Games Reviews

Battle Princess Madelyn Review (PS4)

Man. This game is friggin’ hard.

That being said, it definitely isn’t a complaint. In fact, there really aren’t many complaints when it comes to Causal Bit Games’ Battle Princess MadelynThis colorfully pixelated platformer will fill that nostalgic itch for fans of Ghosts n’ Goblins or the original Metroid, but prepare yourself for some small frustrations along the way.

Battle Princess Madelyn is an action platformer developed by Causal Bit Games released for Steam (Dec. 6) and PlayStation 4, Xbox One (Dec. 20), and Switch (Jan. 7).

This charming love letter to the classic arcade games of old puts you in the shoes of the young, brave maiden Madelyn. This knight-in-training must put her skills to the test when the threat of an evil wizard looms over her family and the lands of her people. With her ethereal, puppy companion, Madelyn will trek through dank caves and festering swamps to battle skeletons, witches, and giant boars in hopes of bringing peace to her land.

Upon starting Battle Princess Madelyn, you’ll quickly discover what a nostalgic treat this indie title is to the senses. The graphics and artistic design are pretty amazing. Colorful, pixelated masterpieces are popular at the moment, and Battle Princess definitely holds its place along titles likes Celeste or Children of MortaAnd the obvious love and care put into Battle Princess Madelyn doesn’t stop with the graphics. The music and sound design for each level are just fantastic. The visuals and music work together swimmingly to create a nostalgic experience that still feels very modern– not an easy task.

Besides looking and sounding good, Battle Princess Madelyn plays incredibly well too. Solving puzzles, hopping from platform to platform, and tossings daggers or spears at your enemies all come together in a totally addicting sort of way. Now, that being said, don’t expect this to be an easy game by any means. The Causal Bit team took their inspiration very seriously, and because of this, I would count on playing the same section over and over again. While frustratingly difficult, it is almost impossible to put down, and the sweet taste of victory is made all the better after completing a more difficult section.

However, my one main complaint comes in the form of a gameplay issue: a serious lack of direction. Characters in the game will tell you where you’ll need to go to continue the story, but it’s often pretty difficult to find where the locations are exactly. And with how often you die (and you will totally die), it can get pretty frustrating in trying to find your way. While I understand this is in the same vein as some of Battle Princess Madelyn greatest inspirations, I could totally see this lack of direction pushing away players who aren’t used to the genre. However, any player who has some time on their hands and is desperate for a challenge, Battle Princess Madelyn will keep you busy!

All in all, Battle Princess Madelyn is a super impressive piece of work. Even if you’ll groan in despair from your 50th death, Madelyn and her ghostly pup will keep you moving forward with hope and positivity (and I think we could all use a bit of that these days).

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