[Review] Banner of the Maid – Nintendo Switch

Written by Thomas Haroldsen
  • Developer: Azure Flame Studio
  • Publisher: CE-Asia
  • Release Date: 12/08/2020
  • Price: $16.99
  • Review code provided by CE-Asia

Introducing: Banner of the Maid Nintendo Switch Review

I have played a lot of tactical RPGs over the years since Final Fantasy Tactics. There’s certainly no shortage of them on the Nintendo Switch. None have quite hit that feeling of nostalgia that comes rushing in when revisiting a classic that you grew up with. That is until I saw the opening for Banner of the Maid. Like an opened floodgate, memories of FF tactics washed over me. The game is distinctly its own and quickly sets itself apart but the opening cinematic screamed Final Fantasy Tactics. And for anyone who has read a lot of my reviews, I try my hardest to avoid comparing games as I like to spotlight the featured title without iconic juggernauts vying for the limelight. As I said though, Banner of the Maid stands on its own and manages to present a fresh take on a tried-and-true formula. Continue reading the review to see how it marches to its own beat.

Chargez – Vos Armes

Banner of the Maid has a unique setting. Taking place during the French Revolution, you’ll follow an unlikely heroine, Pauline Bonaparte. She graduated from an officer training program and is in the shadow of her successful brother, Napoleon. Not only does she have to prove her merit to herself, she has loyal followers and soldiers who rely on her and skeptics to worry about. Navigating the dangerous battlefield seems like a vacation compared to constantly being pulled in various directions by a tumultuous political landscape. Various factions have their own agendas and Pauline has to balance a relationship with each of them to find success. On top of that is the question of the mysterious Maids and the power they hold. Some call them witches while others see them as the saviors of France. In either case, women lack respect and Pauline learns this lesson time and time again.

I fell in love with the story in Banner of the Maid. Not only did it break a lot of molds in the SRPG genre, it was enriched with memorable characters and had a sprinkle of history. Few games have prompted me to explore times in the past as much as this one has. It’s clearly a work of fiction but it was intriguing nonetheless. I had to learn more about France in the late 18th century. Banner of the Maid progresses smoothly without bombarding the player with too many words or tedium. The story is well paced and engaging from start to finish.

Prenez – La Cartouche

Banner of the Maid is a Strategy Role-Playing Game. The gameplay mechanics aren’t earth shattering and they don’t have to be. For anyone familiar with this genre, they’ll feel right at home. The combat is turn-based on a map set up like a grid. Various terrain grants modifiers while the troops themselves are similar to the rock-paper-scissors method. One troop is advantageous against another but weak to something else. One unique aspect I enjoyed was the dynamic battlefield. At certain times, a rainstorm may roll in or day will turn to dusk. These map alterations brought more than just an aesthetic look. They alter unit behaviors and require you to adjust your strategy accordingly.

Though the gameplay isn’t necessarily fresh, it was absolutely fun. A lot of the enjoyment came from the troop types and the depiction of how combat is carried out. Each skirmish shows troops in rows and the combat is presented like early 19th century warfare. Instead of small battles with just a handful of heroes, Banner of the Maid gives the impression of a large scale war.

Cartouche – Dans Le Canon

The anime stylings accompanying Banner of the Maid have a clean and superb look to them. Even the animations are fluid with life behind each pixel. It’s a shame that the screen capture ability has been disabled. The backgrounds are absolutely stunning during cutscenes. The characters look gorgeous. Some of the female characters show a little too much skin which didn’t fit the narrative or style. Additionally the voice acting is well done with strong sound effects and music to back up the already strong presentation. 

Tirez La Baguette

Banner of the Maid looked beautiful on the big screen during the menus and cutscene interactions. Unfortunately that didn’t translate well to the actual gameplay. To clarify, the missions still looked marvelous but it was hard to tell what class the troops were and differentiate for key tactics in combat. For this reason, Banner of the Maid is best enjoyed in handheld mode. Other than the small font, I didn’t run into any other technical problems. It played smoothly and had fair load times.

En Joue – Feu

Using tried-and-true techniques, Banner of the Maid will appeal to fans of SRPGs. It’s true that the gameplay doesn’t push the envelope but it still felt new and engaging. This is one of the more memorable Strategy RPGs I’ve played in a long time. The story is strong with fluid combat and remarkable characters and fantastic art. The only issues I had with the game were rectified by altering my play style. That and not being able to capture pictures of just how beautiful the game can be. Newcomers to the genre shouldn’t fret about an overcomplicated system. Banner of the Maid is intuitive and easy to jump into. Some of the battles can be tough but I rarely felt the game was unfair.

Pros

  • Compelling Story
  • Engaging Combat
  • Beautiful Art and Characters

Cons

  • No Screen Capture
  • Not the best Optimization for Docked Mode

Verdict
Banner of the Maid is a marvel. For the asking price, it’s a must-buy.

Leave a Reply