Game Review: Mushihimesama (Nintendo Switch)

Classic arcade shoot-em-up Mushihimesama finds a new home on the Nintendo Switch, but it does it successfully bring that arcade experience to Nintendo’s hybrid console? Let’s take a look and find out.

Title:Mushihimesama
Publisher:Live wire
Developer:CAVE Interactive Co., Ltd
Platform:Nintendo Switch
Resolution:1920 x 1080
Audio:Japanese
Subtitles:English (White)
Local Players:1
Online Players:N/A
Install:YES (1GB)

Our View:

Developed by CAVE Interactive, and published by Live Wire onto the Nintendo Switch, Mushihimesama brings the classic arcade shoot-em-up to a modern day console and expands upon it with the inclusion of previously released revisions, online leader board functionality and training systems that will appease both hardcore fans and newcomers alike.

Originally released in Japanese arcades in 2004, with later revisions being released in 2011, Mushihimesama has received many ports with some making their way to the PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Windows PC and iOS devices. Sadly while Mushihimesama has received multiple releases in Japanese regions its still a relatively unknown franchise outside of the core shump fandom elsewhere, but thankfully with the global digital release of Mushihimesama fans around the world will be able to enjoy its chaotic bullet-hell madness. Well… that’s pretty much what it is after all.

Mushihimesama takes place in a rather dystopian future whereby large areas are deserted, but infested, with lush forests and creatures known as Koujuu. These Koujuu, which could be seen as giant insects, thrive on the land they live within and if they die they become part of the vegetation surrounding them. The story of course, which never really seems to be a focal point of shumps, is that every 200 years a young girl is sacrificed in order to keep their village safe from the Koujuu. This generations sacrifice however has opted to fight back, and so by using her unique attributes she flies off into the distance to speak to the Koujuu God and bring peace back to her village.

It’s a simple, but rather elaborate, storyline and its one that sees the player take control of the Princess and fight through multiple stages in order to reach the Koujuu God. Once the God has been defeated the game is considered over and peace restores to the land. A simple enough story, but far from one that you’ll manage to see its end with how intense the gameplay within Mushihimesama can be. Thankfully as this is a home console port it means we have unlimited (or limited depending on your play style) usage of lives, but its still a difficult trek for the average player.

Storyline and difficulties aside Mushihimesama on the Nintendo Switch features four distinctive versions of the game, with these being Novice, Normal, Arrange and ver1.5, and each one offers Arcade, Score Attack, Training and Online Leaderboards. While four different versions of the game are offered they are fundamentally the same with only a few changes amongst them. Novice for instance is the ‘simplified’ version of the Normal game, whereby players have stronger attacks and less enemies on screen. Arrange and Ver1.5 are where the most drastic changes come into effect, but are still relatively small in the grand scheme of things.

Arrange allows players to start the game with increased firepower and a selection of bombs, however no continues are awarded. Additionally if the player is hit by an attack (and is holding a bomb) the bomb will be released automatically as opposed to dying. The music in Arrange, and enemy patterns, also looks to be slightly different to that of the Novice and Normal versions of the game. Ver1.5 meanwhile is an updated version of the Normal game with remixed visuals, music and increased firepower. A secret gameplay mode hidden in the Normal version is also available at the start of the game in Ver1.5. Whichever game version you decide to play the background will change to match the style of the game. It’s a nice little touch to let you know that you are playing a slightly different version of the game itself and these can also be adjusted in the options menu.

That aside whichever version of the game you play the core rules of combat are the same – so unless you are bullet hell fanatic the experience might become a little repetitive. For instance Arcade will look to recreate the original arcade experience on home console, while Score Attack challenges you to obtain the highest score. Training meanwhile allows you to pick a stage and play through it with your chosen rules and is a very useful tool in helping newcomers overcome difficult stages. The Leaderboard meanwhile will update scores saved to the online leader boards so that you can compete with other players, and it’s worth remembering that each game has its own leader board.

In the case of this Nintendo Switch release of Mushihimesama each version of the game is treated as an individual product that can be accessed from the main menu, as such scores obtained in one version of the game will not appear in the other. The same can also be said for each games settings (or options), as each game has their own options menu whereby the difficulty, number of bombs and extra life bonuses can be tailored towards your need. Each changes made in one version of the game will not be automatically altered in another version, additionally some options may not be accessible if it does not fall within the rules of that particular game.

Gameplay wise players control their character in a vertical shooting pattern, with the player controlled character spawning at the bottom of the screen with free movement around the play field and enemies spawning from the top of the screen. It’s one of two traditional shoot-em-up playstyles and as such is best played with the Nintendo Switch in portrait mode for that authentic arcade experience (where possible).

By controlling the character players will tap the shoot button (or hold for a continuous fire) to destroy enemies on screen while another button deploys bombs that can be used to clear out all enemies on screen. Players can also choose between different shoot-styles before starting a game. Naturally by attacking enemies more points, and eventually continues, will be awarded and some enemies will drop power-ups and bombs to boost your attack power. It’s your traditional shump style of gameplay, so there is nothing different or ground-breaking when compared to other titles in the genre.

Mushihimesama on the Nintendo Switch can be seen as the definitive edition of the game, as it combines all of the previous variations of them and puts them into a single package, but more than that it enhances them with the addition online leader boards and training modes that for a complete package. Fans of shoot-em-ups will enjoy what Mushihimesama has to offer, while newcomers can be given the opportunity to learn what it takes to survive bullet hell, but the gameplay for newcomers may be short lived with its repetitive nature and challenging gameplay.

Score: review-stars-3

Mushihimesama is now available for the Nintendo Switch (via the Nintendo eShop) worldwide.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has produced content for ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

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