[Review] Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire – Nintendo Switch

Written by Joachim Ziebs
  • Developer: Alfa System
  • Publisher: Chorus Worldwide Games
  • Release Date: 30/01/2020
  • Price: £11.69 / $13.99
  • Review code provided by Brown Betty

Meet the family, end up in a bullet storm

Alfa System is not unknown in the world of shmups and bullet hells. They were responsible for Castle of Shikigami III, for example. After twelve years, Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire is the newest entry in their portfolio and now available on the Nintendo Switch.

An ancient prophecy in the land of Pultima speaks of five sisters combining their magic to overcome the archenemy Seytan. The sisters were consequently born but–as happens in families–quickly despised one another, separated and left the people of Pultima in tears. Now Sonay, Selma, Ece, Nur and Lale have come together again because they all fell for the same man and need to fight out who of them is going to woo him into marriage. And this is the moment where the player takes over.

Bullets, bullets everywhere…

You pick one of the sisters, choose the desired difficulty level and then start your fight through five stages to finally win the heart of Yashin. Each of the sisters uses her magic differently. Nur, for example, can use it to form homing projectiles while Sonay prefers straight forward annihilation. The special abilities are also different for each sister and liven up the game. Strategies that were helpful with one sister will not work while playing as another.

Your goal is to defeat each of your sisters in her own domain and your own conscience in yours. To reach your sister, you need to walk through wave after wave of enemies, eliminate them, keep an eye on their bullets and also on your surroundings. As you walk through the stages, obstacles like wells, trees or walls can trap you in the least desirable circumstances: They are not only decorative background details! Finish off your sisters to reach the ending: blissful married life.

Apart from playing as each of the different sisters in three difficulty settings, there are no other game modes. This is a shame, as I would have liked to team up with a sister in couch co-op. There are online leaderboards to which you can send your highscores, if you are so inclined, but any other form of multiplayer is missing.

…and not a way to dodge!

Sisters Royale is a beautiful game. The colours are vibrant, the animations are fluid. The character designs show some skin but are still far away from being fanservicy. You should like chibi characters, though, because that’s the style used in the stages. Not that you will see a lot of them with all the bullets flying everywhere.

What bothered me is the fact that unless you play on a big TV or with your joycons detached and the Switch propped up in a portrait orientation, the screen estate used for actual gameplay is rather small. This is a general problem of all shmups unless they opt for a horizontal design, you have to keep in mind.

The music is upbeat and jazzy and each of the stages got its own fitting track. It keeps you engaged and motivated to navigate through your enemies. The music used during the conversation phases, however, quickly got on my nerves and I was forced to skip those parts. (Ok, some of the bad writing is also to blame for that.)

All is fair and love means war!

Let me focus on the one thing that makes Sisters Royale stand out from the shmup crowd: the possibility to fine-tune the difficulty to your liking. Within the options you can change the bullet size from smaller to larger, the bullet speed from slower to faster and the TBS range from smaller to larger. This can make a huge difference for inexperienced players as well as hardcore bullet hell veterans and makes the game more accessible to all.

Conclusion

With the growing number of shmups on the Switch, Sisters Royale is one of the better games you can get. The story itself is neglectable, but serves to get you into the fighting mood. The fine-tuning of the difficulty levels makes the lack of multiplayer bearable.

Pros

  • Very accessible shmup
  • Difficulty can be fine-tuned to your liking
  • Story is neglectable: if you want to experience a good story, a bullet hell is not the game for you anyway

Cons

  • Dialogue between characters gets annoying after a while
  • Story is neglectable, its so cliche and ridiculous as well as badly written that it is best overlooked

Verdict

A shmup for all of us. Go and get it!

4/5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *