As though no such thing had been uttered, mankind has now gained its wings.
What people dreamed of as children is the reality of today.
Everyone reaches out to the sky together, carrying their wishes upon their wings.
With the rapid development of flight technology, an organization called the "Blue Sky Union" was established to maintain the order of the sky under law. People now call it "the Guild."
Ten years have passed since, and the Guild is at last about to put an end to the prolonged anarchy in the sky.
This is a story of one of the aviators living in that era.
Flying Red Barrel ~The Diary of a Little Aviator~ is a doujin shoot 'em up game by Orange_Juice, the creators of SUGURI and QP Shooting, and was released for Windows during Winter Comiket 73 on December 31, 2007.
Its story takes place in a rural countryside in a Steampunk world where aeroplanes have recently been invented. The plot centers around Marc, a young aviator and pilot of the titular Red Barrel, who serves as a member of the "Blue Sky Union" (or the "Guild", as it's more commonly known), an organization that protects the skies. During Marc's adventures, she crosses paths with Guild member Peat, Marc's friend Fernet, who has become annoyed with Marc's increasing focus of working at the Guild, outlaws, rebellious sky pirates, and angry seagulls.
Gameplay-wise, it is a vertical shoot 'em up with bullet hell elements, similar to QP Shooting!, as players assumes the role of Marc as she pilots the Red Barrel throughout various stages as they cross paths with various characters along the way. While simple on the surface, as the Red Barrel is armed with machine guns and a stock of refillable rockets, the latter plays a major role of the game's scoring hooks and destroying enemies with your rockets will start a combo multiplier that increases both score and how much gold coins you receive, which also recharges your rockets and gain extends. Depending on what actions players perform throughout the story, it can change how the story unfolds and which one of the 18 possible endings they can discover.
The game was previously localized by Rockin' Android in 2009 and was released through Amazon, GamersGate, DESURA, Rice Digital, and for a time, directly through Rockin' Android's own website digitally and on CD-ROM, however, over time most of these platforms slowly dropped distribution of the game one way or another, with Amazon being the only distributor of the game for many years. On June 2, 2020, Fruitbat Factory, the publisher who has since published Orange_Juice's newer titles, has obtained the rights to the game and would go on to release an updated remaster of Flying Red Barrel on June 19th, 2020 through Steam. Various characters from Flying Red Barrel would go on to be featured in the virtual board game 100% Orange Juice!, as well as Marc appearing as a party member for its spiritual successor 200% Mixed Juice.
Flying Red Barrel features examples of the following tropes:
- Ace Pilot: Many characters of Flying Red Barrel are experienced pilots, from Marc, her fellow pilot Peat, guild members Sherry and Islay, among many others.
- Big Bad: Malt, a.k.a the Guildmaster, the head of the Blue Sky Union who aims to conquer the skies with a secret weapon.
- Bullet Hell. As expected from an Orange_Juice game, this game has no contemplation when it comes to filling the screen with bullets raining from all directions.
- Cognizant Limbs: Bosses and some enemies have multiple parts that can be destroyed, and doing so will reward a "Perfect!" bonus for completely destroying all of their parts.
- Combos: Destroying enemies with your rockets will start a chain multiplier up to x16 and destroying them with your machine guns can extend the combo.
- Continuing is Painful: If you use a credit to continue after losing your final life, your score and any mini coins collected gets wiped.
- Edible Theme Naming: All characters are named after a variety of alcohol: Marc in particular is a term for pomace brandy.
- Essence Drop: Defeating enemies will yield coins, and the size vary based on how high the chain multiplier is.
- Feathered Fiend: The bald eagle enemies, whom assault Marc with a massive flock while shooting off bullets. The seagulls will also try to bombard Marc in numbers and shooting bullets halfway into Stage 1 if she attacked the flock appearing at the start of the stage.
- Final Boss: The Flying Castle, a superweapon Malt built to enforce the Guild's control over the skies.
- Gameplay Grading: At the end of each stage, you're graded based on how much Big and Mini Coins you were able to collect, how many lives you've saved up, and how much points you were able to score. Players are graded between 1 to 5 Stars based on their overall performance.
- Gender-Blender Name: "Marc" is not usually used as a girl's name.
- Multiple Endings: Up to 18 possible endings can be discovered depending on the player's actions and interactions with certain characters.
- Nintendo Hard: Five stages, each littered with enemies out to shoot you down and bombard the screen with bullets, explosives, incendiary weapons, and birds, and you're only allotted three credits to make it through the end. The game's end-stage scoring assessments also demands skillful use of your rockets and keeping your score multiplier as high as possible on top of minimizing losing lives if you wish to get a high rating.
- Papa Wolf: If you managed to defeat Tequila's daughter in the first stage, he'll be very angry with Marc for wrecking her ship.
- Old Save Bonus: Owning the Steam release of Flying Red Barrel unlocks Marc (Pilot) as a playable character in 100% Orange Juice!.
- Scoring Points: Par for the course of a shoot 'em up. In this game, your scoring gimmick is based around how you use your rockets to start a chain combo multiplier and collect coins scattered from defeated foes. At certain points during a stage, players may encounter a Bonus Chance which can reward a large amount of points if the set of enemies are defeated in time, but the Bonus Chance will be forfeit should an enemy leave off-screen or the player takes a hit, which also includes letting enemies with destructible parts leave the screen unscathed.
- Sky Pirate: Tequila and his band of sky pirates.
- True Final Boss: If you clear the entire game with no continues, Malt confronts you in his own plane, Golden Falcon, after the Flying Castle is destroyed.
- Updated Re-release: The 2020 remaster features an updated engine, higher resolution graphics, a new localization with support for multiple languages, improved controller support, native keyboard remapping, and a few other tweaks over the original Comiket 73 release and its previous English version by Rockin' Android.
- Video-Game Lives: Players start out with a stock of 3 lives when starting a new game.
- Zerg Rush: The primary tactic of the bird enemies in Flying Red Barrel by swarming Marc in large numbers on top of shooting her down.