Top Critic Average
If you love "shmup" shooters, or the "bullet hell" variety of game, then Deathsmiles should be right up your alley. What it lacks in stages and offering of modes, it makes up for with intense, wildly satisfying shooting action. Plus, the visuals look great and the soundtrack is one-of-a-kind. If you're a fan of the genre, dig in. And if you're new, this is a great place to start. I mean, where else will you find a damn demonic cow?!
Deathsmiles manages to hit the perfect difficulty level so that both newcomers and old hats at the genre will find the challenge level they desire. The bullet patterns, crazy bosses, and badass protagonists all combine to create a fun experience, even if a run of the campaign can be completed in half an hour.
The only downside is that despite the numerous modes and features, it still features the same number of stages, enemies, and length; if you aren't the type who like to replay arcade-length shooters over and over for the best possible score, then Deathsmiles may not be for you.
Deathsmiles on PC is an odd port of a classic shooter, and even though it may not measure up to some of its Cave-bred ilk, it's still worth playing if you haven't experienced it yet.
Deathsmiles isn't bad by any means, but it also isn't good, either. The aesthetic itself has plenty of charm and sets itself up to be a memorable experience, but the core gameplay just isn't complex enough to warrant long play sessions. It's a fun experience in very small bursts and the bosses are certainly engaging, but the bullet-hell doesn't manage to expand or change the genre in a meaningful way. It's a cookie cutter shoot 'em up that leaves a lot to be desired and doesn't offer anything in return.