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Cave

Cave photo
Cave

Ubisoft's sending a 'lucky' contest winner to spend the night in a cave


Cave Story
Jan 18
// Brett Makedonski
Good things don't happen in caves. A best-case scenario has some bats buzzing through your hair. A worst-case scenario? Ummm, bears or dragons or satanic cults. OR, satanic bears riding dragons. Yeah, fuck that. Ubisoft wants...
Cave shooters photo
Cave shooters

Deathsmiles is the next Cave game coming to PC


Spring 2016
Dec 26
// Kyle MacGregor
Deathsmiles is gearing up for a Steam release next spring, publisher Degica has announced. One of just a few horizontally-scrolling shooters in Cave's library, Deathsmiles initially launched in Japanese arcades back in 2007 b...
Cave photo
Cave

Cave's newest shooter is out now on iOS


In the US, too!
Dec 14
// Chris Carter
DoDonPachi IchimeBanchou lives! As Cave's latest experiment, this brand new game is a free-to-play shooter for iOS, and it's actually live right now internationally, including in the US. It's a bit hard to find though as the ...
Cave photo
Cave

Cave is working on a free-to-play shooter


For mobile devices
Dec 11
// Chris Carter
Try to say DoDonPachi IchimeBanchou three times fast. One of my favorite things about visiting Japan this year was the arcades, as I've said in the past. I was pretty much in heaven in the shmup sections, with tons of cl...

Review: Mushihimesama

Nov 02 // Chris Carter
Mushihimesama (Arcade, PC [reviewed], PS3, iOS, Xbox 360)Developer: CavePublisher: Degica (PC)MSRP: $19.99Released: October 12, 2004 (Arcade), December 15, 2011 (iOS), November 5, 2015 (PC) Mushihimesama is translated to "Bug Princess" in English, which is an apt name as an insectoid theme permeates the shooter. You may play the role of a human girl, but you'll ride on a bug, blast other bugs, and take on gigantic, intimidating bug bosses. This unconventional theme (shmups usually feature traditional spaceships) helps set Mushihimesama apart from the pack immediately. Don't expect anything in the way of a narrative, though -- the story is once again rather throwaway in favor of focusing on the action (a princess races to find a cure for her village). Bug Princess was crafted after cave had nearly 10 years of development experience under its belt, and the enemy and bullet designs really reflect that. You may have seen this infamous video from the game's Xbox 360 sequel (Mushihimesama Futari). While players won't be taking on that exact same encounter, the game's harder difficulties can get similarly insane. For those of you who opt for lower settings however, the game plays out more like a bullet purgatory, with deliberate patterns that are manageable and direct across all five stages. Because ultimately, great shmups aren't just action games, they have elements of puzzle titles peppered in as well. While blowing things up and earning a high score is paramount, the way that Cave and its competitors design enemy patterns indicates a huge attention to detail, as they're not just strewn about for good measure, and always have a counter to them with specific degrees of movement. This is especially true for Mushihimesama, and I enjoyed relearning some patterns as well as giving my twitch skills a test with the PC release. Thankfully, this edition also features full two-player co-op (with drop-in support) if you want to bring another friend into the mix. [embed]318273:60921:0[/embed] As a port, Mushihimesama far exceeds the amount of effort that went into Playism's localization of Touhou 14. It's fully translated, there's options for 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios, full screen mode, screen rotation (for vertical monitors), fully customizable controls (for keyboards and controllers), and allowances for UI additions like arcade joysticks and buttons. Players can also tweak the difficulty before each session (original, maniac, and ultra), including the total ship count and the points required to earn an extra life. It's a limitation of the first game, but I wish there were more characters, and not just three variations of the same princess. The difficulty curve is perfect, as original is manageable even by casual fans, maniac significantly steps things up a bit in a way veterans will appreciate, and maniac, for once, earns the moniker. Almost immediately with the latter difficulty, you'll see regular enemies fill up the entire screen with giant bullet-curtain mazes, forcing players to use everything they've picked up from the genre to survive. Although it wasn't factored into this assessment, there's a V1.5 "Matsuri" DLC available for $4.99 at launch that essentially adds in a new arranged mode with a remixed soundtrack. It's a bit redundant to say as nearly every Cave shooter is a "must play" title, but Mushihimesama is required reading for shmup fans. Whether you're going at it solo or with a friend, on the highest difficulty setting or the lowest, Mushihimesama is incredibly easy to spend an afternoon with for years to come. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Mushihimesama photo
Bug Princess finally hits PC
I was lucky to have been introduced to Cave shooters at a young age. I had a friend who lived in Japan and had family there, so he'd just bring games back over and we'd play them. Most were ported from the arcades to the PS2,...

