Mushihimesama

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Mushihimesama Logo ENG.png
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Mushihimesama
Mushihimesama Title PC GameInfo.jpg

Mushihimesama Title Screen, from Normal mode on the PC/Steam release of the game.

Developer: CAVE
Director: Tsuniki Ikeda
Producer: Kenichi Takano
Music: Manabu Namiki
Masaharu Iwata
Program: Tsuneki Ikeda
Takashi Ichimura
Art: Tomoyuki Kotani
Designer: Akira Wakabayashi
Hiroyuki Tanaka
Hideki Nomura
Tomoyuki Kotani
Release date: 12 October 2004 (AC)

21 July 2005 (PS2)
04 December 2011 (iOS)
24 May 2012 (X360)
12 Nov 2015 (PC/Steam)

15 June 2021 (Switch)
Next game: Mushihimesama Futari

Mushihimesama (虫姫さま, literally "Bug Princess") is a vertical scrolling shooting game released in arcades by CAVE in 2004. The game centers around Reco, princess of her home village, Hoshifuri. The world is inhabited by large anthropod beasts called Koju, who emit a strange magical energy called Levi-Sense, which is poisonous to humans. The story follows Reco flying into the forest on the golden beetle Kiniro, seeking out the God of the Koju in order to save her village from the Levi-Sense Miasma.


The game released in arcades in 2004, later followed by several ports to home consoles. The game was first ported to the Playstation 2 in 2005, featuring a new Arrange Mode. Later, the game was ported to iOS devices under the english translated title, Bug Princess, in 2011. Finally, Mushihimesama saw an Xbox360 port in the next year, 2012, which would become the base for all future ports of the game. This version features 4 gameplay modes, Novice, Normal, Arrange, and a previously exclusive 1.5 version that was only playable for a limited time at the Cave Matsuri Festival in Japan. This port of the game was later released on PC via the Steam marketplace in 2015, and on the Nintendo Switch console in 2021.


The game's theme is styled around insects, bugs, and nature. All the enemies in the game are depictions of various kinds of arthropods and insects, from the variety of beetles, to butterflies, moths, mantids, crickets, and many other creatures. These large insect creatures are named the Koju (literally “Ko” for “carapace” and “Ju” for “beast”). The stage locations showcase a variety of settings in nature, from the forests, deserts, volcano, lakes, and caves of the world. Reco's dress also resembles the wings of an insect, and she rides atop the Golden Rhinoceros Beetle, Kiniro. The theme of insects and nature are notably distinct, especially when compared to other arcade shmups of the time, which focused heavily on sci-fi and mechanical themes, such as the DoDonPachi series. Kiniro being the player's "ship" for the game deviates greatly from the much more common planes and spaceships controlled in other arcade games in the genre.


The game is often held in high regard among shmup players, and its lighter tone and colorful design, along with solid gameplay elements and various game modes, has attracted many fans and overwhelmingly positive reception worldwide. With its most recent release onto the Nintendo Switch, Mushihimesama is one of CAVE's most accessible games, in terms of availability on various gaming platforms.

Gameplay Overview

Controls


Mushihimesama Controls InputDisplay.png

Button Name Description
A Shot Press for basic shot, hold for focused fire and slower movement
B Bomb Press to throw a bomb. The trajectory of the bomb can be changed by moving.
C Full Auto Press for full auto shot, hold to move at full speed while firing.

For the Xbox 360, PC/Steam, and Nintendo Switch ports of the game, there are additional button options. The timing intervals for these can be adjusted in the options setting.

Button Name Description
D Rapid Shot A rapid autofire option for shot.
E Rapid Full Auto A rapid autofire option for full auto.

For the Arrange Mode version of the game, a button is also dedicated to switching between different shot types.

Modes

The Xbox 360, PC/Steam, and Nintendo Switch versions of the game contain the following 4 game modes.


Normal

The version that released originally in arcades.

Difficulties Description
Original Classic, inspired by the devs’ Toaplan history
Maniac Danmaku
Ultra Hard danmaku, required to see TLB

Novice

A version based on Normal, but with slower and less dense bullets. This first released with the Xbox360 port of the game.

Difficulties Description
Original Classic, inspired by the devs’ Toaplan history
Maniac Danmaku
Ultra Hard danmaku, required to see TLB

(The menu for Novice does not include Training, which is odd)


Arrange

Originally a PS2 (?) exclusive arrange, later ported to other platforms. Arrange Mode is a version based on Normal@Maniac with the same shot types

There is no difficulty option, and no shot type option on start. This is because the player is given the ability to switch between all shot types on the fly using a dedicated button. The player also starts with 6 options instead of the usual 4, and there is an auto-bomb feature, which will consume all bombs in stock if the player is hit, instead of losing a life.

The scoring system is different as well, though the same general idea of increasing a counter by shooting down enemies still applies. The player also starts with 300,000 counter, instead of the usual zero.

Additionally, the TLB is always faced at the end of the game in this mode. Their attack patterns are changed slightly compared to their Ultra Mode appearances.


1.5 / Matsuri

A limited-time (only 2 days during Matsuri festival) only arcade version, not initially intended to be released in ports, but was included late in the development

At the start, it is possible to choose between all three shot types, but also whether to start with those types at max level. Choosing the max level will make the enemies more aggressive as well, most notably increasing bullet speeds.

The mode is said to be more refined and closer to CAVE’s style of the time {{unconfirmed, see DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou}}. The game also features different bullet patterns and enemy/stage layouts from the original. This can be seen as early as Stage 2, where there are significantly more bushes placed in a different arrangement compared to 1.0 versions.

The player also is given an auto-bomb feature, like in Arrange mode.

Difficulties Description
Original Classic, inspired by the devs’ Toaplan history
Original MAX Original, but enemies are more aggressive. The player starts at max power
Maniac Danmaku
Maniac MAX Maniac, but enemies are more aggressive. The player starts at max power
Ultra Hard danmaku, required to see TLB
Ultra MAX Ultra, but enemies are more aggressive. The player starts at max power


The scoring system is different from other versions as well, seemingly a mix between Normal and Arrange modes(?)


Unlockable Secrets


Extends/1-UPs: There are 3 extends by default in the game. 2 are awarded via scoring, and 1 is a hidden item in Stage 3. to collect the hidden 1-UP extend in Stage 3, the player must destroy all 8 segments of the large creature at the end of the stage, before destroying the head. If done in this order, the head of the creature will fire more danmaku in a rotating pattern, and will release the hidden extend when destroyed.

True Last Boss (TLB): The game features a True Last Boss at the end of Ultra Mode (and Arrange Mode). After defeating the Stage 5 boss, instead of being defeated, Aki (the character riding atop the large beetle) will instead be caught by another beetle, and continue to battle you as the TLB of the game. Aki's final danmaku pattern is infamous for being incredibly difficult to clear by players. Eventually a "No Miss, No Bomb" attempt was completed by player Veresdon in 2021 [6] (See Strategies for more information)


Characters / Ships / Styles


There are 3 shot types the player can select:

Shot Type Description
M-Power A standard shot-type with decent damage and movement speed.
W-Power A wide shot-type with weaker overall damage an slower movement speed.
S-Power A narrow shot-type with strong overall damage and faster movement speed.

Additionally, there are also 2 styles for the player's options:

Option Type Description
Trace The player's options follow the path the player takes. Focused Shot draws the options to the player.
Formation The player's options fly in a wide formation to the sides of the player. Focused Shot draws them in to a more narrow position.

It should be noted that there is a "supershot" glitch that can be achieved by players by holding Full Auto and quickly tapping Shot. The "super shot" increases damage dealt by roughly 50%. This only works on W-Power and S-Power types, and at different distances from the enemy. (See Weapons and Strategy for more information)


Items


Power-Up Items Power-Up items are released from specific beetle enemies throughout stages. They spawn in the current shot type the player is using, and will increase the player's shot power by 1. A ring around the item's icon indicates when it will switch to the next shot-type. If collected as a different shot-type, then it will change the player to the type indicated by its icon. At max power, these award the player 10,000 points.

Bomb Items: Bomb items increase the player's bomb stock by 1. The player can carry up to 6 bombs. They are released by the same type of enemy that drops Power-Up Items.

Extends/1-UPs: There are 3 extends by default in the game. 2 are awarded via scoring, and 1 is a hidden item in Stage 3. to collect the hidden 1-UP extend in Stage 3, the player must destroy all 8 segments of the large creature at the end of the stage, before destroying the head. If done in this order, the head of the creature will fire more danmaku in a rotating pattern, and will release the hidden extend when destroyed.

