Japanese arcade game maker Cave is famous for their difficult yet alluring “bullet hell” 2-D shooters, which challenge players to weave through impossible streams of projectiles while boosting their high scores. Thanks to Aksys Games, you can now test your skills with one of their shooters: Deathsmiles for Xbox 360.
Deathsmiles is a 2-D horizontally side scrolling shooter. Rather than blasting spaceships in a galactic setting like most games of this ilk, Deathsmiles has kind of a Gothic, Halloween feel to it. Choose from one of four anime girls (Rose is my favorite) and fly them around while blasting grim reapers, dragons, trolls, and other demons.
Play control is easy to learn. Use the A and B buttons to shoot to the front and behind, as enemies come from all sides. Press both buttons at the same time to pull up an automatic targeting system, but it slows down your movements. The Y button is the typical screen-destroying bomb weapons, which you get three of for each life.
To really boost your high score, collect skulls dropped by enemies. When you get 1,000 of them, press the A and B buttons together to power-up your shots and pass through enemies. This will help raise your score even more.
Even though it’s a simple game, Deathsmiles has lots of options. Play three different versions, including the original Arcade mode and an edition specifically designed for the 360. The game lets you select your own level of difficulty for each stage, and luckily there are limitless continues for us folks who aren’t quite as good at these shooters. Upload high scores to an online leaderboard, and even play co-op with two players on Xbox LIVE. There is even a Limited Edition game you can buy that has lots of other goodies, too.
The only main problem with Deathsmiles is a bit of slowdown when there are tons of bullets on screen. But other than that, it’s a fine edition to any arcade fan’s 360 library.
Deathsmiles is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, and Partial Nudity. Players shoot bullets at a variety of creatures and when you are hit, little spurts of blood spray out. Language is used sparingly in text only. The Mild Suggestive Themes and Partial Nudity come from the anime girl characters you can play as. Because of all this and the high difficulty, Deathsmiles is best for older gamers.