There is a bug theme here that immediately stands out (an iOS game called Mushihimesama: Bug Panic was also crafted by CAVE and was a hit with reviewers). That aesthetic, filled with plants and bugs and all kinds of crazy creatures fills the screen with an insane number of bullets looking to do you in - but boy oh boy is it pretty as well. Mushihimesama HD might be familiar to some, because it was an Xbox 360 title that never made it over to North America. However, the game Mushihimesama had its origins in Japanese arcades more than a decade ago.
Our heroine is a human girl named Reco who rides on top of a giant bug who helps soar upwards in this vertical scrolling shooter that throws everything and then some at Reco. CAVE has long ago perfected the art of the shooter, making it as much about actually shooting as the dodging. You are not simply blowing everything up in front of Reco - you have to be able to navigate what is happening on the screen. There is a fine balance here, one that requires you to guide Reco around the screen as the action really tests your ability to discern patterns, while at the same time taxing your reflexes as well.
One thing I can really appreciate in a shooter is having a number of options, and Mushihimesama has a plethora of them to work through. Some are about the gameplay itself, offering a few levels of difficulty and also modes. These can create an experience more comfortable for novices, but will absolutely test even the most advanced shooter fans. On the surface, having five levels does not sound like much, but the variety within the levels, and the different modes such as Arrange or Normal do a very nice job of shaking up the proceedings. If you really like what the game has to offer (and you should), there is a 1.5 DLC pack you can pick up for about five bucks that basically shakes things up further and acts as a second, new Arrange mode for fans of the game.
Some of the options are more technical than others. You can impact aspect ratio (including whether to play in portrait or landscape mode depending on how you set up your monitor - portrait is awesome, by the way) and controller options. While you can use a keyboard - do yourself a favor and pick up a solid controller. Trust me, the experience will be far better.
Like a lot of shooters, you have a few different types of shots you can work with. Essentially they range from laser focused damage, to diluted but better covering spreadshot and a compromise between the two. Think of it as choosing a unique ship in other shooters, though you are still steering Reco through her adventure. You can acquire power-ups along the way that of course enhance what you are doing with those guns of yours, but additional options such as a follower give you more of a chance to pull out the victory as well.
It is a testament to CAVE's outstanding level and game design that all of these years later Mushihimesama is still a must-play for shooter fans. The game is intense to be certain, but the difficulty progresses perfectly and the numerous options give you a reason to come back and play again even if you have succeeded in beating the game previously. Really just a best-in-class shoot-'em-up from top to bottom.
|Developer(s)||CAVE Interactive Co.,LTD.|
Article by Nick