Mushihimesama photo
Mushihimesama

Cave's Bug Princess is currently free on iOS


Grab it before November 2
Oct 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Degica is releasing one of Cave's classic shooters Mushihimesama on Steam next week, but, in the meantime, the mobile version of the game (Bug Princess) is available for free on the App Store. It's a limited-time offer, thoug...
Bug Princess photo
Bug Princess

Cave's Mushihimesama launches on PC Nov. 5


<3
Oct 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Cave's Mushihimesama -- Bug Princess, if you'e nasty -- is coming to PC on November 5. Initially released in 2004, the vertical arcade shooter has since made appearances on PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and iOS platforms. This ver...
Cave photo
Cave

Cave is considering crowdfunding to bring more shooters to PS4


Would you support them?
Oct 01
// Chris Carter
Cave is working on getting more of its games on Steam, starting with Mushihimesama this winter for $19.99. But apparently it has bigger plans in store, and is brainstorming as to how it can achieve those goals. For ...
CAVE on Steam photo
CAVE on Steam

Mushihimesama will be the first CAVE shooter to hit Steam


Coming winter 2015
Sep 17
// Chris Carter
As you may have heard, Cave is getting into the Steam business. Today at TGS, the company shared some more concrete info on its move to the PC platform, starting with its debut game -- Mushihimesama. Titled "Bug Princess" in ...
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Cave shmups

Cave shmups are coming to Steam this year


Published by Degica
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
An ominous teaser site has popped up on the web, titled caveshmups.com. According to the landing, publisher Degica will assist Cave in bringing iconic shooters to the Steam marketplace, which will go down sometime in winter o...
Cave photo
Cave

Cave has a new shoot-'em-up hitting mobile in April


Probably only in Japan, sadly
Feb 23
// Kyle MacGregor
DoDonPachi studio Cave is back with a new mobile shooter, "Gothic Magic Maiden," which is set to arrive in Japan on April 16. Whether it will ever come west seems pretty doubtful, though. Cave shuttered its official Eng...
Cave World EN shuttering photo
Cave World EN shuttering

Shoot-'em-up studio Cave Interactive retreats to Japan


Western social media presence to cease operations next month
Jan 25
// Kyle MacGregor
Cave appears to be giving up on the Western world. The studio behind acclaimed shooters like Deathsmiles and Akai Katana made an important announcement this week, revealing its English-language blog and Twitter presence will ...
Don Paccin photo
Don Paccin

Cave bringing a little RPG to their next shooter


Those are some creepy looking lightbulbs
Nov 10
// Wesley Ruscher
Best known for manic console arcade bullet-hell shooters, like Deathsmiles and Akai Katana, Cave is mixing up the formula slightly with their next mobile shmup release, Don Paccin. The vertical shooter, slated for both ...
Cave Shooter Sale! photo
Cave Shooter Sale!

Bug Princess 2 Black Label, other Cave shmups on sale


Happy Birthday, Cave World!
Apr 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Cave is celebrating three years of selling its wares on mobile platforms by slashing prices on a number of its shooters until April 14. It's largely the same sale we see from them every few months, but there's one notabl...
Shmups photo
Shmups

Rejoice! A Cave shooter finally coming to PlayStation 3


Somewhere pigs are flying
Mar 20
// Kyle MacGregor
The unthinkable has happened. One of Cave's illustrious shoot-'em-ups has been announced for PlayStation 3. Despite some saying it would never happen, the latest edition of Weekly Famitsu reports 5pb will bring Ketsui: K...
Cave shooters photo
Cave shooters

Cave Shooting Collection heading to Xbox 360 this March


So many shmups!
Feb 25
// Kyle MacGregor
Cave's prohibitively expensive shooting collection has a release date. The ten disc bundle of danmaku goodness is slated to hit Japan on March 28 for the steep price of ¥ 24,800 (roughly $300), though it's still not ...
Ni no Kuni photo
Ni no Kuni

