I’ve been a fan of shoot ‘em up games for as long as I can remember, and I’m always down for taking a crack at the latest ones out there. One of them just happens to be a cute looking but challenging adventure by the name of Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire, which is from the same team (Alfa System) behind another fan favorite shoot ‘em up, Castle of Shikigami. If you’re a fan of the genre or just enjoy challenging games, you’ll want to join in the sibling rivalry here.
Released earlier this year on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows, it’s now available on Xbox One and is developer Alfa System’s first shooter in over a decade since Castle of Shikigami III. Their latest follows five sisters who have been blessed with awesome powers and are supposed to come together and defend the world from evil, but they can’t stand to be around each other. When they finally seem to team up together, everyone in the land is happy and thinks they’ll save the world from evil at last. Sadly that’s not the case as they’re together to fight over the affections of guy. You get to select one of these five sisters, each with their own playstyle, and set off through five stages on a quest to claim the guy for yourself, all while defeating evil monsters and the other sisters determined to keep you from your love. There’s also a $3 DLC that adds another character and their own story should you want more after playing through the main campaign.
Despite this adventure taking place with characters walking on the ground instead of flying in the air, if you’re familiar with most shoot ‘em ups, you’ll find the typical mechanics in places here. There’s an auto fire button for your basic attack, a special attack that places you at risk but does a lot of damage, and the tried and true bomb attack that comes in handy when the bullets get a little too hellish. Speaking of risk, there’s a bonus system in place called the Tension Bonus System (or TBS, and the not the cable channel) that rewards you for being close to enemies and their attacks as you kill them, which greatly increases your bonus points to rack up a high score.
This system also increases the power of your attack, and once you’ve done it so many times, it’ll also uncover some secret fairies you can snag for more bonus points. I knew I was going to enjoy this game as soon as I started playing, as the smooth framerate, cute artwork and graphics, and catchy audio kept me in the groove. If there’s any gripes to be had, it would be that the difficulty can tend to spike at parts, especially when they add elements such as ice that makes your character slip and slide all over the place or a stage where you have to fight in darkness for the majority of it. These are things you don’t want in a shoot ‘em up where you need to be precise with your movement/placement to get through enemies and dodge hundreds of projectiles.
Regardless, Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire is still a good time to be had by fans of the genre and those looking for a challenging game to play. It’s on the short side even with the DLC, and the unnecessary elements added in for difficultly can be annoying. Thankfully it’s low price tag of $13 (even cheaper when on sale), its colorful and cute visuals, and catchy tunes are sure to see you through this adventure. Just do yourself a favor and stay on these ladies’ good side.