Deathsmiles I･II Reviews
Although there's nothing here that hasn't been seen previously, this is still a package bursting at the seams with content, and the sequel's novelty Christmas theme is perfect for memorable December gaming. Driven by an excellent set of punchy organ arrangements and murky musical notes, Deathsmiles I & II is a very large Halloween-themed cake; an exuberant, gothic flourish punctuated by enduring bosses and a unique route-and-rank structure that encourages experimental replays. With little middle ground between casual and concerted professional play, it might not be Cave's most balanced piece of work, but there's no doubt it has something for everyone, no matter how you choose to approach it.
The titles found in Deathsmiles I・II are still some of Cave’s finest, but this slapdash port is a disservice. Between its rampant slowdown and its steep price tag, this collection is only suited for the most diehard of shmup fans.
I’m very happy with how enjoyable Deathsmiles II ended up being. It seemed to be held in considerably less reverence than its illustrious predecessor, but I suspect a fair amount of that is down to the fact that for quite some time it was considerably less accessible for many players, especially in Europe. That all changes now, though — I’m here to tell you that Deathsmiles II is an excellent addition to any shoot ’em up collection, and that regardless of your feelings on any variety of end-year snow-covered holiday season, it’s reason for celebration in and of itself!
Deathsmiles is not the simplest or the most straightforward shoot ’em up out there, but it’s still one I recommend without hesitation to both shoot ’em up veterans and relative newcomers. It has a broad scope of difficulty options to make it both accessible and challenging to a wide range of ability levels, and the exciting audio-visual presentation makes it a game that is simply satisfying and enjoyable to engage with. And all this is true whether you manage to score a copy of the original Xbox 360 release or one of the more recent ports — I can happily confirm from first-hand experience that the Nintendo Switch version is thoroughly lovely, and comes highly recommended.
It’s about time that Deathsmiles I・II had made a comeback. These titles have had one of the highest reputations in the bullet hell genre but their marketing wasn’t really up to par at the time. It’s also a great title to make your entry into this specific genre. Once beating the AI enemies become the norm, you’ll have endless enjoyment in getting the highest score possible as well as comparing your skills with other players around the world. Even if you think you’re not that into bullet hell style of gaming, the amount of consideration that this game pours over the players is something that you’d feel appreciated.
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