DeathSmiles on US Xbox 360

Aksys localizing Cave's side-scrolling bullet hell shooter, complete with multiplayer online mode.

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Japanese developer Cave is notorious for its distinct brand of frenetic shoot-'em-ups, but few outside the studio's island nation home have had the chance to play efforts like DoDonPachi or Espgaluda. To date, the company's biggest Western release has been the quirky 2001 PlayStation 2 skateboarding title Yanya Caballista: City Skater.

Keeping the world safe from giant apples with mouths.
Keeping the world safe from giant apples with mouths.

That could change soon, as Aksys Games confirmed this week that it will bring Cave's DeathSmiles to North America. Originally released in Japan in April last year, the Xbox 360 side-scrolling shoot-em-up carries a "gothic-lolita" theme and allows players to fight the forces of the sinister "Imperator Tyrannosatan" with one of four angels. In addition to weaving between bullet barrages, players will have to switch the direction they face in order to take on enemies from all sides.

DeathSmiles will feature a branching level structure that lets players determine not only their path through the game but also the difficulty of each level. Additionally, the game will include a replay system to let players preserve and share particularly death-defying runs, as well as two-player cooperative play over Xbox Live.

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