Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire takes a lot of generous touches to bring back the SHMUP genre the best it can, adding in a few new features, a rather hilarious story, and one that follows close to the Touhou franchise. Now, let’s take a look at Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire.
+A well-designed menu system and interface that isn’t overwhelming
+Extremely smooth framerates and gameplay performance
+Each character has its own unique gameplay element
+An easy pick up and go title that doesn’t overstay its welcome
-The sound design is a bit muddied and blends SE and BGM’s together
-Unbalanced characters that make others seem stronger and or weaker than the others
-Gameplay tutorials would help newcomers
When I first stepped into Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A part of me was expecting a third-person shooter experience, one that took some of the best elements of the shmup genre and even a bit of, perhaps, a battle royale twist to it just for a few little giggles.
However, I was wrong, this is certainly not one of those titles, which led me to instantly correlate the experience to a Touhou stylized experience, which I was actually rather right about on my second guess. This time around, however, things felt slightly different than previous experiences I’ve had with the Touhou franchise and the clones that follow suit.
Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire is a rather fun experience from the very start
Upon starting up, you get the option to select one of five sisters, each one comes with their own bomb ability, each one comes with their own unique basic shooting style, and they all even have their own special 8x multiplayer move that can be used. The story, however, is rather simple.
All the sisters are after one thing that they have going on in particular: They’re all in love and all of them are trying to show that to the suitor they are after. For our review, we decided to go ahead and clear the game with each protagonist, their names are simple: Sonay, Selma, Ece, Nur, Lale, and Ode. All of them have different personalities and unfortunately, their levels are all the same as well, including bosses.
Unlike other shmup titles, that’s all that’s about different, and the game from there is more about presentation and quality of life from there on out. To start our review, we ended up using Sonay to start, she’s the default, which makes her the one you’ll want to acquaint yourself with when you are starting out.
Each character is also walking on the ground versus flying, which makes this a bit more interesting, and all the more amusing to say the least.
Sonay will be the highlight of this review moving forward
Sonay, for what it’s worth, is a wisecrack. She’s funny, she’s a bit feisty, and she has a really, really, badass fire creature that she controls for her 8X multiplayer attack. Her special is a flame wheel (bomb) that goes around her, nullifying enemy attacks and dealing out massive damage as it spins around the screen.
Because of her capabilities, it’s understandable why out of the five sisters and their extra compatriot, is the focus character. She’s fast, powerful, and her ability to dish out sustained damage is unparalleled. Even her narrowed attack dishes out insane damage in its sustained bursts, allowing her to take out large groups rather quickly and with little trouble.
Out of all the characters, Sonay is fun and she’s the centerpiece to our review despite having used all five characters and having cleared each of their story paths multiple times each across each of the games varied difficulties that will put ap layers skills to the test, just as any SHMUP title would. She does play differently than the other character we preferred named Ode.
While the gameplay does change quite a bit, nothing else does, and the story remains mostly the same
Whether you use Sonay or Ode as your main characters of choice, you’ll find that each has their own play style and each one has a different sense of survivability. On one hand, Sonay is an all-out DPS character, she relies heavily on her ability to use her 8x multiplayer attack, using it to take out as many enemies as she can by simply holding down “A” versus using “B” for your basic attack.
Her bombs are also quite different from Ode’s who is a massive nuke that destroys incoming missiles for coins while Ode’s 8x multiplayer attack also can’t be controlled and has to be placed. The biggest catch to this game? All the characters go through the exact same levels, every character has a similar story, while entertaining, it is a drawback and leaves room for a lot of hope for change and alterations to provide an experience that doesn’t feel redundant over time.
The only big change is how you fight against enemies that you’ll go up against as you will have to get used to circling around your foes if you can, using the entire screen to our advantage, and dodging as much enemy fire as you can. This game is all about practice and you’ll need to get a ton of it if you plan on hitting the highest leaderboards possible due to the game’s scoring mechanics. Something you won’t see in the all-too-familiar Touhou series.
Audiovisual representations are okay at best, but that’s okay for this title, it’s a pick-up-and-go game
One issue some may have with this game, especially with its price point to play it is the graphics. They aren’t the best and you will find that they are somewhere along the lines of a PlayStation 2 title (at best). While this is a non-issue to some, it could be slightly frustrating due to the simple fact that this game is truly a current-gen released and is almost priced as such.
Another issue is the audio designs, which get muddied out due to how the score and the music blend together quite frequently. You’ll find that shooting and bombs will override the score quite frequently, taking away from the overall experience, which, unfortunately, is actually quite damning since the score is actually rather upbeat and fun to listen to.
The game itself is slightly betrayed by the soundtrack itself, which sits in the right spot for a shmup title. A damn shame too since the levels themselves actually match their scores. It would suffice to say, it would be nice to see some new level elements injected into the game to REALLY emphasize on the shmup elements the game has since its actually quite a nice game to enjoy if you want something simple yet, somehow, chaotic.
Let me make this clear: This game is actually a gem, one that many people will pass up despite that the game itself is stripped down to the basic fundamental designs of the genre it’s a part of. The visuals, music, stage designs, gameplay flow, and even presentation are all shmup to the core.
Unfortunately, this is also where the genre shows up as dated, forgettable, and almost lacking in trying to offer something fun and or unique. I just wish the scoring system actually gave us something slightly more awesome to care about aside from clearing the game as clear as possible without dying, which I guess, does matter to some extent.
Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Platform Reviewed: Xbox One
Developer: Alfa System
Publisher: Chorus Worldwide
Release Date: Available Now
Said and done, this is a game only shmup fans will really enjoy and will really find any form of enjoyment and or value in when there are offerings such as the Darius Collection‘s being available.
Our review is based upon a retail version of the game provided to us by the publisher for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook where he interacts with his followers quite a bit!