Amber (Point Items): The golden gems released by the enemies after being destroyed are called amber (continuing the insect theming of the game). Amber will automatically collect when the player is near. Amber released by ground enemies will stay in place (appearing as a shell or carapace) and will not collect unless the player flies directly over it. This is changed in some modes of the game where holding A for focused Shot will automatically collect all amber on the screen to the player. Amber adds to the player's score based on the main counter built up by hitting enemies with your shot. (exact calculation needed) Amber collected in a stage will also give bonus points at the end of a stage. However, if the player loses a life in a stage, then any amber collected prior to that will not be counted towards the bonus.

The bonus score per collected amber is awarded as follows:

Item Amber Type Score Bonus
Mushihimesama Amber Flying Small.png Small Flying Amber 100
Mushihimesama Amber Flying Large.png Large Flying Amber 200
Mushihimesama Amber Ground Small.png Small Ground Amber 300
Mushihimesama Amber Ground Large.png Large Ground Amber 500

(For more information, see Scoring)

Rank


There is no rank in the game, except possibly in Original mode(?)

Scoring


WIP
Scoring in Mushihimesama is easy to learn, but hard to master. There are two primary calculations done for determining the player's overall score as they play through the game, one for gaining points from Amber score items dropped from enemies, and the other from enemy destruction. Both are affected heavily by the counter more than any other variable. Notably, the exception to this is Amber generated from bullet cancels, which is not affected by the counter.


The Counters


Scoring is primarily done by defeating enemies to raise the Main Counter, which is displayed in the top left of the screen, just below the player's lives (So long as the counter is greater than zero). The counter increases score gained by collecting amber and defeating enemies.

There are two counters: The Main Counter, and Small Counters (also referred to as Big/Little Counters, Parent/Child Counters, Large/Mini Counters, Primary/Secondary Counters, etc.)

The Main Counter is where the bulk of your score is gained from, and can be thought of as a multiplier to score gained from defeating enemies and collecting score items. It is raised by shooting at enemies constantly, and will quickly deplete if no enemies are being hit. Destroying certain large enemies will freeze the counter momentarily, allowing for the player to chain their hits and continue to build the counter higher.
The Small Counters are important to increasing the main counter faster than would otherwise be possible. The small counters are raised for each of your options' lasers individually.

Essentially, whenever an enemy is defeated, the total amount of the Small Counters are added to the Main Counter. If an enemy stops being hit by a laser, that laser's respective small counter will start to decrease. This also occurs when a boss or midboss transitions into their next phase, though the small counters will be reset to zero as they are added in this way.

However, on all enemies (except end of stage bosses), the Small Counters will also add their current value to the Main Counter whenever the Main counter goes from decreasing to increasing. In other words, whenever it flashes from red to white. This is not noticeable in casual play, as most enemies will be defeated too quickly for there to be any significant increase. The exception to this are the midbosses of each stage, where the enemy has enough health for the effect to be more noticeable.

Because of the Small Counters unique properties, players have discovered a technique to drastically increase the Main Counter to much larger values. Specifically, the technique takes advantage of the Small Counters' property of adding their values to the Main Counter whenever the Main Counter transitions from decreasing to increasing. This technique has been named "Counter Banking" by the community, named such because the Small Counter values are "banked" into the Main Counter by careful spacing between the player's bursts of shots. More information about counter banking can be found in the Strategy section.


The formulas for figuring out how much score is to be awarded to the player are as follows:

Score From Score Calculation
Amber Counter/10+Base Value
Enemy Destruction Counter*2+Base Value

Again, the exception to the Amber Formula is Amber that is collected from bullet cancels, which is not affected by the counter.


Amber


The golden gems released by the enemies after being destroyed are called Amber (continuing the insect theming of the game). Amber will automatically collect when the player is near. Amber released by ground enemies will stay in place (appearing as a shell or carapace) and will not collect unless the player flies directly over it. This is changed in some modes of the game where holding A for focused Shot will automatically collect all amber on the screen to the player. Amber adds to the player's score based on the main counter built up by hitting enemies with your shot. (exact calculation needed) Amber collected in a stage will also give bonus points at the end of a stage. However, if the player loses a life in a stage, then any amber collected prior to that will not be counted towards the bonus.

