By Steve Baltimore / December 18th, 2018
|Title||Battle Princess Madelyn|
|Developer||Causal Bit Games Inc.|
|Publisher||Causal Bit Games Inc., Hound Picked Games|
|Release Date||December 10th, 2018|
|Platform||PC via Steam|
It had been a while since I had subjected myself to a brutally hard adventure game, so I decided to take on Battle Princess Madelyn for review. This one is a glorious throwback to the era when you pumped quarters into a Ghosts ‘n Goblins arcade machine and yelled as the game mercilessly took your money! There are some modern things in here to spice up the mix, so let’s just see how this one turned out.
The story follows a young girl named Madelyn. She sets out an adventure to save her family and kingdom from the clutches of an evil wizard. Her only friend on this quest is her ghost dog Fritzy, who will aid her through all the perils she will face along the way. These include evil swamps, graveyards and all manner of monsters. Though Madelyn’s journey will be long, people believe in her and this will give her the strength she needs to complete her quest!
The story is basic but very charming. You can tell there was a lot of care given to how the story would play out during the story mode. The NPC dialogue when giving quests is pretty interesting at times, and I felt like they put enough of the world lore in there to just keep you interested. This is mostly found by collecting various dolls of the monsters found in the world that you can view back at the castle.
Graphically the game looks outstanding. The pixel work is absolutely amazing and the amount of detail that went into creating this world is insane. You can tell a lot of care went into the artwork for this game and the art style they chose worked really well with this graphical style. This is some of the best use of pixel graphics like this that I’ve ever seen. The enemy models look great, the animations are wonderful and quite frankly I cannot find a single bad thing to say about this game in this area.
Another area this game shines is in the music department. The soundtrack is a mix of classic arcade FM/PCM with some modern orchestrated music in there as well. The two mix together very well and create a game the feels both very nostalgic and very modern at the same time. I hope they sell this OST somewhere because I would love to snag up a copy. The sound effects are nothing really special but they do get the job done. The team did a great job with environmental effects. These include things like pouring rain, cave ambiance and other slight but pleasing details.
Now let’s dig into the gameplay. This is where things will get a bit dicey for some folks. Arcade is exactly what you expect. You challenge each of the 10 levels in order to get the best score. This mode is pretty difficult, but it’s not impossible as the game is pretty generous with the amount of times Fritzy can resurrect you and the checkpoints aren’t crazy far apart. You will know if Fritzy can bring you back to life or not by looking at the bar on the top right of the screen. This shows how much juice the ole boy has in his tank. If you use some of the special abilities that are obtained via equipping certain things, this will deplete as well. It will refill as you slay enemies and pick up loot.
Combat here is in that classic Ghosts ‘n Goblins style. You throw weapons either straight forward, up or down as you attack. There are different weapons you can acquire and each have strengthens and weaknesses. Lances are slower but stronger, knives are slower but weaker. The good thing is once you gain a weapon you always have it and you can switch it at the touch of a button. This is very handy when the boss fights come around. These baddies are some of the meanest you’ll ever encounter and you will need to use everything in your arsenal in order to survive. A good example of this is the spider battle below, this battle would’ve been much harder had I not switched over to knives for fast attacks.
Story mode was actually a bit more fun in my opinion. It had almost a kind of Metroidvania feel to it. You could explore the world and find new weapons and other items to aid you on your quest. Madelyn can take on side quests from the NPCs for some pretty sweet rewards, and like I previously stated, the story here isn’t half bad. You’ll probably get more replay value out of Arcade mode than Story mode but I’m really glad the developers decided to include both modes here. It made this a really solid package in the end.
My main problems with this game are the things I’ve complained about for over 25 year with these types of titles. The knock back when you are hit with something is insane. We’re talking Ninja Gaiden levels here folks, and you can bet you will get knocked back just far enough to fall to your doom every time. I felt some of the enemy placement was very cheap in certain areas, but the thing that always annoys me the most is not being able to see what I’m jumping on. This game has more leaps of faith than I can remember any title having in a long time. I really wish it had a feature that would let you scroll the screen over or down just a bit so you could get a sense of where the next platform or ledge you needed to jump to was.
Battle Princess Madelyn is what a classic throwback should be. It mixes the old and the new seamlessly together and is probably one of best quality indie titles I’ve played in a while. I put around 10 hours into this one and there were plenty of secrets left to discover. While I may have some complaints about the gameplay here, don’t take that as sign that Battle Princess Madelyn is a bad game. Games like this were never really my cup of tea, but I know there are those out there that love hardcore platforming challenges like this, and if you are one of those people go buy this game now. At $19.99 it’s a fantastic value, and you will love every minute of it!
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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