New releases: Ni no Kuni arrives at last


Plus The Cave, ShootMania Storm, and more
Jan 21
// Fraser Brown
It's Monday, and that can only mean one thing: it's the beginning of another week of new releases! And what a great week it is, most notably containing the release of the long awaited Ni no Kuni, Level-5 and Studio Ghibli's ...
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Cave World Winter Sale has begun on iOS and Android


Shut up and take my money!
Dec 21
// Kyle MacGregor
It's wintertime and you know what that means. Everywhere you turn someone's looking to bleed you dry. If you've yet to spend next month's rent on the Steam's holiday sale, why not throw a few bucks at Cave and pick up a new s...
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Do want: Cave Shooting Collection coming to Xbox 360


More bullet hell action than you can throw your controller at in frustration
Dec 01
// Kyle MacGregor
One of these days I'm going to go out and splurge on every shooter available for the Xbox 360. No, I'm not talking about Halo and Gears of War. Microsoft's console has been home to many of this generation's finest bullet hell...
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Make your iPhone happy with DoDonPachi Maximum


Beautiful bullet hell
Oct 22
// Dale North
Cave is arguably the best thing to happen to mobile gaming. There. Said it. I seriously suck at bullet hell-type games, but I still have to get everything that Cave sends your way for iOS devices. They're that good. The next ...
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PSA: Cave shooters on sale for iOS platforms this week


Aug 17
// Kyle MacGregor
[Update: Today, August 17th, is your last opportunity to take advantage of the Cave World Summer Sale.] Summer is here and just about everyone and their brother is having a seasonal sale to help part you from your hard earned...
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Cave's Bug Princess 2 Black Label flying to iOS platforms


Jun 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Oh would you look at that, Cave Interactive will be ferrying yet another shooter from the arcades to the pockets of shooter fans everywhere. After releasing Akai Katana on the Xbox 360 last month, the Japanese deve...

Review: Akai Katana

May 17 // Allistair Pinsof
[embed]227604:43696:0[/embed] Akai Katana (Xbox 360)Developer: CavePublisher: Rising Star GamesReleased: May 15, 2012MSRP: $39.99Unlike other gaming sites, I’m not going to spend three paragraphs explaining danmaku, CAVE’s history, or Akai Katana’s asinine plot which is confined to press releases and a brief intro/outro. So go visit Wikipedia and come back if you must. Okay, now let’s talk about what matters: mechanics and presentation.More than any CAVE game before it, playing Akai Katana for the first time versus playing it with full understanding of its systems are radically different experiences. On its surface, AK is deceptively simple and familiar to a CAVE fan. You dodge a ridiculous amount of colorful bullets, rapid fire for quick maneuverability and weapon spread, hold down fire for a more powerful direct attack, use bombs when necessary, and enter a spirit form that alters the battlefield. It’s very easy to reduce the game to being Deathsmiles meets Espgaluda, until you get neck deep in the scoring system. AK is a game all about scoring, but it’s so well designed that even players striving for a one credit playthrough will be using many of the same strategies for survival. There are two precious resources in AK’s arcade mode and Climax mode (a rebalanced, uprezzed 16:9 version for 360): energy and gold. Energy is acquired from defeating enemies or by hovering your option -- you know, the little gunner floating around your ship -- over an enemy. There are subtle ways to quickly and greatly acquire energy, which is vital because it fills your spirit meter. Gold, the key to getting a high score, is acquired by defeating enemies in your spirit form.As an aggressive shmup player, AK is a game designed for me. When you enter spirit form, you are invincible as long as you don’t fire your weapon. Enemy