DoDonPachi Blissful Death in Review – A Shooter By Any Other Name

There’s a bit of irony in the game’s title, because I’m pretty sure going down in a hailstorm of bullets is anything but blissful.  The slightly odd name aside, however, once you start playing DoDonPachi Blissful Death you’ll feel right at home if you’re a fan of Cave.  If you peruse their titles on the App Store you’ll note they primarily do one thing, but they do that well – scrolling shooters.  To be even more specific, their area of expertise seems to be the “bullet hell” shooter, though from that perspective Blissful Death is a bit milder than most of its type.  That’s good news for me, because I’m terrible at bullet hell games.

There’s not much of a story to the game, unless you count the few lines of non-English text before your plane is dropped into the battlefield or the cool looking but nonsensical slide show that follows each level.  The reality is that in a game like this that doesn’t matter so much.  As long as you get the fact that you basically need to blow up everything you can you should be good.  Granted it’s not much for the motivational department, but not meeting an untimely death thanks to a hailstorm of bullets should be enough to keep you moving.

You can select between two different ships and three dolls.  To be quite frank I don’t notice too much difference between the ships, which could be my lack of playing talent.  As for the dolls, one boosts your shot power, the second your laser power and the final one affects both.  This you will be able to tell a difference in.  There are plenty of bad guys to contend with, and while there isn’t really anything out of the ordinary for this type of game, there is a nice variety of crafts to keep you occupied.  The bosses also aren’t all that original, but they do their job and entertain.

You control the ship by dragging your finger across the screen.  There are no virtual d-pad options or anything like that.  Firing is automatic, though I suppose you could simulate “rapid manual fire” by pressing the fire off button repeatedly.  You can switch between regular shots and your laser with the push of a button, and unlike many of these games your laser doesn’t run out.  There is also a bomb which clears the screen, and when you do enough damage with your laser you can collect an item to turn your bomb button into a hyper button.  When activated the hyper will temporarily emit a beam that basically blows through everything like butter.  Unlike the standard laser, this does run out.

The visuals are pretty slick, though they look more SNES inspired than ultra modern.  Not that there’s anything at all wrong with that.  While the ships aren’t necessarily anything original in design they still look good on the screen, and the backgrounds are nicely rendered.  Of course, as with most bullet hell games, it’s often hard to appreciate what’s behind the scenes as the foreground layer is full of ammunition.  The sound effects are fairly typical for this type of game.  The music is actually pretty decent, but often gets masked by the noises.  I’d suggest leaving the sound effects on but cranking them down so you can appreciate the tunes more.

There’s never been a moment while playing Blissful Death that a felt “wow, there’s something new”.  At the same time, for as often as I’ve played the first few levels (I died a lot and passed level 4 only once), I’ve never gotten bored either.  Blissful Death is a nice, solid effort by the folks at Cave that will placate those who enjoy the genre for what it is, but probably not satisfy the ones looking for a revolution in each new experience.  There are better scrolling shooters available on the iOS platform, but I’ve played way too many that are far worse.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: DoDonPachi Blissful Death Developer: CAVE CO.,LTD.
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $4.99 App Size:
  • Solid action
  • Lots of destruction
  • Nice visuals
  • Good music
  • Been there, done that
  • Even novice is challenging


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