Incredible Shrinking Sphere (1989)

by Nish
4 minutes read


Incredible Shrinking Sphere: A Retro Shmup Gem

Released in 1989, Incredible Shrinking Sphere is a classic arcade shoot-em-up (shmup) game that stands out from the crowd thanks to its unique shrinking mechanic. Developed by Toaplan and published by Taito, the game was a critical and commercial success, and it remains popular with retro gamers today.


Incredible Shrinking Sphere is a vertically scrolling shmup in which the player controls a spaceship that can shrink in size. The game’s objective is to destroy all of the enemies on each stage while avoiding their attacks. The player’s ship can fire a variety of weapons, including lasers, missiles, and bombs.

The shrinking mechanic is what sets Incredible Shrinking Sphere apart from other shmups. By pressing the “shrink” button, the player can reduce the size of their ship. This makes the ship harder to hit by enemy fire, but it also reduces the ship’s firepower. The player must therefore carefully balance the benefits and risks of shrinking in order to survive.


Incredible Shrinking Sphere features a total of six stages, each with its own unique theme and enemies. The stages range from a forest to a factory to a space station. Each stage is filled with a variety of enemies, including ground troops, flying drones, and massive bosses.


The player’s ship can be equipped with a variety of weapons, including lasers, missiles, and bombs. Each weapon has its own strengths and weaknesses. Lasers are the most basic weapon, but they are also the weakest. Missiles are more powerful than lasers, but they are slower and less accurate. Bombs are the most powerful weapon, but they can only be used a limited number of times.


Throughout the game, the player can collect power-ups that will improve their ship’s performance. These power-ups include:

  • Speed ups
  • Weapon upgrades
  • Shields
  • Extra lives


Each stage of Incredible Shrinking Sphere ends with a boss battle. The bosses are large and powerful enemies that require the player to use all of their skills to defeat. The bosses each have their own unique attack patterns, and the player must learn how to dodge their attacks and exploit their weaknesses.

Graphics and Sound

Incredible Shrinking Sphere features colorful and detailed graphics for its time. The game’s backgrounds are varied and interesting, and the enemy designs are creative and memorable. The game’s soundtrack is also excellent, with catchy and upbeat tunes that perfectly complement the gameplay.


Incredible Shrinking Sphere was a critical and commercial success upon its release. The game was praised for its innovative gameplay, beautiful graphics, and excellent soundtrack. It remains popular with retro gamers today, and it is considered to be one of the best shmups ever made.


Incredible Shrinking Sphere is a classic shmup that still holds up today. Its unique shrinking mechanic makes it a standout in the genre, and its beautiful graphics, excellent soundtrack, and challenging gameplay make it a must-play for any fan of shmups.

Review Score


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