deathsmiles
Back in August last year, Japanese publisher Degica announced that they’d be bringing the manic bullet hell offerings of boutique shmup purveyor Cave to Steam, beginning in the winter. The first game to see release was the cult classic Mushihimesama, the developer’s 2004 vertical shmup that sees the titular Bug Princess flying through lush forests shooting down enormous insects and dodging hundreds upon hundreds of bullets, which hit Valve’s digital storefront back in November.

Fans speculated over what game would come next. Would it be something from the DonPachi series? Ketsui, Perhaps? Or maybe Guwange! Well, now we know, as a store page has popped up, letting us know that March 10th will bring us Deathsmiles, a horizontal shooter starring a group of gothic Lolita-styled teenage angels and their familiars as they fly about spooky forests and creepy graveyards, jinking through curtains of angry pink bullets fired from all sorts of occult-styled monsters like minotaurs, cyclopes, and, uh… a demonic tree that throws grinning apples at you, I guess.

deathsmilescreepytree

Deathsmiles probably wouldn’t have been the first (or, rather, second) choice for most fans, but I’m glad it’s coming. Though I was aware of the company’s games beforehand, Deathsmiles was the first Cave title I played, as it released on Xbox 360 back in February 2011. It’s also a pretty good shout if you’re looking to get into bullet hell shooters, as it’s a little more noob friendly than something like Mushihimesama, offering the option to play stages out of order and select one of three difficulty levels, while player characters have a pool of life points and levels generally feature more forgiving bullet patterns. Of course, it’s still got bags of depth when it comes to player strategy and high-score potential, and despite being a bit of an easier on-ramp to the bullet hell subgenre, it’s still not a game I’m ever likely to 1CC.

Like the Xbox 360 release, the Steam version will feature six different game versions, including Mega Black Label, which was originally a very limited remixed mode available in select arcades that added a new playable character, a new stage, and various scoring and difficulty changes. You can view the launch trailer below.

I’ll be happily double-dipping next month, and also looking forward to whichever title comes next. Personally, I’d love to get my hands on Deathsmiles II, which never made it to Europe. But maybe not right away – how about DoDonPachi Resurrection next, eh?

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