~ TERRAFORMING ~
I was pretty excited when I first got to play Terraforming, even though I'd read many reviews and commentaries that call it mediocre. I'd been wanting to see it in action for ages, as screen caps had always looked extremely nice. Once I did play and complete it, I was able to say that, yep, the parallax and colors are quite appealing, and yep, it's just an okay shooter.
The problem with the game is that it doesn't really bother to do much except toss wave after wave of standard enemies at you. The environment is seldom a factor (with one rather lame exception to the rule being Stage 5's cavern, which is extremely dark, making it hard to see rocks randomly positioned in the foreground).
There are no midbosses, and the bosses themselves are not at all memorable, with the possible exception of the fish-like guy in Stage 1: you have to crack his head open and then demolish his "brain matter" to finish him off.
Now, the music, while fairly forgettable and relatively laid back, is quite nice while you're actually playing the game. And the wave-after-wave action isn't completely unsatisfying.
But the trip tends to drag on during its latter half. And as the proceedings gradually feel more and more repetitive, the formerly stunning background visuals become messy or mundane. Stage 6 seems to be the intended money stage as far as effects go, but it really just looks like a big, muddy, wobbly mess.
The next two stages are uninspired space levels where you have to deal with the usual asteroid field and giant ship.
The pretty screenshots we always see are from the first half of the affair.
The game on default is never particularly difficult, but using the right weapons at the right times can definitely make certain stretches and boss battles a lot easier--perhaps too easy. The tougher difficulty levels are more intense, but I doubt that many people will be entertained enough by the core game itself to play through it multiple times and mess with various modes. And with that in mind, I strongly recommend that you don't overpay for the title. Find it fairly cheap (say, $17-30 for the JPN version, as the US one goes for insanely high amounts these days) and it's a decent purchase. You'll probably want to see those appealing early-level graphics first hand.