After reading through negative reviews I came to the conclusion that they didn’t seem all that fair and so I decided to write this review which I will aim to keep reasonable short, concise and fair.
The first thing that I think I should mention is that this game is hard and, at times, extremely frustrating; however please don’t write it off just for this reason. With this being said it’s a game I am yet to just quit and forget about, all the deaths which occur seem fair and I was able to get on with the game even if I muttered a few choice words under my breath.
Let’s start with the controls! The default controls themselves are horrendous, but after I spent some time changing the binds around until I found a control scheme which fit the way I play I was able to play with some modicum of ease. Controllers are also supported however I haven’t played with one and so I can’t say anything regarding this method of input. The game also seems to be really picky about the location which you need to stand in order to pick up bodies and objects; you may first think that to pick up an item you need to stand to the side of it as you would in other games, however in Amazing Princess Sarah you are required to stand in the dead centre, which is either in front of it for a game object or on top of it for a body and if you are off slightly you just won’t pick it up – there is no room for error. This mechanic bugs me a lot. On a certain level you are required to pick up and then throw bodies and objects to defeat a boss whilst being on the run the entire time, if you miss even a couple of bodies you’re going to be out of luck and will have to restart the fight; coupled with this awkward mechanic it took me quite a few attempts and several swears to be victorious.
With regards to the controls again, even after rebinding them to suit my play style I still had a lot of trouble stopping in the right places because Sarah seems to have banana peels for shoes, causing her to slide and have trouble stopping where you want her to as well as accurately performing jumps, however that last one might just be because I’m terrible.
I also noted that a quote from the review by digitallydownloaded.net
described the game as “One of the best Castlevania-inspired titles”
. If they were referring to the awkward controls that these generations of games had then they are dead on, unlike the jumps I attempted to make.
I know what you’re probably thinking now. “Why would I want to spend my time playing a game with bad controls and awkward mechanics? Why should I bother buying this game now?” Well, allow me to continue.
Despite having extremely awkward controls and mechanics the game is very enjoyable and takes absolutely no prisoners regarding the mechanics and enemies. Save points in this game are statues which automatically save the game as soon as you are close enough, however the trouble with this is that the levels are fairly large and the statues scarce. This means you may have to clear a large section of the level to get to a save point and if you die before you manage to reach one you go straight back to your last save point or, if you haven’t reached one on that level yet, back to the start. You have a set amount of health which increases as you level up and as far as I am aware there is no way to restore your health midgame other than getting a Castlevania-style heart to drop from a defeated enemy or a destroyed game object, however this seems a fairly uncommon occurrence and eve then your health isn’t replenished by much. This isn’t too bad as the enemies don’t deal a great amount of damage but the enemies who do can easily be avoided or killed from a safe position, in fact the only way you die instantly is to pitfalls deaths.
The game has a variety of different enemies ranging from zombies and skeletons to demonettes and fire elementals each of which have their own attacking style. When an enemy is killed you have a window of time to pick up the body before it fades away to use it as a weapon, when you want to use it as a weapon you throw it using the key you normally use to attack, when the body collides with a solid instance it actives in a unique way for each enemy. I won’t say anything else regarding this in fear of spoilers and to allow you, a potential player, to find out for yourselves and figure out in what situation a specific body would be beneficial. The final enemy I will mention are the Bats, which are seemingly everywhere. There is what appears to be an infinite number of bats flying about on each level in fixed paths and positions whose sole purpose is to distract and infuriate the player by dealing damage to Sarah and knocking her off the platform she just jumped too all the way down to the bottom, this definitely adds to the difficult and charm as well as adding a Castlevania-style feel to the game. If you don’t spend at least 20 minutes trying to navigate a set of platforms in one particular level then you must have hacked the game.
Sarah’s only weapon is a sword which doesn’t do a great deal of damage but can perform critical hits which make up for this. Environmental objects can also be picked up such as grandfather clocks, tables and chairs which can all be thrown at enemies to deal greater amount of damage as well as being able to perform critical hits which deal a very high amount of damage to all enemies. This mechanic is something very out of place in a game about a Princess but it works and it adds to enjoyment of the player and without it the gameplay itself wouldn’t stand up to much.
Amazing Princess Sarah is a very standard 2D platform game with slight RPG elements. Slight elements being you have health which increases as you level up, you gain XP for defeating enemies and you are able to level up to an infinite level. Your goal is to save your father who was seduced and kidnapped by Lilith and to do this you must fight your way through 5 castles. Why 5 castles? The only reason I can think of as to why the developers would make it castles is due to her being a Princess and her father the King. But why would Sarah need to fight her way through 5 different castles to rescue her father? Doesn’t she know where Lilith’s castle is? No could be an appropriate answer for this question, but the concept itself is fairly weak, flawed and quite standard when it comes to these types of games. However this again adds to the nostalgic feel that you are playing an older game.
The game itself is also quite humorous and got a couple of giggles out of me. For one the characters breasts are animated along with her sprite meaning that they move as you move, this is the same for the other female enemies in the game such as the fire elementals and demonettes who also scream for help when you pick them up to throw them. The bosses are very different to what you might expect and are completely out of place for a Princess game, but that’s what makes this game what it is and that is a fun, challenging, frustrating 2D platform game that you’ll want to continue playing until you complete it.
I would recommend this game
if you like 2D platforming games, don’t mind the fact there is no way to change the difficulty which is essentially based on your own skill which builds up as you play, and if you don’t mind the story and enemies which make little to no sense.
If you don’t like difficult and challenging games or 2D sprite based platformer games then this game isn’t for you.
I do believe that anybody can enjoy this game if they are willing to spend time playing it and that if you see it on sale you should definitely pick it up if you’re unsure about it.