The bonus score per collected amber is awarded as follows:

Item Amber Type Score Bonus
Mushihimesama Amber Flying Small.png Small Flying Amber 100
Mushihimesama Amber Flying Large.png Large Flying Amber 200
Mushihimesama Amber Ground Small.png Small Ground Amber 300
Mushihimesama Amber Ground Large.png Large Ground Amber 500

Collecting Amber is one of the main ways of gaining score, however as the final amount of score gained is mostly affected by the Counter, it is recommended that players focus more on chaining and counter banking instead. In addition, the end of stage bonuses are only kept if the player does not lose a life in the stage, which add further difficulty in achieving higher score from Amber alone.


Stage Bonuses

Bonus points are awarded at the end of each stage. The amount of bonus points possible is determined by how well the player performed during the stage.

The following bonuses available are as follows: Amber Collection Bonus No Miss Bonus Life/Bomb Stock Bonus

The exact values vary based on the mode and difficulty being played.

For Maniac Mode, the following table shows the No Miss bonus for each stage:

Maniac Mode "No Miss" Bonus
Stage 1 200,000
Stage 2 400,000
Stage 3 600,000
Stage 4 800,000
Stage 5 1,000,000

Depending on how many lives you have remaining, the following bonus is awarded for clearing the game

Game Clear Bonus Calculation
Life Bonus 10,000,000 * Lives in Stock

From Kiwi's Guide to Scoring in Mushihimesama (from Shmups Forum)

"Scoring in Mushihimesama involves two core systems which exist to raise your main counter: chaining and counter banking.

Firstly, let's talk about the main counter. Admittedly, this is not necessary for understanding and scoring this game, so feel free to skip it if you like. All you need to know is that a higher counter produces more points from enemies and amber (except amber from bullet cancels).

AlvaLynsis and I have found the exact formula for how the main counter affects point values. It is actually much more simple than I had previously imagined. There are two formulas:

Amber Formula: Counter/10+Base Value

Enemy Destruction Formula: Counter*2+Base Value

[Amber pieces formed by bullet cancels are not affected by your counter.]" - Kiwi

Strategy

See (Template Page)/Strategy for stage maps, enemy and boss descriptions, walkthroughs, and advanced play strategies.

This section details some particular strategic information about the game and its gameplay, such as hidden 1UPs and some basic scoring tricks. For anything particularly deep or highly complex, you can probably leave it in the Strategy page.

(Currently evaluating whether or not this specific section should even include information outside of the separated Strategy pages. Worth thinking about as a community.)


Scoring


Counter Banking

WIP

Counter Banking is the term used by players to describe increasing the Main Counter by an enormous amount. It is achieved by building up the Small Counters with your lasers on a large enemy or midboss, then "banking" the smaller values into the Main Counter by quickly tapping your Full Auto shot. Each time the counter turns from red to white (or rather, whenever there is a gap between the player's shot hitting an enemy) the Small Counters are added to the Main Counter. By strategically counter banking on the midboss of each stage, the player can gain an incredibly large amount of score compared to "casual" play.

Interestingly, Counter Banking does not work on end of stage bosses, and is not possible in the same way in other versions of the game (primarily Arrange Mode, where the mechanic and "supershot" glitch were built-in to the Focused Shot {{unconfirmed}}). As a result, it is speculated that counter banking was a mechanic intended by the developers for the players to discover and use for scoring.

This section is in need of some visual examples and a more in depth explanation as a result of discoveries made in 2021, with Low-Power and Glitch-Auto scoring strategies

Chaining

WIP

Continually hitting enemies with your shot will continue to increase the Main Counter. Routing the stages such that there are no breaks inbetween sections will help you preserve your counter at a higher value. This technique is called chaining.


Survival


Playing for survival is an important skill! Like many of CAVE's arcade shmups, the player has only a limited amount of resources the can obtain to get through the game.

In Mushihimesama, the maximum amount of resources a player can have in stock is 5 Lives, and 6 Bombs. If the player loses a life, they will respawn with 3 bombs in stock, regardless of how many they had prior. As such, it is recommended to use all your bombs for survival, such that you do not lose a life with extra bombs in stock.

W-Power and "Supershot"

Using W-Power is often recommended to those playing for survival, and for the longest time was regarded as the best shot type in the game even for scoring.

It has several benefits to the player compared to other shot types:

  • Slower movement speed can make it easier to dodge dense patterns of bullets, while still being agile enough to dodge around larger clusters and faster danmaku.
  • A wide spread shot allows players to clear out enemies from nearly anywhere on the screen, which generally results in less overall bullets on screen at once.
  • It is very easy to chain and counter bank, allowing for the player to easily reach both score extends as early as Stage 2.
  • By holding C (Full Auto) and quickly tapping A (Shot), the player will shoot at a quicker interval when at close or point-blank distances from an enemy. This increases overall damage output by about 50%, or 1.5 times. In Ultra mode, the 2nd phase of the TLB can be skipped entirely using the "supershot".

