General tips for Deathsmiles iOS iPhone mode.
For shmuppers who don’t really play touchscreen games, and for iOS gamers who don’t really play shmups.
1. Despite being iOS, this is still very much a shmup and plays like one. Reading any good shmup tutorial about basics like “streaming” will get you a long way, especially in Hard Mode where tons of suicide bullets are aimed directly at your current position.
2. Tips for using a touchscreen. Movement can feel more crude initially, but a touchpad allows you more precision and speed than an arcade stick. Understanding how to use the touchpad to your benefit will enable you to survive longer (and score higher).
- Relative movement: Initially a feature in Space Invaders Infinity Gene, followed by Cave’s own Espgaluda II, being able to control your character from a distance on the screen allows you to keep the area around your hitbox unobscured. Obviously important for dodging a fine bullet spread, and the basic design principle behind any decent bullet-hell shmup on a touchscreen.
- Single hand control: As a right-hander, I find it much easier to perform movement using the right middle finger only. This looks rather strange but works quite well, despite the fact that your finger will cover onscreen enemies at times. Figure out what works best for you and go with it–I don’t like using my thumb, but YMMV.
- Rolling finger: Instead of sliding, when fine control is needed, roll the finger over the screen instead of sliding. This is useful particularly when you are using your thumb, or your non-dominant hand. It is also a good way to move your familiar around, especially when suicide bullets start to appear on screen.
- Move the screen: Instead of moving your finger, move the entire iPhone/iPod with your other hand. This is extremely useful for large but slow, smooth, and precise vertical movements; probably won’t be doing this much in DS though.
- Small screen: By using one of the smaller screen sizes, in exchange for a smaller screen you gain a larger view of the action and decrease the likelihood that your finger will obscure the screen. Consider also moving the screen to one side, so you have more empty space with your dominant hand.
- Precision speed: Touchscreen control affords you unlimited speed and much higher precision control; the game is built around this concept with a larger hitbox and a smaller, but still insane number of bullets. Patterns you shouldn’t be able to dodge in an ordinary shmup can be dodged here by darting straight across the screen.
In other words: Those who think iCade support should be mandatory are fundamentally misguided. The iOS port is clearly not designed for joystick control.
3. Equipment bonuses.
- Set bonus: Equipping an entire set gives you a 1.5x bonus to all items in the set. There are one or two sets which may be purchased in the shop for starters; for those having difficulty with Hard mode, I suggest grinding Normal until you complete a set with acceptable shot/laser stats. The Blue Lantern/Pumpkin Mask set is particularly useful.
- Full stock bonus: Having 9 of an item gives you a 1.5x bonus to its stats when that item is equipped. This is easily accomplished with buyable items, some of which help significantly (e.g. individual pieces of Fairy equipment, Babushka).
- What stats mean: Tap the ? icon at the equip screen for a detailed explanation.
- Which stats to aim for: I recommend focusing on one attack type (Shot or Laser, most likely) and Guard. Bombs really only exist to save you when you get hit, so Magic is kinda useless imo.
4. Credit feeding.
- As of the first IAP update, the one item that I feel is actually worth buying is the Continues +5 item. Treasure drops are only saved if you complete the current stage, and will be lost if you reach Game Over, so it is in your interest to complete at least the current level, and quit afterward if you know you can’t complete the next one.
- As of the second IAP update, the most practical items worth buying are the Lucky Charm, +5 Continues, and Resurrection, in that order. The remainder are either less useful (weapons from the 1st update), or more for curiosity’s sake (all of the other unique weapons from the 2nd update).
- There is some way to increase the number of credits in Arcade mode all the way up to Free Play, but I’m not sure how to go about this. You start with five which is generally enough to credit-feed your way through Rank 3; last time I attempted to purposely die my credits went up to nine.
5. Equipment tips
- Unique weapons allow you to change your shot pattern.
- Despite numerical Shot/Laser/Lock values, it seems that actual shot patterns vary in power as follows:
- Tiara default – Lock seems more powerful than Shot and Laser
- Windia – Shot extremely powerful, Laser weak, Lock weak
- Follett – Lock extremely powerful, Laser weak, Shot weak
- Casper – I’m not quite convinced that Laser is that much stronger than Shot…
- Rosa – Feels like Shot is strongest, but I’m not entirely sure.
- Hamaya Arrow – Powerful Lock, somewhat weak Laser
- Resurrection – Only changes your Shot; is extremely powerful
- Blissful Death – Only changes your Laser; is reasonably powerful
- Golden Horn – Only changes your Shot; is powerful in Power Up mode but fairly weak otherwise
- EVAC Unit – Only changes your Laser; very very weak
- Tiara’s default Laser produces an unholy quantity of gold with a 4x item equipped. This is a prerequisite for high scores and for survival in Hard Mode, as it allows you to reach Power Up mode more frequently.
6. Grind tips
- Drop percentage and gold multiplier items don’t seem to stack.
- Rank seems to affect how often good items drop.
- All of this is moot with a Lucky Charm (IAP) which increases drop rate by an unbelievable amount (“200%” but feels like a lot more than that). If you are planning to grind for 100% item completion, buy a Lucky Charm.Drop rate is absolutely miserable without one.
7. Scoring tips
- iPhone Mode Obtain a Satan Doll and any items which slow down the Item Counter. Stay in Laser mode and Power Up as often as possible. Keep enemies alive while collecting an endless stream of gold for massive profit!
- iPhone Hard Mode I’m personally finding C1 C2 B1 B2 A1 A2 to be the most survivable in terms of (1) clearing Volcano early and (2) plentiful life-up and bomb items.
- Arcade mode I’m lazy and don’t believe in duplicating the work of others, so you can use other guides for Arcade Mode – just ignore the part about movement speed, since all characters now move at the same speed.
8. Item data
- Extra music: Tap the flashing points on the stage select map three times. If done correctly you should hear your character laugh, and the next stage’s music will be replaced by a variation of the DS image song. There are two remixes in Arcade and two in iPhone mode.