17th Mar2020

‘Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Chris Thomas

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I am rubbish at “bullet hell” shooters. There are two main reasons for this, the first is, despite playing video games for over 30 years, I am not very good at video games. This has been masked somewhat by the fact that modern games are far easier than the games of my childhood. The second reason is failing at things makes me feel stupid and my natural reaction is to stop and go and do something else (possibly while sobbing).

Consequently, I didn’t do as well as I should have at school, and, as I mentioned, I am rubbish at bullet hell shooters like Sisters Royale.

Bullet hell shooters are all about skill, patience and learning patterns. The boss encounters are the purest form, where you take what you have learned, mowing down countless enemies and evading them, or their bullets and ramp that up by 100. Suffer a single hit from an enemy and, Sonic the Hedgehog-style, your coins fly out of you and flash, daring you to dart between the enemy bullets to pick them up again before they disappear for good.

Sisters Royale does seem punishing however, for example Ice means you can’t control your character properly, and with dozens of bullets and enemies flying at you, really the only thing you have going for you is being able to precisely control your character carefully, so taking that away from the player seems incredibly mean (theoretically you could avoid a lot of the ice, but if an enemy, or bullet hits you it is pretty much curtains, so usually you are forced onto the ice and then, surely it is just luck how you get on from there).

Sisters Royale is “very Japanese” it is all bright, neon colours, inappropriately dressed young ladies and a “plot” I can’t quite follow regarding “love rivals” and fighting against their own conscience. Sadly, a good portion of the screen space was wasted, perhaps due to the aspect ratio, and this was a shame. I see this game as a lost Sega Saturn game, the graphics are not bad, they are quite crisp and clear but these days you will see much better on your smartphone. The music and sound is fine.

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Due to the (modern) development of infinite credits, I was able to finish the game with 3 of the 4 characters available, each of which have different modes of fire and different special weapons that vary game play quite a lot.

Purists will no doubt tell you that infinite credits completely miss the point of this game, without suffering and without learning the achievements of this game are meaningless. I didn’t master this game, and therefore I have no right to finish it, and to some point I agree with this. I played Sisters Royale for a handful of hours, had fun while doing so, then cast it aside. To live is to find meaning in suffering, right? Well.. I am a busy man, and I am an impatient man, I am never going to be the person that masters a bullet hell shooter…

But I can certainly have fun with them for a handful of hours, sheepishly hitting the “continue” button as rapidly as the boss spews forth a sea of colourful missiles!

Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire is developed by Alfa System and published by Chorus Worldwide. The game is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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