Xbox360 Back Track Part 1: Deathsmiles for the 360

I recently got my first Xbox360. Now, I can review Xbox360 games! I decided since this is a very special occasion, I would make this a new section of reviews called the 360 backtrack! This is where I will review new and old 360 games that I might have missed. Let’s start off this new section with a recent fan favorite game that has gotten pretty popular even though it’s a bullet hell shoot ‘em up. This little title is called Deathsmiles. In the long line of recent bullet hell shooters that have made it onto the 360, Deathsmiles isn’t the hardest of the shooters since there are much MUCH harder bullet hell games out there. Deathsmiles is a very entertaining game that is definitely worth picking up if you’re running out of exclusive games on the 360. Let’s get into the world of shooters and check out Deathsmiles. 

The story is very, how you say…, translucent since there is no story, or not enough story in this game. From what I can get, you play as 4 maid-like girls who are trapped in a demon infested world, and are kind of like the guardians of the place. There is also a guy opening a new portal to some other world believing it to be the real human world. So yeah, it doesn’t make sense, but then again, this is a shoot ‘em up and you shouldn’t really care about the story in this kind of game.
The gameplay, like I have mentioned a hundred times, is a bullet hell arcade-style shooter. The unique thing is that it’s a side-view bullet hell game. Usually, a bullet hell game is from a top down perspective. Anyway, your basic goal in each level of this game is to get to the end by shooting bullets and whatever the heck the game throws at you. You also get these little animals that are different for each girl. The thing I especially like about this shooter is that you can shoot in front and shoot behind you. In other shooters you either just shoot forward or have the awkward ability to shoot backwards, like in R-Type, Eco-fighters, and Last Resort. This makes playing a game series that is already difficult as heck a little easier to enjoy, since you won’t get blindsided by enemies who attack from behind. There is also a counter on the bottom left side of the screen that adds up how many enemies you kill and when it reaches a thousand enemies, you can unleash a sort of invincibility mode where other bullets can harm you, but nothing else like running into enemies. I could never really understand how it worked, so sorry if I get it wrong. There is also a 2-player option, which is nice, but I feel like it would get in the way a little since so much stuff flies across the screen. There are other modes on the 360 version of the game, like a perfect arcade version and a 360 version where you can play as another character that you fight in the original arcade version. The other modes just make small changes that don’t really add anything major so I won’t go into them.
The art style and graphical presentation is quite nice with a very arcade-look of a Vanillaware game. The animations are nice and the enemies look great. The boss fights are what take the cake for me since you fight some pretty weird bosses, from a giant head that is buried in the ground, to a giant cow. Weird. The music is also pretty catchy, but since a lot of arcade game songs don’t really get stuck in my head, I didn’t find it memorable. Composer, Manabu Namiki, who has worked on games like Bloody Roar, Mushihime-sama, Opoona, and the Konami Rebirth games does make the music very lively and hectic during the levels and boss fights. It’s also a very colorful game with a great use of colors, as opposed to games like Bulletstorm where it’s just brown and gray.
However, there are some serious problems with this release. It isn’t ugly or glitchy, but I bet some people have found some glitches. My problem is the content with the game. There isn’t much to it. Don’t get me wrong. The game is as fun as it could be, but it wouldn’t have hurt to add some more modes in the game, like Gekioh Shooting King and its Japanese version, Shienryu. They added more modes that made the shooter more fun, but in Deathsmiles, there is very little to make you come back to it. The game is short, even though it’s nice that they give you that Ironclad feel where you can go through the levels how you want to and even skip some levels overall. It just seems like the 40 dollar price tag alone isn’t worth it, and that’s why they released a limited edition of the game with all the other stuff for two bucks more
Even though this game has some glaring flaws that bug the heck out of me, I would be lying if I said I didn’t like it. The action is fast-paced, the graphics are beautiful, and it’s a fun little arcade game for a console that is slowly losing if not already lost a lot of original games for its system due to the rise of multi-platform releases. I would recommend finding the limited edition since I’ve seen it around and its only about 50 dollars for the soundtrack and some other stuff, but if you can find it for cheaper, I would recommend it. Thanks for reading and see you next week for more 360 reviews and other reviews.
This game gets a 7 out of 10