The bugs are back. But is it more badass, or more of the same?
It only seemed like just the other day I was blasting through a bullet hell of bugs. Yet here we are again, straddling our beetles and taking to the bug infested skies.
CAVE seem to be unstoppable in porting their back catalogue, and have pretty much carved out their own specialist market on the AppStore, that other shooters cannot compete with.
There are now six bullet shooters from CAVE available for iOS. Each offers up a great shooter experience, and I’ve loved everyone of them. But does Bug Princess 2 offer up anything new? Unfortunately no.
Bug Princess 2 continues the story of Princess Reco and her faithful companion bug Kiniro. It features the usual three modes: Original, Maniac mode and Ultra mode – each offers up a varied intensity of bullet hell. Four levels of difficulty – Novice, Normal, Hard and Hell – gives you more ways to tailor the game to suit your skill level.
New to the series is a second playable character called Palm and his dinosaur companion. The biggest difference between him and Reko is that he doesn’t have drones. However, what he lacks in wingmen, he makes up for with awesome fire power. Palm’s secondary laser shot is pretty damn cool. With only five stages to play though – which on novice mode you can breeze through in one hour – it’s good to have this extra character to add variety and replay-ability.
Weapons differ slightly from the previous game, which offered up three shot styles. Now there are only two: Normal and Abnormal. Each offers up a slightly different attack pattern, with abnormal being more powerful but with less spread.
As before, Bug Princess 2 features beautiful sprite-based art work. Environments are rich and detailed, particularly the enemy types, which are vast and varied. And it’s not just bugs this time, there’s giant lizards too, and underwater stages featuring crustaceans and other aquatic creatures. The mid and end-of-level bosses are huge, and change their attack patterns and appearance as you whittle them down.
Bear in mind though, that this art was created with a much lower resolution in mind, so it doesn’t exactly look crisp and state of the art on the iPhone 4 and iPad (particularly the new iPad). But that’s to be expected from a port, short of CAVE redrawing all the art from scratch.
The game is universal, allowing you to play it on all iOS devices (performance permitting). On iPhone it’s best to play the game full screen, to make the most of the graphics. However, on iPad, things can look a pixelated mess, so setting the view to small will give you the best visual experience. It also gives you more space at the bottom of the iPad screen, which you can use as a trackpad to control your character, without covering the screen with your finger.
Once again Bug Princess 2 is a strong performance from CAVE in the bullet hell genre, but it is one that is becoming a bit samey – particularly for those of you that own all of CAVE’s back catalogue. I’d love to see a brand new, original creation from these guys, built from the ground up for iOS. Besides, how many more ports can they really do?
In answering my opening question, then yes, Bug Princess 2 is more badass. But it is also very much more of the same. If you can’t get enough of bullet hell then this will no doubt quench your thirst. But if you are looking for something new, then you may want to look elsewhere.
Bug Princess 2 is out now as a universal app for $4.99. Get it on the