Published on March 21st, 2017 | by Lee Davies

Preview: Battle Princess Madelyn (Steam Pre-Alpha Build)

Format reviewed: Steam Pre-Alpha Build
Other formats available: Nintendo Switch, Wii U, PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this summer.
Developer: Casual Bit Games
Price: N/A
Website: Official Website
Rating: N/A

Causal Bit Games has launched a Kickstarter for Battle Princess Madelyn, seeking a goal of $60,000 (Canadian) and unlocked the Pre-Alpha to the public to sample pledging! So, Nintendo: Review sat down with this build to set us up with what’s coming to the Switch and Wii U in the near future.

Battle Princess Madelyn looks set to honor classics such as Ghouls N’ Ghosts and Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap with the former being instantly recognizable throughout the entire DNA of Battle Princess Madelyn. Although the game style may be pleasantly familiar, it’s true that it copies a lot of what you’ve already seen in SNES 2D platform games, the game does have its own distinct and unique qualities and features that include an original story written by a professional children’s author and has hand drawn artwork bringing the game to life. The animation of the characters, both friendly and enemy, are vibrant and humorously cheesy. Anyone remember Ghouls N’ Ghosts’ Arthur’s goofy jump. It’s here in all its glory, but now in hand drawn pixel-art. The original story is very simplistic, evil wizard kidnaps heroines’ family, and kills her dog, Fritzy. Revenge is at hand, John Wick style. Fortunately, Fritzy’s ghostly reincarnation lends a helping paw, and acts as a turret like offensive weapon using the enemy’s own health to power up.

The soundtrack is of especial importance. Select between an orchestral or arcade version upon the game’s start-up, both showing their knowledge of classic 8-bit tunes, bringing memories of Ghouls N’ Ghosts, Castlevania, Gargoyle’s Quest, etc. The arcade 8-bit chip tunes suit this game to a tee.

Promising 10 levels, with 5 large stages within each shows the true scope of Battle Princess Madelyn. It’s a large and very challenging game. Levels, once completed, can be played again as many times as you want. Your character is fully able to traverse the Overworld map, with numerous collectibles housed in the Castle’s Toy Room.

Ten different weapons are available, but most of the time, your heroine will be throwing her standard lance in 4 directions. However, a very handy double jump is present right from the start, that allows a change in direction mid-flight, Arthur has a lot to learn from this.

Enemies continually respawn by bursting from coffins, sprouting out of the ground, flying in off screen. And, there’s a lot going on, all the time. It’s not unusual to be surrounded by 6 enemies at any time, and screen filling bosses show how well the game’s engine copes. With all the on-screen carnage, the impressive lighting effects, the scaling around environments in all 4 2D axis’, climbing around and looking for secrets is integral to the game, there was bound to be a hiccup in the frame rate, right? Nope. No such thing, Battle Princess Madelyn runs smoothly at all times. There were a few recurring instances of interrupted speech, where the dialogue abruptly ends mid-senten…, but nothing game-breaking.

For the Pre-Alpha build, Battle Princess Madelyn lacks full controller options, so the player is forced to play with keyboard keys. Not desirable for the level of nuance needed in the controls. The action is too fast paced, and the slightest wrong input, means a loss of clothes. Yes, just as in all good 2D platformers, your heroine can take 2 hits before visiting the graveyard herself. The first hit strips you of your armour, left in your underwear, the second sends you to meet your maker. As a boon to death, reincarnation involves a lot of localised lightning and lots of dead undead, clearing the way for your return, with a hearty “Battle Princess Power” shout-out.

More time will be needed with Battle Princess Madelyn, especially with the use of a D-Pad, but at the time of writing this promises to be a nostalgic pleasure trip down that oft-traversed hard-as-nails platformer road. Games like this are built for the Nintendo Switch, thankfully Battle Princess Madelyn reached its Kickstarter goal within the first five days, and the thought of being able to play another great 2D platformer on the big screen, or on the go, is overwhelming. Great times are ahead of us.

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Born with an NES controller in his hands, life has never been the same.

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