ammunition simply bounces around you until they pile into a sea of 200+ pink, blue, and red bullets. In order to clear the debris, you need to destroy nearby enemies that spawned them in spirit form. This creates an unbelievably tense feedback loop of racing into the heat of activity while being in the eye of a bullet whirlwind. It’s exhilarating. Text isn’t the ideal form to convey these concepts nor the nuances to mastering the game. I highly advise taking a look at Rising Star’s tutorial videos to get a better grasp of the game (also available in the game’s menus). Once you understand what’s going on under the hood of AK, you’ll enter spirit form without thinking about it and rack up high scores you didn’t think possible upon your first attempt. It’s an enormous amount of fun, but if you approach the game without an understanding of its systems you’ll be out in the cold. To make things even crazier, there is a drastic reinterpretation of the game within Slash mode. Along with some minor changes to balance, this mode overhauls your spirit form and greatly increases the amount of energy and gold available. Instead of bouncing bullets around your ship, you are always vulnerable in Slash. The trade-off is that you have new super powerful ways to attack. By defeating enemies with rapid fire shots, you gain steel orbs (exclusive to this mode). These fill up a meter around your ship. When you enter spirit form, you can send these orbs across the screen for a devastating attack. In addition to this, you can also gain giant katanas by defeating enemies in spirit form. When you cancel out of spirit form, these will go flying across the screen giving you giant gold medals you need to race to collect. It’s absolutely insane when you pull it off. This is the mode I spent the most time with because the constant tension-and-release of these abilities adds so much to the game.While AK is one of my favorite Cave games mechanically, it falters in its presentation. After suffering backlash from Deathsmiles II’s jump to polygonal graphics, Cave went back to their signature sprite work with this release (originally distributed to arcades in 2010). Even though there are similarities to the original Deathsmiles, AK has a rough, uninspired look to it. Beyond the colorful character art, everything in this game has a bland industrial look. Many Cave games covered the same ground, such as the similarly industrial world of Progear, but they did it with a sense of charm, style, and detail that AK lacks. That’s not to say the game is ugly. The real eye candy comes from the bullets and surreal swarm of gold pieces circling your ship. Perhaps the dullness of the backgrounds and models is out of necessity but it still makes the game feel a bit lacking in presentation. As for the music, it's a major step back for the developer. Feels like they unarchived some old mid-'90s butt rawk in place of something more interesting.Rising Star Games has done an admirable job in packaging the game. The menus are clean, visually pleasing, and easy to navigate -- something that can’t be said about most Cave home console releases. The game still has its rough spots, though. The tutorial videos are hidden (need to press “B” in menu), there is no boss training option (a serious blow for 1cc-seekers), and no way to quickly scrub through replay videos (the fast-forward option is pretty slow). The majority of people may look at Akai Katana from a distance, wondering if the slowdown is intentional (yes) or if a 1cc on Novice counts (no) or if this is a good starting point for a Cave newbie (maybe?) For fans of the genre and developer, Akai Katana is going to be one of the best times you’ll have with a game this year. For everyone else, you may just find yourself ascending to bullet hell heaven if you dedicate some time to learning the game’s obscure but absolutely thrilling mechanics.
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I spent $80 on a double-pack of Cave’s Muchi Muchi Pork and Pink Sweets when I visited Tokyo last fall. Some people might think I’m crazy for paying that much on what could easily be a $5 downloadable game. But i...

