REVIEW: Mushihimesama

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

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Mushihimesama | Cover Art
Title Mushihimesama
Developer CAVE
Publisher Degica
Release Date Nov 12, 2015
Genre Shmup/Bullet Hell
Platform Steam
Age Rating N/A
Official Website
Mushihimesama | Giant Bug

Not even the Orkin Man can exterminate a bug this big.

Cave has finally made its shmup debut on Steam, and publisher Degica chose quite a devil of a game to make its grand entrance, the classic shmup Mushihimesama. I’d read about just how difficult this shmup was before playing, and speaking from experience, its reputation of being one of the most brutal, punishing bullet hell games out there is well earned. Unlike most shmups you’d find, this one is a bit different, opting for a fantasy setting rather than your typical sci-fi space or military sortie. Mushihimesama (“Bug Princess”)┬árefers to the main character Reco, who is a sort of bug whisperer — she rides on her golden beetle to save her village from a terrible miasma that’s dangerous to humans produced by giant insects. And that’s where you, the player, comes in, spraying more bullets against giant bugs than a viewing of Starship Troopers.

Mushihimesama is over 11 years old by now, but Degica has done a pretty good job of porting it to Steam. You have your original and arrange modes, as well as a novice and training mode you can use to build up your skills. The score attack mode lets your compete with your friends to see who can get the highest score, and there are also leaderboards so you can further boast about your bug destroying ability. There’s also a variety of overlay options you can use to customize the experience, rotate the screen, and play in different aspect ratios (the lack of an actual resolution option is a minor annoyance, however). Finally, it supports controller input right from the get go, which is nice.

Mushihimesama | Bullet Hell

When I say this is a Bullet Hell, I mean it. Mushihimesama has no mercy.

As for the actual game, Mushihimesama plays like a top-down vertical shooter where the enemies come pouring in from above. Bugs great and small litter the screen with lots of purple projectiles, and the action starts out slow but gets pretty hectic before too long. On Maniac and higher difficulties, even early bosses are very threatening, as bullets bloom and burst into beautiful, almost floral like patterns. If you’re too awestruck to pay attention to where Reco is, you’re going to die. In fact, you’re probably going to die anyway, and a lot. Even if you were to play in the easiest difficulty, Mushihimesama does not take it easy on you. You can get a brief respite by using a ‘shield’ that makes all the bullets disappear from the screen and drops a bomb on your enemy, but it’ll only take them a moment or two to fire another barrage at you from which there is only a slim chance at escape. Thankfully, you do have infinite continues, but this of course comes at the price of resetting your score to zero. You’d best start practicing if you want to keep those digits!

Mushihimesama looks pretty good, considering how old it is. The environmental and creature graphics hold up well, boss insects look truly menacing, and it’s bright and colorful. There is some noticeable slowdown when the action gets too intense, (and unfortunately that does not help one bit when you’re frantically trying to dodge shots) but otherwise it’s a beautiful sight. The music by┬áManabu Namiki and Masaharu Iwata is lovely. They put together an energetic, yet sometimes soothing synth-packed soundtrack that’s oddly comforting when you’re doing your best not to throw your controller in rage at the sheer brutality of it all.

Mushihimesama | Firepower

Think you have enough firepower to take down some giant bugs?

At its price of $19.99, Mushihimesama is a solid buy on Steam for those looking for the very best in the bullet hell/shmup genre. I’d say it should be the set standard for publishers looking to port old shmup arcade releases to the platform. If you don’t mind the difficulty, you’ll be playing through those 15-20 minute sessions over and over until you’re not dying so much.

Review Score
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

Review copy provided by the publisher

About Joe Sigadel

Joe is the reporting manager for oprainfall, he is also a broadcaster on Twitch and loves showing off many of the games we report about on his channel. He has also been known to defended Senran Kagura from those who only want to accept it at face value.




  • Arnval

    Very fair review. There are some issues though, still not being able to map the start button on non-xbox controllers and some still have issues when running it full screen on multi display set-ups as of the time I make this comment. Still a very good game and highly recommended.

  • Haruto Miura

    This game, at least on Maniac mode, is actually one of the easier bullet hell games, for seasoned players. I’ve known people who have beat/cleared/1CC the game on first go, and that means getting to the end without continuing.
    A new player, or one with less experience will very likely become overwhelmed; but that’s one of the joys of this genre, learning and becoming more skillful. Such a shame that these games carry the myth of being impossible unless you memorise them, and the misunderstanding that they are short and pointless, because of infinite continues.

    In the Arcade scene in Japan, where this game was originally made for, it’s accepted as common knowledge that continues are more a way to practise, than anything else. It’s also expected people will study the game, and work out the scoring system, and the best way of using said system to get the highest score they can.
    These games are supposed to be played with the goal of getting to the end without having to use a continue. Only then have you cleared it.
    That would be missing the point however, as these type of games’ gameplay, is actually based around the scoring system. This is often missed, because their score systems can often be complex, and the game developers tend to leave it to the players to work out the scoring system rather than explaining it.
    It’s a real shame, because I feel if the continues were better explained or left to a training mode, and the score systems were better explained, newcomers to the genre might stick around more; and this genre really needs new people, because it’s far too niche.

    I think it needs to get out more, that whereas some people like a gentle stroll, others prefer to climb a mountain. These type of games, are the latter, the extreme sport of the genre.

    The scoring system on this game, for Maniac mode and Ultra mode, is one based around killing enemies in sequence, so as to sustain your chain.
    There’s also the main gimmick, which is to tap the shot button on large mid-boss enemies (not the end bosses), which builds up your option counters, and then tapping the rapid shot button to add their counters to your main counter.
    It’s very fun once you get the hang of it, somewhat like a music game, in that you have to find the best tapping rhythm for the best counter increase.