Japanese game developer CAVE has released an iPhone version of their popular 2D arcade shooter DEATHSMILES. Never heard of it? Me either, but apparently it’s the bee’s knees in Japan.
“DeathSmiles is a thrilling ride from beginning to end. Its crazy Japanese visual style combined with a mash up of rock and techno music is a joy to behold. Combine that with intense shooter action, item upgrades, a bizarre storyline, and multiple endings, and you have one of the best shooters on the AppStore.”
DEATHSMILES has a pretty sweet aesthetic style, with some obvious anime gothic influences. The animations look great but you can really notice a lot of pixilation which may turn off some players. However, if you can get past that, you will have an absolute blast with this game. I really enjoyed the featured techno music and thought it complimented the games colorful visuals well. The story and characters are bit weird but I didn’t mind much.
The controls are responsive and work well on the iPhone. Your character auto-shoots and is controlled by moving your finger across the screen, either horizontally or vertically. You can alternate you attack to either be a shot or laser by simply tapping the button on the lower right. A lock shot button is also available which will auto-target enemies that get in your range. The last control at the bottom is used to change your characters direction from left to right or right to left depending on which direction enemies are coming from.
The game features two game modes, a new iPhone mode that provides some welcome RPG elements as well as a fifth playable princess character. The second mode is the classic arcade mode which features four playable princess’.
Of the two modes, I had the most fun playing in iPhone mode because of the ability to purchase/find better equipment for my character.
The gameplay is the game’s best feature. It is really easy to just pickup and play through a level while you are waiting in line at your favorite coffee house. Explosions are big, there is no lack of enemies to destroy, and the boss battles are a fun way to finish a level. 10/10
There is no option to save in either iPhone mode or Arcade mode and level progression is reset whenever the app is closed fully. It would be nice to be able to save level progression, at least in iPhone mode. The game is also a little price right now at $11.99, hopefully it will go on sale soon.
I recommend everyone to at least pick-up the LITE version and try this game out if you are at all interested in shooters. DEATHSMILES is a fantastic 2D shooter from CAVE, who is known for consistently developing quality titles. If you can get past the visuals and the weird characters/storyline DEATHSMILES will provide you with an extremely experience. 9/10