The Game Tutor Grades Deathsmiles (PC)

I will start out by saying Deathsmiles is my favourite Bullet Hell shooter of all time and to finally see the game released on PC is a big deal. I originally bought Deathsmiles along with a Japanese Xbox 360 back in 2010. Along with Mushihimesama, Deathsmiles is part of bullet hell shooter Cave’s new decision to bring its catalogue to PC and I really hope this is the first… well the second of many.

Deathsmiles first appeared in arcades back in 2007 and unusually for Cave is a horizontal bullet hell shooter featuring a very strong lolita gothic visual style. While the game has not aged amazingly in the visual stakes its theme and gameplay remain as fresh today as they did back then.

One of the main reasons I always liked Deathsmiles is due to the multi-directional gameplay that sees you travel and fire in both directions as you move through the game on rails. As you progress through the game you can choose the order in which you play the various stages along with the individual difficulty which mixes up things in terms of gameplay and style.

Mechanically Deathsmiles isn’t the most complicated of shmups with you controlling a familiar which orbits your main Lolita and allows multi-directional shooting. Once 1000 skulls are collected, a special state mode can be activated to boost your damage & score. Waiting for the correct time to activate this is key to achieving high scores.

There are a number of different version in the game such as the original arcade version, normal mode which is graphically improved and Mega Black Label version which adds and extra stage, and extra character and is probably the best version to play for people looking for the most complete version.
Sadly I had hoped for a shiny new PC version but this is essentially a port of the game I bought on my Japanese 360 back in 2010 (I always found it odd that the 360, a system that was essentially DOA in Japan was the only place to play Cave shooters). I would 100% recommend playing the game with a 360 pad or a stick as playing with the keyboard just doesn't offer the needed level of accuracy.

If you are a Cave fan this is a must buy, if you are a shooter fan then this is well worth a stab and to be honest this is one of the more accessible bullet hell shooters out there so for anyone remotely interested in a very Japanese genre lets go and dodge some bullets.