Damsel is published and developed by Screwtape Studios, it being their first venture in to big screen gaming – having make most of their games before hand exclusively for mobile. The game is a heavily stylised side scrolling platformer, very fast paced with you having to time shots so you don’t kill hostages. This was my biggest downfall playing through.
You play as Damsel, an agent hunting vampires through the city. The story is told through a comic book style and really gives the game its own uniqueness. Each level has a similar feel to it, but the game does get progressively harder as it brings new enemies into the mix the further you get through. Each action or kill grants a certain amount or points and around the map though there are skulls which give you a stacking buff – for example, a combo multiplier, enabling you to score more and more points through the map.
Graphically, the game has a very nice art style with great animations for explosions and the air dash. I will say though, that at first the game feels very loose on a controller – your character is very floaty to control. After a short while, however, you get used to it, and get into the flow of the game. I did find myself revisiting similar map assets throughout the campaign, but vampire, hostage and skull locations do mix up the navigation of the map.
Also throughout the game you are killing vampires, saving hostages or hacking computers to a very 80’s synth rock theme which fits well with the art style. In game audio is brilliant also, with the shotgun sounding punchy and explosions nice and loud, really getting you into the game.
The game starts you off with a tutorial woven into the main campaign to teach you the basics. Controls are simple with X to shoot, A to jump and double jump and you can also press B to air dash making you immune to damage and speeding up the play style. But as mentioned before, each level has goals to achieve such as saving the hostages or defuse the bomb. This really give this game its fast paced feel. I played on balanced difficulty which is the equivalent of normal mode, but there is a mode called hot head where you have to keep up your skull combo to survive.
A very fun way I found myself getting around the map was firing directly down and using the force of that to send myself into the air, making it easier to hit explosive or poison barrels – ideally not damaging yourself. I even found that some levels, I managed to get by without even touching the ground! I also found that using the air dash to get more skulls from enemies was a very fun way to play.
There are three episodes, with 25 missions each that took me a fair amount of time to get through. There are leader boards based on time and points for each mission, which does bring a small part of replayability to the game. Its real replay value is its Damsel Dash – a daily set of missions to try and compete to get on the leader board, or the arcade mode which has a similar idea to Damsel Dash with leader boards based on points.
Overall this game really does bring back very fond memories of old school platformers, but after completing episode one of the campaign I started episode two and – even though the comic book style story telling gets you into the mission – I found myself doing the same things over again. The daily Damsel Dash missions are where I found most of my fun, trying to score higher than the person above me on the leader board. The art style and audio in this game is what made it for me, and for their debut big screen game I think Screwtape have really done a good job.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.