STAFF REVIEW of Battle Princess Madelyn (Xbox One)

Friday, January 11, 2019.
by Kirsten Naughton

Battle Princess Madelyn Box art I have never been a huge fan of retro video games. I think the very first game I ever played was Super Mario Bros on the Gameboy Advance along with the old school Pokemon games. But, I appreciate their existence because they are nostalgic to those gamers who grew up with them, and are a reminder of what gaming looked like back then. Battle Princess Madelyn, developed by Casual Bit Games, I feel is a very good representation of what retro gaming was like once upon a time.

The main story without spoiling it (because that's no fun) revolves around a little girl by the name of Madelyn whom is sick at home in bed playing her video game when her grandfather walks in. He tells Madelyn that he wants to read her a story but she doesn't seem to thrilled, until her grandfather informs her of the title 'Battle Princess Madelyn'. All of a sudden she's interested because it's her name. Then you are thrust right into the gameplay. Overall, I don't have any criticisms about the story. It was straight to the point and flowed well. At first, I picked story mode in the main menu because I love a good story.

You enter some form of a dungeon, and from there you are tasked with some simple quests. Along the way you collect different items, such as coins, and break barrels with your sword. I feel that the start of this journey as Princess Madelyn was fantastic. It's after you complete the simple quests that I felt a little confused, and would have appreciated a little support in-game. I would like to let you know that Battle Princess Madelyn isn't the type a game to necessarily hold your hand though. There are characters you meet in-game that will simply repeat the same line over again should you go back and see if you missed something. I don't mind not having my hand held while playing a game, but at the same time, I was only within the first ten minutes or so of gameplay when I started having questions. Which, to be honest, was a little disappointing. Battle Princess Madelyn is a 2D side-scrolling adventure game, akin to Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, so it should be fairly self explanatory.

I love exploring new areas, talking to all the characters and collecting everything I see. I had retraced my steps and ensured I didn't miss anyone or anything. Unfortunately, after about a half hour of trying a number of different things to progress within the story, I was clueless as to what I was supposed to do, which made it extremely hard to want to go back and try again. But, determined to not give up so quickly, I made it through a little more of the story. I will warn you, the overall story does not get much better as you progress, which to me was again, disappointing.

After story mode, I was hoping and praying that arcade mode would be better. To my excitement, I felt I accomplished more and I was having fun in this mode instead. Although I died just as many times as I did in Story Mode, I at least died knowing what the concept of the mode was. You progress through the side-scrolling platforms while enemies like skeletons and these weird shooting plant things attack you, along with the big green serpents that come out from the water to eat you as you jump. You shoot them with your bow, and along the way you collect coins. Collecting coins and defeating enemies is how you increase your score. If an enemy were to defeat you, you would have to go back to the start of the level. I had many, many tries at arcade mode and loved every minute of it, I just wish that I had a similar experience in Story Mode that I had here. The overall environment of both Arcade and Story mode were fantastic and the enemies were engaging, even while being completely 2D. You can tell that real effort was made to make this 2D platformer look as retro as possible. Kudos to you Casual Bit Games.

Along with the fantastic environment and level design, the soundtrack that came with Battle Princess Madelyn in both modes was also fantastic. I felt like it fit the theme of battle, but still in that retro style. I really, really appreciated the amount of time and effort the team took in making Battle Princess Madelyn come to life, even if I felt gameplay was a bit of a hit or miss. As a gamer, I feel that Battle Princess Madelyn is not a game suited for those looking for a casual, relaxed gaming experience. I feel the gamers who will appreciate Battle Princess Madelyn the most would be those who like to grind and figure out puzzles.

Battle Princess Madelyn is a fast paced game where you must pay attention and read every single story line and character blurb you are given. If you don't read it all, you may miss out on critical information that will help you progress in the story. Based on both story mode and arcade mode in Battle Princess Madelyn, I would play it again, however I would stick with arcade mode. I must continue collecting coins and battling skeletons, see you later!

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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