There is something that goes hand in hand; quality shoot ‘em up action games and language breaking names. Mushihimesama has been out on PC for a while but dropped onto Nintendo E-Shop recently. Developed by the legendary CAVE, it’s worth checking out. So let’s dodge bullets and blow up some bugs.
Does that Bug you Princess?
Mushihimesama does have a story, I’m shocked by this as I haven’t seen anything in the game to suggest it, but the Wiki tells me otherwise!
Being a Shmup this isn’t important as the gameplay is key here. You control Reco. She flies up the screen and shoots the evil bugs until they explode and leave collectibles. This is an award-winning narrative, I assure you.
A Bug’s Life
So as mentioned Mushihimesama is a Shmup/STG which is quite a broad genre. This falls in with the “Danmaku” or “Bullet Hell” sub-genre which sees your small pixel-sized hitbox dodging colorful bullets en masse.
Unlike other famous Shmups like Gradius or R-Type, there is more focus on reactions, score building, and clever bomb deployment to clear screens when the time is just right. The game is also a vertical shooter in the style of Galaga for example rather than a horizontal shooter like R-Type.
While there are no stage hazards present, clever ship placement is key in directing enemy bullets to areas in which you can dangerously navigate through them. This lets you pick off popcorn enemies and avoid death.
Mushihimesama gives you control over 3 “ships” in the form of golden stag beetles. These have different types of shots; some have more spread and some have more power.
The game also presents you with various versions of the game starting with the newbie-friendly “Novice” version which lowers the bullet count significantly. There’s also the standard version of the game as seen in arcades, and the rearrange 1.5 version too.
What is great about Mushihimesama from a customization perspective is that no matter what mode you pick from Novice to 1.5, you can still tweak the difficulty within through options. You could in theory practice on the Novice difficulty yet still crank it up to “Ultra” and experience the toughest Novice has to offer. It’s an ideal way for newcomers, returners, and hardcore shmupers to get the best out of the game.
Alongside the difficulty modifiers, you also have a robust training mode. There’s also the ability to save your replays to see where things could be improved upon.
Along Came A Spider
The main allure of Mushihimesama lies within generating the highest score you can. You build a score by killing bugs, not losing lives, and picking up the gems dropped by enemies. The different modes do have little quirks in how the scoring is done but you’ll generally pick this up while learning the stages.
The game has 5 stages, each culminating in a boss fight and gradually increasing in difficulty. Stage 3 especially is where the game decides to stop taking it easy and throw everything at you. Despite this, Mushihemesama is one of the more newcomer-friendly to the genre and doesn’t require as much dedication as others for a 1 Clear Credit.
Boss fights are fantastic shmup endurance battles and after a few attempts, you should have a decent understanding of how to react to everything they throw at you.
At the time of writing, sadly online Leaderboards aren’t available but they will be going live soon. Nothing quite matches the thrill of watching your name rise in the ranks. While it’s a shame I can’t try it out yet, it is coming and I’m hoping to see a legion of new players on there.
Mushihimesama isn’t the most console crushing in terms of visuals. That said, it does look impressive with its slight use of 3D polygon enemies fused with detailed sprites and the vibrancy of colors on display.
Due to it being a vertical shooter, the aspect ratio does paint a rather small picture encased in a wonderfully drawn wallpaper. Not ideal but not everyone has a television they can flip on its side!
Fortunately, in regards to the above, the Nintendo Switch isn’t confined to such restrictions and handheld mode goes perfectly with Tate Mode. You can flick this option on, put your Switch on its side and experience the game in its full glory rather than squinting.
The music and sound of Mushihimesama are as beautifully arcade and endearing as you would expect from a title produced by CAVE. The explosions and pickup sounds strike the right chord in your brain to give you instant gratification and the music never gets repetitive which is huge considering replay is the key with this title.
Mushihimesama has always been held in high regard within the Shmup community. Everything you may have heard is true and so much more.
CAVE are likely the most well-known craft masters of the genre and for good reason. Mushihimesama is not only accessible for newcomers but challenging for pros. It’s addictive, it’s visually unique with its bug theme, and has all the nuance and quirk any good Shmup needs to succeed.
I couldn’t say if this is THE game that would convert the non-believers but in terms of pure Shmup action, it still shines brightly. I’d say it is one of the strongest additions to the Nintendo Switch library.
MUSHIHIMESAMA IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to Live Wire for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
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Pride of utopia & greatest thing ever, I found the One Piece, Collected the Dragon Balls & won the Mortal Kombat Tournament in one night, it was quiet for me that night! Follow me on Twitter @powahdunk