Also On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Casual Bit Games
Developer: Casual Bit Games
If you?ve ever had any love for the Ghosts ?n Goblins / Ghouls ?n Ghosts series from Capcom, chances are you?ll get a kick out of Battle Princess Madelyn. Released last year for consoles and PC, it?s a loving throwback to the Capcom series, with modern additions and changes tossed in to help differentiate itself just enough from the classic action series. With beautiful 2D sprite work, a catchy soundtrack, and a hefty story mode, there?s a lot to like here. It?s also worth pointing out the continued support for the title from developer Casual Bit Games has been great, addressing a number of early complaints from launch.
Battle Princess Madelyn is split between two modes. Arcade mode is more akin to classic action platformers, featuring just a small amount of story before tossing players into the mix. Madelyn is accompanied by the spirit of her pet dog Fritzy, and will gain access to a variety of weapons as you progress through the multiple stages. Giant boss fights put an exclamation point on each level, and the arcade style soundtrack is a chiptune rendition of the orchestrated soundtrack found in Story Mode (which you can switch between if you like). Madelyn?s abilities are generally unlocked from the get go, so you?ll start off with something like the double jump from the beginning. It?s a breezy, challenging mode if you just want to jump in and play.
Story Mode is a little more fleshed out, allowing for exploration, upgrades, and more story elements. There are even side quests to take on, NPC?s to talk to, and you?ll do a little light backtracking through previous areas. The world feels more connected as opposed to being divided into stages, and overall the whole thing is pretty well structured. When the game launched I found story mode a little frustrating, sometimes it was difficult to get an idea of where I needed to go next, or how to progress. Since launch, patches have introduced directional signs, hints, and other features that have done a great job of eliminating those issues. All in all, Battle Princess Madelyn is a far better game now than it was just a couple of months ago, and it?s nice to see that Casual Bit Games could turn it around as quick as they did.
The feel of the game is pretty much akin to Ghosts ?n Goblins, but not quite as stiff as the Capcom classic. Madelyn can change direction mid-air when jumping, for instance. You can also cycle between equipped weapons, and there?s a mix of ranged and close-combat weapons that?ll become available. Madelyn?s sidekick ghost dog adds in abilities, and you can essentially re-charge the amount of lives you have available by staying alive longer and collecting spirit. So again, there?s modern conveniences here that make Battle Princess Madelyn a more enjoyable experience overall, but it doesn?t detract from the difficulty in a significant way.
I?d highly suggest checking out Battle Princess Madelyn, or possibly revisiting the game if you already played it around launch. The changes made so far have all been positive, and it?s certainly one of the best attempts at nailing the Ghosts ?n Goblins formula that I?ve seen in recent years.
Note: Casual Bit Games provided us with a Battle Princess Madelyn Switch code for review purposes.