In Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire, five manga girls fight for the favor of their loved one, staged as a vertical shoot’em up you truly are tasked to fight to the death among the thousands of bullets flying around you. Shoot’em-ups are rarely provided with a good story, so let’s hope the action part is a bit better.
Unlike in the silly lightgun shooter Gal Gun: Double Peace , where school girls were languished with pheromone shelling, love-hungry women hunt down their adored Yashin here. It is not really surprising that he has to serve as the final boss and is also dominated by demons. Fortunately, developer Alfa System only uses the hard-to-bear story (all dialogs can be skipped at the push of a button) only as a framework for a vertical shoot’em-up that is mechanically based on the in-house Castle of Shikigami series. The whole series are also vertically scrolling 2D shooters with a focus on illustrious characters and individual special attacks.
Sonay, Selma, Ece, Nur and Lale move through five scrolling worlds and fire at unsightly designed, but tend to be cute opponents – tree stump and ghost don’t look very special, the obligatory intermediate bosses are all boring obstacles and must be used as stage keepers serving the jealous sisters themselves. Of course there are a few tricks when shooting and scoring: the normal shot does not pull out trees and cannot be improved by power-ups; if your character is near an enemy projectile while firing, your shot will be much stronger. A simple but appealing principle – anyone who gets in touch with the deadly projectiles is happy about more fire power.
The second shot variant, called Summon, is very different from one character to another: one sister brings along a brute triple blade encircling her, another has a shield that absorbs and soon spits out. Also interesting is a summon variant, in which a small demon dashes to enemies at the push of a button and sucks their energy away. The advantage of Summon shots: they milk a lot more coins and thus points from the enemy; however, the character is dramatically slower when using the Summon attack. And of course there are also point multipliers, hidden bonuses and (very strong) smart bombs. The bottom line is that Sisters Royale is a bullet-hell title of the easier variety, despite the wild-looking ball rugs – the screen is flooded with balls only in the higher levels on “Hard”. The shot patterns themselves fluctuate between unimaginative and exciting – especially a few particularly slow shots or bullets, which are created from fizzing bullets, drive the adrenaline up.
While in some other shoot’em-up you hang around on the lower screen to get as much distance as possible between your opponent and your own character, in Sister Royale (as in Shikigami no Shiro ) offensive playing is the trump card, the close enemy -and-staying-of-balls is rewarded. A few gimmicks in the area are supposed to provide amusement, but miss their target with a crash: my figure reacts much more slowly on icy ground, it is driven off by wind machines. Sounds funny, is a shoot’em up that focuses on the flimsy flying around of bullets, but annoying – luckily there are only a few of these unnecessary passages.
In terms of scope, Sisters Royale, which by the way already appeared for Switch in Japan in 2018, is manageable: The five sections are short even for a bullet-hell shoot’em-up, the unlockable maniac mode changes the feel of the game only slightly. After all, you can try out all levels with all sisters in practice mode. Small fine detail: after every continue and every time the pause screen is exited, a three-second countdown ensures that you are not thrown into the action unprepared. If you select the Nintendo eShop field in the main menu, you can purchase an additional figure for EUR 2.50 – Alfa System could have simply integrated it into the game.
Quite on the short side, Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire is a fun yet safely played shoot’em-up that will entertain fans of the genre, but only slightly.