Caves Deathsmiles has been ported over to your PC and it is as much fun today as it was when it was first released 9 years ago. Deathsmiles is CAVE’s bullet-hell shoot-’em-up where you take the role of one of five Angels to defend the magical land of Gilverado from an invasion by Hell itself!
Deathsmiles brings you into a setting that has been overrun by monsters. It is not one of your typical shoot em up style games where you are one ship fighting against the enemy, rather you are a girl whose only option to save the world she is currently in is to close the portal that is letting the monsters through. You start the game by selecting one of five characters to play. From there you go on a rather short adventure and you learn that your friend Sakura has a father that has opened the portal. This portal is letting demons from the demon world into your world. The demons are wreaking havoc and you need to find Sakura’s father to stop him and to close the portal. When you get to the end of the game you figure out why Sakura’s father has opened the portal and you are faced with a decision. Overall, the story is pretty shallow but since the adventure is so short there isn’t much space for storytelling to be done.
Deathsmiles offers a unique shoot em up experience. In most shoot em ups you control one character and as the screen scrolls, you are shooting in one direction. In Deathsmiles, you have the ability to shoot forwards and backward. You are also accompanied by a companion throughout the game. These gameplay elements really set Deathsmiles apart and creates a game where you have to always be alert and know what is around you at all times. The mechanics work smoothly and you always feel like you are in control of your characters every movement.
Deathsmiles challenges you with a wide array of enemies. Some are killed in one shot and others are killed with continuous fire. The enemies range from fast-moving flying characters that take quick reflexes and accuracy to kill, to large static foes that fill the screen with bullets that you need to dodge while continuously attacking. When the enemy is defeated you collect points. At the end of each level, you are confronted by a unique boss. Each boss has a different attack style and will keep you on your toes when attempting to beat them. Every time you die your points are reset to zero. There are three difficulty levels and the game is relatively challenging but if you are just looking to progress through the game you will have no problem because there are unlimited continues.
Aesthetically, Deathsmiles is a great looking game. The art style is unique and it provides a horror/creepy overtone to the game. It really draws you into the world and makes you feel a sense of urgency to kill the enemies as some are grotesque looking. The sound is also good and it fits in perfectly with the horror setting. The biggest problem with Deathsmiles is it has some performance issues. When the screen fills up with multiple enemies the game slows down a bit. This was very disappointing especially since this game was originally released in 2007 and the majority of PC’s today can easily handle a game like this. When the game slows down it does affect the overall experience but not to the point that it ruins the experience.
Deathsmiles is a very fun but short game. You will have fun playing this game if you enjoy shoot em ups. The ability to shoot in more than one direction is a mechanic that makes Deathsmiles more intense and forces you stay aware of all your surroundings. Deathsmiles looks and sounds great with unique enemies and haunting bosses. Two big things plague Deathsmiles. The first being the slow downs you encounter when the screen fills up and the second being the length/replayability. Besides the story mode there is a score attack mode you could have some fun with but overall this is a game you could easily beat in one sitting on any difficulty level. It sells for £14.99 on Steam and I think that is a little pricey for the length of the game. If you like shoot em ups you will probably enjoy yourself but I would wait until it goes on sale before purchasing.
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