Degica is bringing another shoot’em up classic to the Steam platform. Mushihimesama is a Cave shooter that was released in the arcades in 2004. And while it had many ports, aside from the iOS version this is the much awaited first official English release.
Mushihimesama is one of the more unique Cave titles with quite a different theme than most shooters. It is set in a fantastical world where “Kuju”, huge bugs, prevail. You play as Reco, a human princess that rides her own beetle called Kiniro, who must save her village and herself from the all-powerful Kuju.
Enviroments could comfortably fit into a Ghibli feature film, which was also an inspiration for this title. Though the story seems engaging enough, Mushihimesama, being the arcade game that it is, doesn’t present its characters nor delve much into the plot until the ending cutscene. Though many shoot’em up players might not care much about this aspect and what Mushihimesama lacks in story definitely makes up with it’s excellent gameplay.
There are 5 stages in total with all kinds of bugs as enemies, each stage ending with a massive boss. Bosses in Mushihimesama make some of the hardest, yet beautiful bullet patterns. Whether you are an experienced bullet hell veteran or a beginner, there are different modes and settings to suit your taste. There are Normal, Novice, Arrange and Version 1.5 Modes.
While the Normal mode is best experienced firsthand since it was made to be as close to arcade game as possible, Novice is suited for new players who are only learning the ropes of the game. Arrange mode on the other hand lets you start the game in full powered mode where you can rack up huge point bonuses. There is also a remixed soundtrack included. Version 1.5 is available as a DLC, which is a rare remixed mode of the game that features different alternate soundtrack and some further changes in gameplay.
Arcade mode lets you chose Original, Maniac and Ultra mode. Even though the Original is the easiest don’t expect it to be that easy. Manic mode will really test your skills as the enemies spawn more and more bullets in increasingly complex patterns. Ultra mode is only for the brave ones. The game even asks twice if you are sure you want to proceed.
Furthermore, you can choose weapon type that suits your play style. There is W-Power shot that is good for dispatching lots of enemies at once, S-Power shot, which is concentrated attack useful for taking out bosses and the M-Power shot which is an all-around option. Reco can also throw bombs at enemies, which she does automatically in Arrange mode. You can also pick up power ups in a form of options. Trace type follows Reco and her beetle and Formation type adds more firepower.
All in all, you are sure to find a mode and weapon you like and try to excel with them or you can just play through them all because the game is that fun. But that is not all, as there is a training mode that lets you select any stage with any difficulty in order to hone your skills further.
There are a variety of customization options, like adjusting the window size and position, screen orientation and additional screens. Additional screens use the horizontal free space in order to zoom in on all the important info on the screen so you can see it at a glance. It is an interesting addition that some players will appreciate. You can even invite a friend and play an old school co-op game, as Mushihimesama has keyboard and multiple controllers support.
Mushihimesama promises hours of fun with its numerous modes and settings. The long wait has payed off and now we have a definitive version of the game. With an enjoyable soundtrack, colorful visuals and multiple gamplay modes it is an amazing experience that no shoot’em enthusiasts should miss.
Mushihimesama releases November 5th on Steam.