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Things aren't looking so good for Cave Interactive


May 17
// Kyle MacGregor
Sorry all you bored PlayStation Vita owners! While Cave Interactive announced its support for Sony's new portable at TGS last year that's not happening anymore. The latest issue of Famitsu magazine listed both titles amidst a...
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Cave shooter Akai Katana descending onto the Xbox 360


May 05
// Kyle MacGregor
Good news fellow STG enthusiasts! Cave's side-scrolling bullet-hell adventure Akai Katana is making its way to the Xbox 360, courtesy of Rising Star Games. Publishers of everything awesomely Japanese on the other side o...
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Cave teases strategy game set during Japanese civil war


Apr 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Cave has just revealed a teaser site for a browser-based strategy game, Gun Blood Days. The forthcoming project from the popular shmup publisher is set during a Japanese civil war in the near future. Also involved with t...
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Cave announces Bug Princess 2 for iOS


Mar 30
// Chris Carter
Cave just loves churning out iOS ports like ice cream. As a follow-up to the recent Bug Princess, the shoot 'em up expert is releasing the sequel very soon -- as in, next week on April 5th. If you recall, Bug Princess is the ...

Review: DoDonPachi Blissful Death

Feb 17 // Allistair Pinsof
[embed]221755:42685[/embed] DoDonPachi Blissful Death (iOS)Developer: CAVEPublisher: CAVEReleased: February 9, 2012MSRP: $4.99 Despite the awkward (but understandable) name change, this is DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou. Originally released to arcades and PlayStation 2 in the early '00s, it is thought of by CAVE fans as being one of the developer's best efforts. If nothing else, it certainly set the tone and pace for what was to come from the then still-young Japanese developer. So, just because you are taking a chronological step back from recent iOS CAVE releases, including DoDonPachi Resurrection and Bug Princess, don't fear that you will be shorthanded. For those who have never played a DoDonPachi game, you are in for a treat as well as a steep learning curve. That learning curve doesn't come from understanding the mechanics -- which are very basic -- but from adjusting to the series' signature speed and imaginative enemy bullet patterns. More than any other CAVE title, there is an art to the way the enemies attack in this game. You'll remember stages not from their backdrops but because of their memorable enemies and boss fights. Rarely are stages and enemy formations as thoughtfully composed in a shmup as in this one. You may be getting only half the resolution of the arcade experience, but the frame rate is solid, unlike the rather shoddy PS2 port. The frame rate comes with a serious price, however: the game will not run on iPad 1, iPod Touch 3rd gen, or iPhone 3GS. Also, and here's a bit of irony, several CAVE fans noticed that some intentional slowdown from the original isn't present in this port (even though the Japan-only Xbox 360 port had it). Like past CAVE iOS releases, you can change button placement, screen size, and other options. There is a five-stage campaign, a practice mode, and four difficulty levels -- the hardest (Hell) is pretty close to the arcade original. DoDonPachi's futuristic sci-fi setting isn't inspired in itself, but everything from the portraits of the cyber-dolls (uh?) that control your ship to the the elaborate bosses look fantastic. No one does sprite work like CAVE which makes it a shame you aren't getting the full resolution. I can't comment on how it scales to iPad, but please leave a comment below if you have experience with it. Despite the drop in video quality, the bullets and backgrounds are as bright as ever which is essential for a game this fast and populated with enemies. You control your ship by guiding it with a finger and hitting side buttons to switch from laser to machine gun or to drop a bomb. More than any previous iOS shmups, I found that these controls became increasingly problematic the longer my session lasted. When played in brief bursts (one stage), the controls are adequate. However, playing from beginning to end is a difficult task, mostly because sliding your finger wildly across the screen isn't easy. CAVE's first iOS release, Espgaluda II, remains their best work on the platform because of two factors: the narrower playing range and the ship's high sensitivity. In contrast, Blissful Death features a wide playing field and two ships that are very slow by comparison. I understand the reasoning behind this -- I mean, which do you sacrifice? Precision to dodge bullets in boss fights or the ability to fly around the screen with ease? As a CAVE fanatic who strives for 1CC playthroughs at arcades, I think precision is more important. However, on iOS I want speed because that makes the game more fun and approachable. As a result of the game's low sensitivity, my finger grew increasingly uncomfortable until I decided to stop playing. It speaks volumes of the game's quality that I return to it at all. It'd be nice if future CAVE releases would include sensitivity options. As CAVE continues to port its games to iOS, it should be more cautious about how it adapts certain titles and whether some should be adapted at all. On one side is Espgaluda II, and on the other is the nightmare of porting the complex Guwange (available on Xbox Live Arcade and totally worth the money). Blissful Death falls somewhere between the two. Between the wide playing field, constant use of buttons (you need to switch to laser for large ships and bosses), and need to move across the screen frequently in later stages, iOS isn't the ideal platform for Blissful Death. It works and is even fun at times, but only until the frustration sets in. But I'm preaching to the choir here. Either you are on board with having a gimped, portable version of CAVE's classics or you have no interest emulating an inferior experience. So, yes, the game can be fun in short bursts, but CAVE's failure to re-tune the game for the platform keeps it from reaching the early heights of its Espgaluda II port, which, let's be honest, was only so good because the original game was a better fit for the platform. I don't think you'd regret purchasing DoDonPachi Blissful Death, but I doubt it will feed your hunger for a proper arcade experience. If nothing else, CAVE has given Westerners a legitimate way to buy the game so they don't feel so bad about emulating it on MAME, where this classic shines with a joystick and full resolution.
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Touch controls will never be able to replace the accuracy and fluidity that can be achieved with a joystick, but of course, any CAVE fan knows this by now. The actual concern when approaching an iOS CAVE game is if the contro...

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DoDonPachi Blissful Death coming to iOS


Feb 03
// Chris Carter
The fourth game in Cave's classic shoot 'em up series DoDonPachi will be ready to download on an iOS device near you on February 9th for $4.99. In the West, the original title "Dai Ou Jou" will be known as its rough translati...
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Cave shifts resources to social games


Jan 12
// Maurice Tan
Cave has announced reduced earnings forecasts for the first half of its fiscal year (June 1 - November 30) and the year as a whole, andriasang reports. The shmup publisher now expects sales of 1,303 million yen for the first ...

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