I’ll admit it, after seeing the cover art for Amazing Princess Sarah I can’t say that I had very high hopes, and my feelings were backed up whilst watching the intro scene and seeing the female characters bounce around like the girls from Dead Or Alive. There was no dialogue present, with the exception of an exclamation mark and some love hearts, so I can only guess that the king was infatuated and led astray to some kinky sex dungeon, and it’s my job as his daughter to go and get him back.
Amazing Princess Sarah is another retro-style platformer, with obvious influence taken from Castlevania for visual style and what felt like a cross between Castlevania and Mega Man for jumping mechanics. It’s a bit difficult to comment on graphics and sound for these kind of games, you get exactly what you’d expect from a retro-inspired platformer so I wasn’t disappointed, and at the same time wasn’t overly impressed.
The game itself is really fun to play, but really infuriating. If you’ve experienced games like Castlevania or Mega Man then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Try jumping across platforms which disappear a second after you’ve stepped on them, all whilst bats are randomly flying across the screen trying to knock you off. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I only got to part-way through the third level, after battling through what felt like a quarter of it and spotting the lever I needed to hit in the distance (well, across the screen), a bat clipped me mid-jump and sent me falling through a hole, but not to my death, to the beginning of the level! It’s clear that was put there for a reason, but whilst some players might brush it off and go again, it was midnight and I’d lost all patience so called it quits. I’ve got say though, after repeatedly retrying on the second level boss it was really satisfying when I finally killed it, so this game isn’t without reward.
You’ve got a numerical health gauge i.e. 48/60, and you can pick up hearts by hitting the torches along the way. You’ve also got a character level, and each time you earn enough XP to level up your maximum health increases. If you’re finding the game a bit too difficult you can actually grind your levels up quite easily by killing as many enemies as possible, killing yourself, then respawn and repeat. There’s also the option of restarting the game from the beginning but keeping your XP if you want to boost your level even more, but I can’t see why anyone would ever want to go back to the beginning. Just bare in mind that having all the health in the world wont help you on any disappearing platforms when you get knocked off!
In terms of longevity I believe the game is actually quite short. As I only made it to level 3 (which took me just over an hour) I checked out a couple of walkthroughs and it looks like there are only 5 levels in total which is quite surprising. There is also no multiplayer or co-op available (as is usual with this type of game) which narrows down it’s audience even further. This is a difficult game to recommend, as it will only appeal to the most hardcore platform players and even then it seems to lack content and any kind of proper narrative.