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While not for everyone, it’s my current favorite modern SHMUP. As a bonus, the recent U.S. release has made it far easier (and cheaper) for you to check out.
Deathsmiles is the kind of game you rarely see for the Xbox 360, and it feels like a breath of fresh air.
An excellent and suitably manic 'bullet hell' shoot-em-up from Cave, Deathsmiles allows to to choose from a selection of inappropriately attired young witches, before flying through multiple stages of Halloween themed environments, blasting waves of monsters while avoiding a bazillion projectiles.
Games like Deathsmiles make it well worth the wait because the glut of play modes, crazy gameplay, and over-the-top boss battles draw you into a twitch-laden vortex from which it's brutally hard to escape. And you won't want to escape.
While hitting the maximum magic level of 1000 and unleashing all manner of hell, any moment my Xbox was going to pop at any moment, smoke bellowing out the back. It simply becomes too much. Then again, this is part of why Deathsmiles works. It’s no-hold barred old-school shmup action. If stripped of its additional content, Deathsmiles could have been an XBLA title. Instead Rising Star Games have created a niche product – a well presented old-school shmup with plenty of additional material to bring you back.