|June 15, 2021
|Shoot ’em up
|Official Website (eShop Page)
Recently, Nintendo Switch owners received a surprise release of Mushihimesama on the Nintendo Switch! This kind of caught a few fans off guard, however, this is definitely a shoot ’em up that you won’t want to miss.
Muishihimesama takes place in a world where deserted land is inhabited by arthropods known as Koujuu. Upon death, these creatures leave behind all sorts of vegetation to grow, leading to these formerly deserted lands becoming lush environments brimming with life. However, their life force known as the miasma has been proven to be poisonous to humans and, as a result, many suffered. Some settlements, however, are able to be spared such a bleak fate by sacrificing a 15 year old girl every 200 years. The daughter of the royal family of one of the surviving settlements, Reco, is next in line to be sacrificed as she received a golden bracelet from a mysterious boy she met in Shinju Forest. When Reco turns 15, the miasma starts to reach her village and so, to save her people, she goes out on an adventure to find the Koujiin, or the God of the Koujuu, in order to save her people.
Each level features wave after wave of enemies firing all sorts of crazy bullets at you, and you have to do everything in your power to avoid their bullets while also dishing out some damage as well. One of the things that sets Mushihimesama apart from its peers is the setting. There’s a huge emphasis on showing the beauty of nature to the player, as many of the stages take place in these gorgeous forests, gardens, or lakes. Instead of a bunch of planes, most of the enemies you will encounter in Mushihimesama are giant bugs that fly in very quickly, but most are quickly defeated by Reco’s firepower and explode into a giant pile of bright and shiny gems for you to collect to add to your score. In addition to dropping gems, defeating some of the bigger enemies will also cause their bullets to disappear from the screen, which can be a huge help considering how crowded and overwhelming the levels can get with the amount of stuff on screen. That said, Mushihimesama is the kind of game that is easy to fall into somewhat of a trance-like state as you become more accustomed to the flow of the gameplay. Eventually, that scary bullet pattern becomes less scary and you can even impress yourself with how well you managed to dodge some of the bullets. This is all thanks to some excellent level design and pacing that’s complemented by a very upbeat and relaxing OST.
While you can see Mushihimesama‘s five stages in less than a half-hour, there is quite a bit of replay value and variety to keep you coming back. There is an additional Maniac Mode, which features a whole new scoring system with an emphasis on chaining enemies, and a really difficult Ultra Mode where the enemies are extra aggressive and have the potential to fill the screen with even more bullets than ever along with an additional ultra-hard final boss. It’s such a difficult mode that the game warns you about it should you select the mode. It should be noted, however, that Mushihimesama does not limit you in regards to credits or continues, so there is nothing stopping you from credit-feeding till the end of the game. Before starting any of the game modes, you will be asked to pick one of three shot types for Reco, which will significantly alter her firepower and bullet patterns for the entire play-through. It’s worth trying all three out and finding which one you like most before settling on one to use and master.
If that wasn’t enough, there are multiple versions of Mushihimesama for you to experience including Arrange, 1.5, and Novice Mode designed for newcomers featuring simplified bullet patterns and the ability to auto-bomb. Each “version” of the game offers some differences such as remixed soundtracks and different scoring systems. Any good shoot ’em up release would have a whole list of options for you to play with to further customize the experience, and Mushihimesama delivers on that front as well. You can change the aspect ratio, screen orientation and size, display the inputs and high scores, and have the ability to enable additional game windows for a “picture in picture” effect. For some weird reason, the online leaderboards seem to be disabled with a message saying, “Preparing for ranking! Please wait until it is held.” I’m going to go ahead and assume the leaderboards are not available yet, and hopefully this is something that will be addressed in the future. Some of you might think $20 is a bit too much for a shoot ’em up, but for those of you that like the genre, there isn’t much to complain about with this package aside from the issue with the leaderboards. I enjoyed playing Mushihimesama on Steam and on Switch. Personally speaking, I’m much more of a fan of its sequel Mushihimesama Futari, since that game felt a bit more balanced and approachable in terms of the difficulty, but this first entry will get the job done until the day comes when Futari, hopefully, makes its way to modern platforms. What is here is an excellent arcade shoot ’em up with plenty of options to keep fans of the genre happy.
Review copy provided by the publisher.