Summary: There was a time when I was beating myself up for not purchasing this game (as an import) on the Gamecube when it released and times I came close to purchasing it on eBay for over $100. So you can imagine how I leaped for joy to see Ikaruga come to XBLA. This was the easiest purchase I ever made. I have yet to beat the game, but even if I never do it's an iconic purchase that I could not pass up. For any top-down shooter fans, I highly recommend this game.
Summary: Top-down and side-scrolling shooters are an acquired taste. They don't rely on complex stories, variety of gameplay, or complex controls. They give you pretty much one kind of gameplay (destroy everything and don't die) and stick with it. But when you stop and think about it, these games are really gameplay in its purest form. Like breakout, light cycles, or tetris, they're a game of reflexes. One false move and you're dead.
Summary: This is a mesmerizing game that's both challenging and approachable. First off, the difficulty - it's harsh, but not impossible. This is a game you can learn to beat, even if you an average gamer (like me) and can work to master if you are really good. It's definitely going to take some trial & error, dying and a little patience. The game play is vertical space shooter, with another layer of complexity - polarity.
Summary: I have nothing new to add to the two review here--they are spot on. If you are a hard-core shoot em up fan, you already know about this game and its developer; if you are a casual gamer, you should stay away; but if you are somewhere in the middle and are interested in a challenging shmup, then I implore you to give this one a try. But make no mistake, you will die a lot because this game is difficult.