Chips, dips, chains, whips.

Originally marketed in Japan with bottles of tea labeled as “Windia’s Delicious Urine” — the ostensible excreta of Deathsmiles’ central protagonist — one has to wonder what exactly Cave’s aspirations were for this entry in their shoot-em-up canon.

A 2009 bullet hell shoot-em-up (or ‘shmup’), Deathsmiles is an eccentric pastiche of broomstick riding heroines battling the forces of darkness through fiery caverns and over Ye Olde English shipyards. Its roster of ‘Lolis’ (or ‘Lolitas’, for those less au fait with anime lexicon) are a group of female witches aged 11 to 17 that occupy Gilverado, a Halloween-themed world filled with dragons, wizards and giant, satanically possessed cows. Each character’s weapon and orbiting spirit familiar offer different advantages for survival and scoring, and shot types can be alternated between a faster (but weaker) laser, and a slower, more powerful cannon. Holding both buttons engages your familiar’s homing properties, allowing them to target anything within a specific range.

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