November 18, 2015 9:30 AM | Joel Couture
The evil wizard in Battle Princess Madelyn starts right off by killing Madelyn's dog, Fritzy, instantly making me hate him more than pretty much any other villain in games. Oh yeah, and he kidnaps her family or something, too. Whatever. Madelyn may only be a knight in training, but that doesn't stop her from strapping some armor on and storming the wizard's fortress, using throwing spears, knives, and anything else she can get her hands on as she fights the skeletons, knights, and other ghouls that get in her way. Fritzy isn't real keen on being dead, either, and will help Madelyn on her journey in her own ghostly ways in the newest game from Causal Bit Games, developers of Insanity's Blade.
The Ghouls N' Ghosts inspiration is unmistakable. That's because this game came about in part due to a request from the developer's daughter to be in that game and fight "Green Head" (Shielder, the first boss). This desire got Christopher Obritsch, Creative Director of Causal Bit Games, working on creating his own spin on the game with his daughter as the lead character. It also gave him an opportunity to include a story he wrote about his own dog passing away when he was nine years old. It's not long before these cute beginnings give way to swamps and crypts filled with living corpses, poisonous plants, and malicious skeletons, though.
Battle Princess Madelyn uses a similar control scheme and weapons as Ghouls N' Ghosts, giving players an array of throwing weapons and suits of armor. With every hit, you lose one of your suits, and if you're hit while unprotected (when Madelyn is in her pajamas), you're done. Well, not really. The developers have tossed the original game's difficulty, letting players accrue spirit orbs from kills to fill up a revival bar. If you have enough of the bar full when you die, you resurrect instantly with no lost progress. It's in keeping that bar full as you fight through the countryside that the game gets challenging, especially when tangling with huge bosses. Fritzy wants to help too, and can attack enemies for you or slow down bosses, adding some more depth to the combat.
The first two stages from Battle Princess Madelyn are already showing a solid battle system and some fun mechanics that minimize the frustration the original games caused. It's early on in development, though, so it'll be a while before we get to join Madelyn and Fritzy on their full adventure to kill that wizard that I hate so, so much. Still, from this early glance, that adventure is looking pretty good.