PC - Rating: 8/10

Lately I have become obsessed with bullet-hell shmups like this. I’d see these images of these impossible patterns of projectiles and wonder how anyone could maneuver a ship around them for more than a few seconds. Most of my experience with them has been through Mame arcade emulation with a special interest in ones with detailed pixel art. No matter the title, I could always manage to get to the end of the maybe the first level and would then be absolutely destroyed after that.

Mushihimesama is a classic Cave arcade shmup, but here, in the Steam PC port of the game, there are several modes of play including a forgiving novice mode. This reduced difficulty level is still painfully hard on my Gen-X reflexes but I managed, over the course of many hours of play, to just about master the entire game through to the end.

This is where the appeal of these games ultimately lies: the gradual mastery of the mechanics, levels and patterns of bullets. It’s not easy but it always feels like you’re getting a little bit farther after every punishing defeat, Plus, the skills I have lean on the baby mode have helped me get a little further on the more aggressive difficulties. I will never master the hardest levels but it’s within the realm of possibility.

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