Battle Princess Madelyn (Feature Review) Nintendo Switch

Battle Princess Madelyn (Feature Review) Nintendo Switch
Review Score:

Battle Princess Madelyn by developer Casual Bit Games is a 2D platformer that borrows most of its inspiration from Capcom’s Ghouls N’ Ghosts. As the game’s armor-cladded heroine, Princess Madelyn – the player must battle through 10 levels of intense, arcade-style action to avenge the death of their dog, Fritzy. Despite his passing, Fritzy accompanies the player in spirit form, offering a somewhat limited defense against the game’s many enemies. 

Along the way, the player will collect different suits of armor and better weapons to increase Madelyn’s defense against the horde of bats, skeletons and zombies that populate the game. And this doesn’t include the ‘larger than life’ boss battles that await the player at the end of each level. 

Battle Princess Madelyn has a couple of features that add to its retro appeal. From the ‘Options’ menu, the player can enable the provided ‘Scanline’ feature to give the graphics that classic, CRT monitor appearance. There is also an option to choose between two different soundtracks – Arcade and Orchestral. The arcade soundtrack is comprised of a variety of chiptune-like songs, which add to the game’s atmosphere. The Orchestral soundtrack, on the other hand, resembles red book audio, where real instruments are used. (It’s the difference between a classic cartridge game and a CD-Rom enhanced version of the same title.)

BPM includes the following game modes  – ‘Story Mode’ and ‘Arcade’. In Story Mode, the player can visit towns, interact with NPCs and battle the undead. while traversing the game’s many levels. The difference here is that the game progresses rather slowly, and Princess Madelyn controls differently (i.e. she doesn’t have her double jump at the start of the game, etc.) Arcade mode is self-explanatory. The story element is removed; the game’s difficulty increases; and the action is fast-paced.

The gameplay is a flawless rendition of Capcom’s Ghouls ‘N Ghosts, as the player treks through various levels comprised of various ladders, platforms and pits.  As the game progresses, the player will encounter a plethora of enemies, including sickle-wielding skeletons; rock-throwing zombies; and large plants that shoot projectiles, to name just a few. The amount of enemies that appear on-screen not only make the game challenging, but they require the player to remember numerous enemy patterns that otherwise make completing each level difficult.

Along the way, the player will encounter bag-wielding enemies who drop armor and weapons when killed. While the spear Madelyn starts with does a decent amount of damage, the axe, sword and knife (to name just a few) are better against the game’s stronger foes. Each weapon has its own perks and drawbacks, and it’s up to the player to discover which weapon(s) works for them.

Like Ghouls N’ Ghosts, Madelyn can acquire ‘power’ armor that enhances her defense. The armor can sustain a maximum of two hits before depleting. When the armor is unavailable, Madelyn relies on a health bar to survive. This means the 1-hit death from Ghouls ‘N Ghosts when the game’s protagonist, Arthur, was naked, is not present in BPM. 

The game uses a basic 2-button configuration, which involves pressing B button to jump and Y button to attack. Despite being simple, the controls feel responsive no matter how intense the action becomes. The player can also use their spirit dog companion, Fritzy, to kill creatures that are difficult to reach by pressing and holding Y button, and then releasing it. Fritzy will fly to the nearest enemy; transform into a large-fanged entity; and ‘devour’ the creature. The effectiveness of Frtizy’s attack depends on the creature he is attacking. Some of the larger monsters require multiple hits before perishing, and this can pose a problem for the player when they are pinned down by multiple enemies. BPM expects the player to work out strategies to survive the game’s more daunting encounters.

The platforming is classic Ghouls N’ Ghosts, as the player runs and jumps between platforms. Enemy bats fly in to interrupt the player’s jumps, and hanging plants litter the playfield with numerous (and deadly) projectiles. It’s obvious from the first time BPM is played, that a great deal of care was spent refining the gameplay and the core game mechanics. It actually feels like you are playing a classic arcade game from the late 1980s.

The graphics are gorgeous; they’re a testament to the amount of time spent on the project. The 2D sprites are colorful and animate smoothly, and the backgrounds pop from a tremendous amount of detail. There are also background animations that add to the game’s ominous atmosphere, like the tree that gets struck by lightning, and then falls, at the start of the game. It’s a feast for the eyes.

Battle Princess Madelyn is single-handedly the best retro-style 2D platformer on Nintendo Switch. The graphics, sound effects and gameplay have been lovingly crafted by talented hands that understood the allure and magic of classic video games. BPM is one game that should be in every Nintendo Switch owner’s library, whether they’re familiar with the game that inspired it (i.e. Ghouls N’ Ghosts) or not.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer:  Casual Bit Games
Publisher: Casual Bit Games Inc.
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Price: $19.99

Battle Princess Madelyn Official Website:
http://www.causalbitgames.com/our-games/battle-princess-madelyn/

Review Score
Graphicswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The graphics are mesmerizing.
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Not one, but two incredible sound tracks.
Gameplaywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Plenty of fast-paced, 2D arcade action.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Battle Princess Madelyn was definitely worth the wait.
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