Another day, another shoot-em-up adapted for iOS by Cave– and we are all the richer for it. Though Bug Princess 2 plays almost identically to its predecessor and many of the other shmups that Cave has brought over, the title’s hypnotic gameplay will make you go from saying, ‘Ew, bugs!’ to, ‘Ooh, bugs!’
Bug Princess 2 retains one of the more curious traits from the bullet hell genre: it has a complex story, though said story is presented via an optional block of text and is not really laced through the game itself. Picking up where Bug Princess left off, the arrogant Queen of the problem-plagued Utakata Village assumes that the series’ protagonist and pilot, Princess Reco, murdered Prince Aki when he delved into the forest to stop the initial bug (Koju) invasion. The Queen sends her youngest son, Palm, into the forest to retrieve Reco so that she may be killed for great justice. Sometime later, Reco, who is now a forest goddess, finds Palm, wounded and lost deep in the forest. Palm tells Reco that the Koju have been attacking Utakata Village, and Reco agrees to go back to Utakata with him.
Who needs claws when you have a turret mounted on your head?
Basically, this all translates into a lot of shooting and a lot of dodging. You can play as Princess Reco from the first game, who is still mounted on her trusty Rhinoceros beetle, or you can play as Palm, who flies on a little dragon named Hirow. Though there are small differences between the two pilots, both still fire endless streams of bullets or lasers, depending on what shot option you choose.
Whether you decide to go Bug or go Dragon, the gameplay in Bug Princess 2 is more or less the same as the first outing. You shoot enemies, you upgrade your shot, you use bombs wisely to clear the screen, and, depending on the difficulty level that you choose (Novice, Normal, Hard, or Hell), you move quickly and carefully to avoid the deadly projectile blossoms that bloom in front of you. You have a tiny hitbox, which gives you a fighting chance, but enemies have bullets. Oh, do they ever have bullets.
Hope you’re not gun-shy.
Bug Princess 2 has new levels and new bullet patterns, and it also has some new fauna to take down. You’re up against Koju again, but you’ll also need to kill dinosaurs, dragons, crustaceans, and gigantic examples of sea life. The graphics in Bug Princess 2 are gorgeous even on a small screen, and its enemies are ferocious-looking, to say nothing of enormously satisfying to shoot down.
Otherwise, Bug Princess 2 is basically an upgrade to Bug Princess, though you could probably surmise as much from the ’2′ on its tail. Except for the addition of a new pilot, new levels, new patterns, and new bosses, little has changed from the first game– but does anybody pick up a Cave shmup to build a farm, or a city, or do anything except blast the daylights out of anything that moves? If you’re aching for a vertical shooter on iOS, Bug Princess 2 is the one to grab.