Title: Sisters Royal: Five Sisters Under Fire
Developer: Alfa System
Publisher: Chorus Worldwide Games
Available On: Nintendo Switch, PS4
Release Date: January 30th, 2020
Version Tested: Switch
Where to Buy it: Switch Online
Sisters Royal is the first release in 12 years from Alfa System, the team behind Castle of Shikigami. I have never played the game mentioned above, but it has its fans. Sisters Royal is a vertical scrolling Shoot ‘em up in the same vein and uses similar play mechanics. I am going to struggle a bit with this review, as I found many things wrong with the game. Perhaps I don’t understand it, or there’s a chance I do not see something that is completely obvious and fundamentally amazing. As far as I can tell, Sisters Royal is a repetitive, non-sensical romp that dips its toe, if not whole foot into the pool of misogyny.
There will be spoilers (if you can call them that)
Let me address the bluntest comment made above. The game, in my mind, is incredibly misogynistic. It’s about five sisters who were prophesied to be the only ones who can bring down a dark evil. The problem is that the sisters hate one another with a passion, but they all love the same man. All five sisters want to marry the angel Yashin and will fight one another for that privilege. That’s the game. Five women are fighting over a man. Five scantily clad sisters all trying to compete for the affection of another. I should also mention this man doesn’t know who they are.
Once you defeat your sisters, you then must fight Yashin because he doesn’t want to marry you. There is a twist, though! Once you bring down Yashin (spoiler alert), the dark evil ends up being inside him the whole time…gasp! The sisters unite together to defeat the evil, but you don’t really see this; it just happens, and the game ends.
I know I have no right to say what is and what isn’t sexist or misogynistic, but damn, this is up there. Perhaps I am wrong, and for that, I hope someone can tell me what I am missing. As the miles of exposition scrolled past my eyes before any gameplay, all I could do was wonder who came up with this.
Now that I got that out of my system let me move on to gameplay. Players can choose to play as either of the five sisters. Each one of them has their own unique attack(s). If you were playing Contra, I would say they all have their style of gun.
Each level is basically the same. You walk as the screen scrolls past you, and waves of enemies hurl an obscene number of projectiles your way. The boards end with a boss fight, where you have to take down your sisters. Once you beat the other four ladies, you fight Yashin, and then that’s it. There’s nothing else. I beat Sisters Royal in fifteen minutes. I could have then restarted it and played through with each sister, but I didn’t feel a compulsion to do so.
The number of projectiles that fly at your face is quite impressive and overwhelming. There is no way to avoid all of them, and you will die. You will die often. Once you lose all your lives, you can easily continue, but your score up to that point is wiped out. More on all that later. Making a game hard is one thing, but if you can continue an infinite amount of times, it takes the edge off of it. Losing your score and coins kind of sucks, but I never really cared.
The game employs two distinct systems of play. The Tension Bonus Systems (TBS) is a point multiplier system based on distance from enemies. The Power-shot System boosts attack levels. Players must master both.
The TBS system means your score and the number of coins received multiplies based on your distance to enemies. Get closer to the chaos; get more points. I couldn’t tell you what the point of the coins is, aside from adding to your score when finishing a level. Get hit enough, and you lose the coins you have collected, and you start again.
When the TBS system multiplies by two within a specific time, secret fairies pop out. I did see this, but again, I couldn’t tell you what the point is. I collected them, and nothing happened; at least I couldn’t tell if anything happened.
Playing the Game
The game is repetitive. I say this a lot in my reviews, but Sisters Royal doesn’t offer a whole lot of substance. The stages are all very similar, the enemies don’t differ much, and the threat level is always the same. I thought maybe each sister would have her own unique stages and enemies, but alas, this was not to be.
Granted, I did find some sisters more enjoyable to play than others. I found specific attributes made stages easier. This didn’t increase my enjoyment tremendously but did add something different.
The whole power and TBS system mechanic is supposed to help players achieve higher and higher scores. By mastering the in-game systems, gamers can amass pretty substantial scores. There are global Sisters Royal leader boards, but I didn’t much really see the need to try.
A Positive Comment
I highly enjoyed the music. I would say it’s a cross between techno and electronica, but it worked. The music made the whole experience seem more intense and riveting. I thought the game also looked excellent. I may not agree with the story or subject material, but the artwork that went into the project is impressive. I will always give credit where credit is due, and the artists who worked on Sisters Royal did a great job.
Verdict: I feel I ripped this game apart. I am never trying to be cruel intentionally, but I didn’t see the potential in this title. There are some out there that will love to best their high scores, and I won’t begrudge them for doing it. There is a certain appeal to the chaotic nature of the game that will draw individual gamers in. Sisters Royal, to me, is a misogynistic romp with little point. If you like vertical scrolling shooters, I can recommend a handful of old-school and newer titles for your playing pleasure.
- Great soundtrack and sound design
- Beautiful artwork and imagery
- The storyline is very misogynistic
- Gets boring and repetitive
- Not much substance