Shieldmaiden: Remix Edition (Xbox)
When the machines eventually take over, how do you want to go? Don’t really fancy being a slave to them to be honest. Anyway in Shieldmaiden Remix Edition, the end of the world has already started and they’ve taken over. How do we fare in this title? Let’s have a look.
Self published and developed by Dumativa, Shieldmaiden Remix Edition comes straight from Brazil, originally released in March 2020 on Steam and other PC platforms, it finally landed on Nintendo Switch and Xbox Consoles in December 2022.
Shieldmaiden lets you play as Asta, where you’re on the mission to find your missing sister, Roza. However an event known as the Cataclysm has devastated the planet. With an unknown origin to this disaster which has left the world in pieces, you travel through the city of Modigard, with your energy bracelet left to you by your sister and an AI named ROMIR, you have to find your sister. Story is relayed to you in all text based popups, which is fine for the most part, this is mostly given through interactions with characters in the game, mostly the enemies you’ll come across and your AI companion. You’re also left to be able to find extra story parts hidden across the map, these are usually an item which is found and a log is brought to your attention.
Visuals are strong, with some nice animation on the character models, enemies look good but aren’t hugely varied, mostly variations of little bots and droids with some more classical robotic looks, bosses looks interesting if a little vague with a few being a bit similar looking and having a pretty identical move set for the majority, environments have a lot going on, very cyberpunk with some tinges of a modern dystopian world, some nice paralax scrolling in the backgrounds to get a nice feeling of motion going on.
Each level has a feel of it’s main influence Mega Man, most levels are visually similar with no differences in themes like the latter game, however most of the city scapes you play through are full of tough platforming and waves upon waves of enemies, obviously the obstacles in your way can be either as I’ve described, but you do have some additional tools to help navigate these areas, a double jump is available from outset, which will help you get them harder to reach areas, but also a wall jump, and an air dash, pretty standard for the most part, but these work mostly well, with some needing to be timed to perfection to get you to where you need to be.
Movement and combat are a bit of a negative, movement can be frustrating with no dpad support (on xbox at least), combat really suffers. Your weapon (An energy based bracelet), acts as your enter arsenal, with it being melee, projectile, and shield, this isn’t upgradable nor do you have access to alternate weaponry, which for me is a bit of a red flag, variety here would open the game up and play how you wanted. Your bracelet is based around a rechargable energy meter, and a special attack can be used after absorbing certain attacks. Unfortunately, your main melee attack has little to no reach leaving you to resort to your projectile, which for the most part is fine and similar to a boomerang, this uses part of your energy, so can leave you vulnerable to attack. Especially when your shield also uses this energy too, so you can’t block your way out of all situations. Again your dodge movement is also based on this energy, so being tactical is paramount to your success.
Soundtrack is good, some nice retro 80s synth and a bit of a classical mix, this is very reminiscent of most retro looking titles, with a good throwback feel which is complimented by more recent synthy computer based instrument use, however the rest of the audio suite leaves a little to be desired. Rather than leaving characters without audio, Shieldmaiden has them making small noises after most lines, which in the bigger interactions can be a little annoying.
Shieldmaiden was never going to set the world on fire, but some nice visuals really help, and if you’re after something a bit more modern from a retro styled platformer, it’s not too bad. Unfortunately combat for me let me down, with little to no variety, and once you’re done with the game you’re not likely to revisit it.
A decent opener but not much meat on the bones.
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