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Bug Princess Review

By , on December 15, 2011


Bug Princess
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • Unlockable Maniac and Ultra modes (from the Arcade version); includes a chain system for further complexity.
  • CAVE's patented visual extravagance in full bloom.
  • Rock solid controls; almost able to dodge bullets by simply thinking about it.

CONS

  • Vanilla shooter experience for a developer like CAVE.
  • No exclusive mode; breaks a habit set by CAVE's past releases.

VERDICT

Every new release from CAVE is a chance for shoot'em-up fans to flex their skills and sink their teeth in to something juicy - unfortunately Bug Princess is a little leaner than its predecessors, though still head and shoulders above most of what the App Store has to offer.


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Each release from CAVE on the iOS platform has been like a little treat, at least for those cashed up enough to own them thanks to their generally heavy hardware requirements and initial cost. This aside, their shoot'em-ups have been almost second to none on the App Store thanks to their slick visuals, frustrating (yet fair) difficulty, and incredibly varied mechanics. Their latest release, Bug Princess, takes us back in to the world of Mushihimesama, bringing back to life the game that inspired their incredible adventure version of the series.

First impressions are important and Bug Princess manages to slip up straight away by feeling utterly vanilla in its gameplay. After choosing between one of three firing modes and a difficulty level, you're thrown in to a basic vertical shooter where you can fire bombs, collect power-ups and otherwise cause mayhem. It isn't until level three that things really start to kick off and by then you're almost maxed-out, leaving no room for more exciting action.

Thankfully all is not doom and gloom as the usual insane attention to detail in the visuals means each world you explore is redolent with various enemies, perfectly tweaked and positioned to create deadly bullet patterns ready to catch you out. If you happen to be squeamish around bugs this may either be very cathartic, or a veritable nightmare to watch, but in either case it's all in glorious seamless detail.

Furthermore, persistence brings its own reward as you unlock Maniac (and eventually Ultra) mode, adding some much needed complexity to the game mechanics by rewarding players with point bonuses for chaining together kills without stopping. The fact that you have to deal with even more deadly bullet patterns only makes it more exciting.

It's hard to shake the feeling that Bug Princess was a rather quickly thrown together effort, something further supported by the lack of an iOS exclusive mode (a regular feature of their titles up until this release). For fans of shooters this is still a fantastic portable experience, but it's also not up to par with CAVE's other titles on the App Store.

Screenshots

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