Damsel is a graphic novel you discover by accident in your local bookstore. You’re killing time on a rainy afternoon, and as your browsing the usual favorites of Marvel and DC comics, you glance your eyes on the independent comics section and there it is. Tucked away among other graphic novels, Damsel outshines the rest with its unique art style, well-rounded characters, and witty banter the heroine drops between missions.
Damsel’s seedy underworld accompanies a wonderful synthesizer based soundtrack. As you’re blasting your way through vampires and witches, the soundtrack seems to pace itself as Damsel is speeding through the area to finish her goals.
The core game split into three main sections. The first mode is an arcade mode, which gives you basic goals and you are competing on an online leader board with other players. The next mode it offers is a mission based mode, telling you specifically what goals are vital to complete each mission, and what aren’t. Base scoring is also included in this mode. The last mode added into the core game is story mode, which drives a singular narrative of our hero, Damsel, as she is talking to her contact at home base dispatching her on missions as well as providing acceptable banter between action heroine and safe house correspondent.
The game play revolves around a couple of elements. The basis of Damsel is to fight vampires, either through a close combat stake stab, or unleashing the wrath of your shotgun. She is also capable of combining a jump attack with a diving stake attack, unleashing mass damage to any enemies. The vampires, as cartoon as they look, are vicious and pose a true threat to Damsel, as they are capable of tying up hostages and creating bombs to disarm. Each mini task is just another roadblock to you finishing the mission and moving on to the next area. After you complete a mission, you tally up a score based on hostages saved, enemies slayed, floating bonus points picked up, and time completed. If you harm a hostage, you will be greeted with a game over screen.
As mentioned above, a true highlight of this game is the mini tasks that the creators have embedded within the game. The mini task and its animations reminded me of Epic Games’ classic game, Commander Keen. It is an action platformer that offered different tasks, but what made it stand out from other games at the time was the attention to detail. Damsel does the same thing with creating a mini game of button mashing to release a hostage, showing a humorous celebration dance of the thankful victim, and disarming the bomb with a color coordinated button game. As if dispatching vampires wasn’t enough, Damsel has a lot on her plate before she can head back to headquarters.
Another triumph of Damsel is the visuals. As referenced earlier, the visuals for Damsel are comparable to a superior graphic novel. It also spotlights the accompanying action elements that make it stand tall with any other action platforming game out there.
Damsel’s strongest aspects outweigh its core weaknesses. The first thing that had me scratching my head about was how it handled a basic laptop setup. Granted, I am running an i5 with 8GB of RAM, but it still seemed to chug. Thankfully, I found a quick fix for this by setting my resolution to lower than 1280×720. This alleviated the issue, though I did witness a hiccup or two of lag time, but this was much more tolerable than waiting around 20 seconds for everything else to load in. This would be a focus of mine that was in addition to timing my double jumps to land on a platform or the button mini game while disarming a bomb or freeing a hostage
The other drawback of the game was the limited options you are given when you start the game. I played using my Xbox One controller (although I did initially use my keyboard at first) and it worked fine. As mentioned earlier, once I figured out to set the graphics lower to work with my controller, there was a significant increase in frame rate. Instead of fighting the frame rate, I could actually be a formidable opponent against the armies of the undead.
The story left something to be desired. Though the premise was straight forward (you’re a vampire hunter that fights the monsters and saves people) I wished there was more back story to the wonderful characters that we interact with. This is something that the developers could focus on a potential sequel if it is green lit.
I was not given an option to set sensitivity through your primary thumb sticks. Because of this, my movement had more lag and was less fluid. A quick fix I found around this was to wait thirty seconds and let the game load.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience with Damsel. In the gaming world, we don’t have as many heroines as I’d like to play as, and this game was refreshing. I’d recommend this game if you want a good fast-paced action platformer with a fun plot and mindless action. It runs at 19.99 USD, but if you wait for a seasonal sale on Steam, it’s bound to drop in price.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
A good, fast-paced action platformer with a fun plot and mindless action.