Battle Princess Madelyn – Review
Follow Genre: Action/Adventure Platformer
Developer: Casual Bit Games Inc.
Publisher: Casual Bit Games Inc.
Platform: PC, Xbox One, Switch, PS4
Tested on: PC

Battle Princess Madelyn – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Gorgeous 16-bit graphics, perfect soundtrack, fast-paced gameplay, challenging and rewarding
Bad: No map, no quest markers, backtracking
User Score
7.0
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (4 votes cast)

This Action/Adventure Platformer is a Kickstarter project developed and published by Casual Bit Games Inc. It is inspired by Capcom’s Ghouls ’n Ghosts (1985) and feels like an authentic old-school game, which is currently available on Steam, Xbox one, Nintendo Switch and PS4. The story is written by a professional author of children’s stories and the main character is based on the real daughter of one of the developers, named Madelyn of course.  Get ready for an epic fast paced adventure, reminiscent of a bygone era of Platform gaming.

Story

A cutscene starts us off in the present. A bed-ridden Madelyn is playing “Buildycraft” on her tablet when her grandfather, appropriately named “Grampy”, visits her and proposes to read to her from a book he brought. Madelyn reluctantly agrees and so the grandfather tells the story of the epic adventure of a brave Princess Madelyn. Cue the actual game. 

You play as Princess Madelyn and together with her helpful pet ghost-dog “Fritzy”, you embark on a quest to save your family and kingdom from an all-present evil. You start at the edge of Castle of the O’ Lonergems, where you begin your adventure, slashing away at numerous monsters and epic bosses, travelling through swamps, caves, icy regions and many other beautifully crafted places, all the way to the root of all evil that plagues Madelyn’s Kingdom.  

Graphics 

The graphics are of astounding 16-bit pixelated design. Each level looks distinctively unique with different designs, themes and monsters. The bosses are huge, they look amazing and each of them blends in seamlessly with their respective level. There isn’t much to say except that the graphics capture that nostalgic feel of early 90’s Arcade games perfectly.

Sound

The sounds and music of Battle Princess Madelyn are beautiful and fit the game perfectly. For the audio you can choose between a more sweeping orchestral soundtrack, default in story mode or you can switch it up to a more retro themed sound with the arcade setting, feeling that bit more like the old school arcade games it tries to celebrate. Each level has its own track and it distinctively enriches the atmosphere of each level. You’re instantly transported back to when you were a kid in the arcade, putting in coin after coin while loud beepy chiptune music plays from the machine. 

Gameplay

Battle Princess Madelyn is an Action/Adventure Platformer. In the main menu, you can choose between two different modes; Story Mode and Arcade. The latter is clearly meant for the hardcore gamer, since you start the game with three lives and that’s it. You try to make a nice high score before ultimately hitting a game over, meaning you’ll have to start all over again. It is a nice throwback to old school gaming and the preferred mode for hardcore gamers. 

In Story mode, the game offers you a real challenge, but ultimately not too punishing, meaning you can never really die. Halfway through each level you will get a checkpoint and the game autosaves, making it accessible to all types of gamers. When the game notices you are speeding through a level, it will spawn (and respawn) more enemies. This way the game perfectly scales to the skill of its player. 

The gameplay isn’t revolutionary but it does what it set out to do. You travel the world, fighting many enemies whilst using many different weapons, collecting gold to buy upgrades, finding sweet loot and facing an enormous challenging Boss at the end of each level. Nothing new right? But what makes Battle Princess Madelyn so unique and enjoyable is its level design en replayability. 

As you progress, you’ll come across doors and places you won’t be able to visit unless you find a certain item further in the game. Once you unlock the option to fast travel you can jump from level to level, completing side-quests and exploring hidden areas. 

You can always revisit your Castle where you meet many unique characters that give you side quests, such as requests to kill a certain boss or to fetch an item hidden somewhere in the world. In your personal chambers you’ll find a Bestiary you can complete by finding all the collectibles, for all you completionists out there. The boss fights are one the most enjoyable features and offer a real challenge. You will almost never defeat the giant monstrosities on your first try, not before learning their attack patterns and finding a way to exploit their weaknesses. 

One very important flaw is that some items that are incremental to having a positive experience are hidden in secret locations or are rewards for completing optional bosses. A perfect example hereof are the double-jump boots that you gain in an early level as a reward by defeating an optional boss. If you don’t get them, the game immediately becomes much more difficult and you will curse yourself when you stumble upon them many hours later into the game. (True story)

Some other minor gripes we can come across during our play-through would the be lack of direction. You can’t really keep track of your pending quests and without a map to navigate, you will find yourself lost from time to time, in pursuit of completing the many side-quests. You rarely have sense of where you are in the level and because the levels are very open and locations sometimes feel very similar you can easily get lost and jump to your death. Enemies sometimes spawn out of nowhere and at places you’ve cleared before, and lowering your guard briefly can easily lead you to a respawn back to the beginning of the level. The latter goes without saying, that it can lead to a bit of frustration. The game isn’t linear and that is a good thing, but sometimes the backtracking becomes a bit tedious and repetitive. 

Conclusion

Battle Princess Madelyn surely isn’t groundbreaking in any way, but it makes for a very enjoyable experience, celebrating an era of arcade gaming. It has a few areas where it could use some improvement, such as a map and a bit more direction would be very much appreciated. You can encounter a few bugs, but certainly nothing all to gamebreaking. The graphics and music are its most impressive feats and its gameplay has just the right amount of challenge and different mechanics to stay interesting. The ending is satisfying and offers a bit of replay value. It’s accessible to almost all audiences, although it will certainly appeal more to a more mature audience that played the old-school Platform games in some way or another and welcome a bit of old-school challenge. It feels like a perfect throwback to when you were playing your first Arcade games, more than 20 years ago and captures that gaming era perfectly. The game is a solid 8 to 10 hours of gameplay, although, if you aim to collect everything and finish each side quest, the game will presumably take you a couple of hours more. It isn’t overpriced and it definitely makes for a perfect game to play through during the holidays.

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Battle Princess Madelyn - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
GlennVR
GlennVR


"I do not have the gospel of faith to share with you today. I have, and I offer.. the Gospel of Doubt." - G.O.D

1 Comment

  1. […] Playing as the female protagonist Princess Madelyn, you venture through the kingdom with Madelyn’s trust but ghostly dog Fritzy. Together, you must solve puzzles and slash away at monsters and epic bosses. A full review of Battle Princess Madelyn can be found here. […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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