Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep74: Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt

Heal the sick and get married in this retro-styled shooter adventure!

Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt is an adventure title made by Ludosity in four days during a game jam competition. You play as the title character on a quest to heal the sick, find your missing friend and save the prince from a variety of illnesses.

The game features retro graphics and music reminiscent of the classic Ultima series and NES rpgs and adventures, but is not a roleplaying game. You do technically have a number of stats that improve as you progress (such as power, regeneration, etc.), but the game plays more like a hybrid of Zelda adventure with a dash of bullet hell shoot-em-up (especially towards the end).

Talking with the various NPCs throughout the game often leads to a battle screen (aka "Healing Mode") where you deal with that character's particular problems by eliminating the room's enemies. You have a rapid-fire auto-attack that shoots in whatever direction you're facing. This feature isn't always a boon though, as the battle screens typically have destructible terrain that you may want to use as cover, but are quickly destroyed by projectiles. In all, it's a pretty fair trade for not having to blister your thumbs, and being able to destroy obstacles adds variety to map design. You also have a limited number of grenade-like "flask" attacks that you can use each battle, which are useful for damaging groups of enemies and bypassing obstacles.

Princess Remedy is a fairly short and somewhat linear adventure, but that's quite forgivable considering the limited time in which it was created. I should point out that it does indeed feature some optional and varied content, such as finding your missing friend or choosing who to marry. Also, the game's length could very well be considered a positive, as you're not bogged down with filler content to pad it out. The title ends up being more focused and polished as a result, as seen by the smooth difficulty curve during battles.

Controls are easy to understand and responsive, and the game can be played by either keyboard or controller. I can't find a lot to complain about with this title, so I suppose here is where I can provide some mostly nitpicky suggestions. Getting out of the stats screen using the controller isn't terribly intuitive. The first time I tried, I was stuck in the menu until I moved the cursor away from the "Options", "Save" and "Save & Quit" selections. 

I would've liked to have seen this as a twin-stick control style, though I imagine that would've been tougher to pull off for keyboard play without feeling clunky. This would've made the battles significantly easier too, meaning they would all need rebalanced. At that point though, it's pretty much a different game, so perhaps it's for the best things are as is.

If you have an hour to spare and want to play a fun, quirky adventure from start to finish, Princess Remedy delivers!

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