If you're unfamiliar with the peculiar shooter that is DeathSmiles, let me take a moment to enlighten you. Take five underage girls. Dress them in borderline-inappropriate Gothic Lolita outfits. Provide them all with a familiar, magical power and the ability to fly. Then invite them to blast their way through a range of increasingly bizarre levels featuring screen-filling patterns of bullets and bosses as diverse as the literally-named "Giant Cow Mary" and "Deathscythe" as well as my personal favorite, "Tyrannosatan."
If all that sounds thoroughly insane, chances are you haven't played a shooter by Cave before. Deathsmiles is an excellent game for fans of brutally challenging old-school shooters, and up until now it's only been available in Japanese arcades and as an increasingly difficult to find Xbox 360 version. From July 7, though, you'll be able to snap up a copy for iPhone and iPad via the App Store. In line with Cave's previous releases, the game will be available for $4.99 for the first four days, rising to $8.99 afterwards.
The iPhone version features a number of enhancements over its arcade and console predecessors. There's a new character to play as in the form of Tiara, Princess of Gilverado, who is exclusive to the game's new iPhone Mode. This new mode features new character designs and a new storyline from manga illustrator and writer Yukinatsu Mori. It also, like Cave's other iPhone shooters, features a completely new soundtrack for the iPhone mode, composed by Cave veteran Takeshi Miyamoto.
The most significant addition to the gameplay, though, comes in the form of Sakura's Shop, where players can power up their characters using equipment either found in-game or purchasable using gold obtained from defeating enemies. This lends the game an element of RPG-esque customization that will add to its already considerable replay value.
Watch out for DeathSmiles for iOS from July 7.