet hell on Monday morning might not be the best idea. After all, you probably won't wake up properly until at LEAST Tuesday afternoon, but I'm not judging.
However, what's better to give your brain a bit of a jolt than diving into some high-octane, bullet-riddled chaos? Your morning coffee might wake you a bit, but this'll get your blood pumping and your fingers aching without fail.
Even if you're reading this list in the evening, on a Wednesday, or maybe even in the Christmas holidays, these shmups are some of the very best available and we think you'll have a ball with them. Five isn't a huge number, so if you don't see your fave down below, be sure to drop us a comment and let us know.
Bullet Hell Monday – download on iOS
Not only aptly named for this feature since it is, in fact, Monday today, Bullet Hell Monday has a lot to offer in a tidy package. You've got three modes to muck about with – Chapter, Challenge, and Endless – multiple difficulties, and plenty of upgrades to implement.
Endless mode speaks for itself, but Challenge and Chapter modes are aimed at two levels of skill. Beginners should really have a go at Chapter mode first, and experts should really take advantage of Challenge mode. But we're not watching, so feel free to go wild.
Er, you might want to put a few upgrades into your ship before you try to take on too much though. Just a thought.
Phoenix II – download on iOS
If you loved the first Phoenix, you'll especially love this one. If you've not played the first one it really doesn't matter, you can dive right in here.
Collect and upgrade over 75 ships, take on a huge variety of enemies, and enjoy missions that change things up daily, just to keep you from getting too comfortable. When it says there are 75 ships, it's not just an aesthetic thing. Each one has unique qualities and weapons, meaning you just need to find the one that suits your playstyle the best.
Steredenn – download on iOS (£3.99/$3.99)
There may not be much of a story here, but Steredenn doesn't really need it – you'll be too busy keeping an eye on everything to notice, anyway. If you die you die for good, after all.
Aside from surviving hordes of enemies and thousands of bullets and lasers, you've got big bosses to take down in order to get much-needed upgrades. Plus, it's not just about pointing and shooting. The random nature of the game means you'll have to adapt to combat depending on what you've got in your arsenal, and that's going to be intense (and fun) at times.
Play again and again and again at your own leisure. You'll know what you're in for, but you'll never know exactly what's coming.
Soul Knight – download on iOS
After a magical stone is nabbed by high-tech aliens, the balance of the world is in danger. Naturally, it's up to you to get it back before all hell breaks loose.
Rather than battling out in space, you'll be flitting through randomly generated dungeons in this bullet hell with roguelike elements. Collect a whole host of weapons, enjoy smooth and intuitive controls, get backed up by NPCs who don't totally suck, and more.
This one may not do it for you if you're into the delirious pacing of more tradition shmups, but it's charming in its own way.
Operation Dracula – download on iOS (£2.99/$2.99)
This manic shooter will certainly keep you on edge as you frantically fire in all directions. Complete with 80s-style 16-bit pixel art and a bopping Japanese soundtrack, you'll feel like you've fallen back a few decades to the most iconic gaming era.
It's bright. It's beautiful. It's crazy. It's hellish. It's a lot of fun. It's MFi compatible. It's really not going to go easy on you, but that's kind of the point, eh?