Extends/Hidden 1-UP

Players start the game at 2 Lives in stock. 3 more extra lives can be gained through extends. Two of these extends are earned through scoring.

For Original Mode, the score extends are as follows:

Original Mode Score Required
1st Extend 2,500,000
2nd Extend 5,000,000

For Maniac and Ultra Modes, the score extends are as follows:

Maniac/Ultra Mode Score Required
1st Extend 10,000,000
2nd Extend 25,000,000

The final extra life can be found as a hidden 1-UP item in Stage 3. To collect it, the player must first reach the end of the stage, just before the boss. After flying up the body of the gigantic Koju the stage is based around, the player will eventually reach its head. There are 8 additional breakable parts to the boss at this section, 4 on each limb to either side of its head.

All 8 breakable parts must be destroyed before destroying the head in order to release the hidden 1-UP. This can be difficult, as the limbs will continually shoot aimed bullets at the player until they are destroyed, and the head itself has only a small amount of HP, which can make it easy to accidentally destroy early, and thus miss the 1-UP.

Once all 8 parts are destroyed, the head's bullet pattern will also increase in difficulty slightly (generally beginning to fire faster and rotate) so its important to be ready when destroying the last breakable part.

Destroying the head will cancel all bullets on the screen, allowing for the player to safely collect the 1-UP afterwards as the end of stage boss spawns in.


Arrange Mode Differences

WIP


v1.5 Matsuri Mode Differences

WIP


Watching Replays

WIP

It is highly recommended that players aiming to succeed in clearing the game watch replays of other player who have succeeded in doing so.

Many great strategies, tips, tricks, and routes both for scoring and survival can be learned just by watching other player's replays and comparing what you do to what they do throughout the game!

A collection of videos and replays from superplayers can be found in the Video Index section of the site, as well as in the References section at the bottom of this page. Here are a few videos that can help beginners interested in learning survival and scoring for the game: See References and Video Index for now


Story

Basic story breakdowns, plot information, and endings are included here.

If there is no story at all, or any information about the setting, then this section can be omitted. Try to include at least small things here when you can.

WIP

The game centers around Reco, princess of her home village, Hoshifuri. The world is inhabited by large anthropod beasts called Koju, who emit a strange magical energy called Levi-Sense, which is poisonous to humans. The story follows Reco flying into the forest on the golden beetle Kiniro, seeking out the God of the Koju in order to save her village from the Levi-Sense Miasma.


Development History

If available, you can include information here about the hardware, the development of the game, and its general reception. Try to have as much information in this section cited as possible.


Version Differences

  • Include information here about differences in a game between various versions. This includes regional differences, patch updates/bugfixes, and the like.

Trivia

  • Cool facts and random tidbits go here!
  • Mushihimesama literally translates to "Bug Princess"!
  • Koju, the name for the large bugs, translates to "carapace beast"!
  • Kiniro is a golden rhinoceros beetle type of Koju. In various media, it is stated that they don't get along well with Stag Beetle type Koju. This references a behaviour observed by these types of beetles in real life, where they will often use their horns and pincers for territorial battles and courting rituals. (citation needed)
  • Aki's beetle companion is named Akka, which only makes an appearance in his TLB form. Its name is referenced on the game's Achievements page on Steam. (The specific achievement is named Aki and Akka, and Arrange 120%)
  • All the bosses and midbosses in the game have unique names, which appear in the Achievements page on Steam for the game as well. In order of appearance, their names are: Gigaszomu, Zazoraira, Benihonogada, Kyurionesu heddo, Gengoramu & Gamuji, Yamirosimabo, Damaruriga, Ruriigohan Kurisu, Aki and Akka.

Gallery

See Mushihimesama/Gallery for our collection of images and scans for the game.


Video References

For a collection of superplay videos see the Video Index sub-page.

Other

We have support for wikitables, giving us the potential to add lots of cool info in a small box on the page somewhere, but we are not using them at the moment. I'm just leaving this here so we can have it handy in case we decide to actually use them. Feel free to not use this section.

(Template Page)
put your stuff here

References & Contributors