Deathsmiles on the iPhone is, for the most part, the same game as we saw released earlier this year on Xbox 360. Building on the earlier successes of bringing Espgaluda II and DoDonPachi Resurrection to iDevices - apart from anything older than an iPhone 3GS, mind - Cave has once again produced an excellent iOS port with a low price point that will likely suit many players more than the console version.
The new iPhone mode, however, adds another gaggle of mechanics. New character Princess Tiara (there's a new storyline running throughout the iPhone mode, but it's even more indecipherable than before) now collects gold and can spend it in on items. There's a slightly doll-like quality to it, with you dressing up the pre-teen princess with dresses, shoes, and the like. Unlike a normal pair of shoes, the ones here let you boost your damage dealing potential for when you slay thousands upon thousands of rampaging demons in the game's eight-level campaign.
Deathsmiles, which bucks Cave's usual trends by scrolling horizontally instead of vertically, swaps the arcade and console's left and right fire buttons on iOS with automatic fire and a single button to change direction. The strong-but-slow laser attack can be toggled on and off with another on-screen button, and while my massive chubby fingers obfuscate much of the iPhone screen the game remains surprisingly tactile and responsive.
There's also the original Arcade mode (though the additional Mega Black Label DLC, included in the 360 version, is nowhere to be seen) which lets you pick your character and difficulty level. Like with earlier Cave ports, the iPhone mode has also been tweaked to be slightly more accessible (read: easier) than the original incarnation.
Scoring is not changed between the two versions, and high scores are generated by collecting items from fallen foes and unleashing a powered-up mode where you accrue a cumulative set of bonus points. Much like the console version, however, this system is poorly explained and will require you to make use of gaming forums if you're really looking to comprehend it properly.
Deathsmiles is Cave's most successful iOS port yet, however, and while hardened bullet hell veterans will find the difficulty level far too low for their personal liking, this is the perfect game to sit around on an iDevice for occasional high-score runs.
VideoGamer.com Score8 Score out of 10
- Perfect for iDevices
- Excellent port
- More accessible than other shooters
- Scoring system poorly explained