Developer: CAVE
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Mushihimesama Bug Panic, much like CAVE’s previous titles Dodonpachi Resurrection and Espgaluda II, is not a title that I have any hope of being able to pronounce correctly. Also much like CAVE’s previous titles, Mushihimesama Bug Panic is fantastically frantic fun.

It’s a twin-stick shooter with more than a healthy dose of bullet hell again. The difference lies in the hint of strategy and tactical thinking that’s required in order to succeed. Predictably the left hand virtual d-pad controls movements, while the right hand stick controls shooting. It’s the way in which the shooting mechanics work that makes for a more careful shooter.

Flicking your finger across the right hand pad makes your character hurl a single seed in the appropriate direction. Holding down your finger however provides a crosshair which can then lock onto enemies. You can lock onto up to three enemies at once. Holding your finger down for longer charges up the attack, unleashing a ‘Cluster’ attack which causes a large explosion taking out all the enemies around it. This can then be used to hit a row of enemies in one go thus gaining a huge combo score. Chain reactions are very possible through this making for some very satisfyin attacks.

This concept makes for a much more involved combat system than other twin-stick shooters. You can’t just spray and pray like usual. Instead you have to take into account the downtime that occurs between attacks and ensure that you can evade retaliation in time. There’s no checkpoints in the levels and you only have so many lives at your disposal making for a fraught experience. While the first world eases you in relatively gently, later worlds are intense to say the least with the screen regularly flooded with enemies and impressive boss battles aplenty.

Mushihimesama Bug Panic is an immensely enjoyable twin-stick shooter. Offering a nice twist on the usual bullet hell formula. Besides the main adventure mode, there’s also a time attack mode and an endless mode to ensure you’ve well and truly got your money’s worth. It’s fast, it’s frantic, it’s gorgeous to look at and it’s unmissable for shooter fans.

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