Damsel from Screwtape Studios is a 2D action-packed arcade-style game in which you must take on the Red Mist organization. Learn more in our Damsel review!
Damsel places you in the shoes of the titular heroine who is out on an adventure to take on Red Mist, an evil vampire organization that is up to no good! You must make the most of Damsel’s deadly attacks and abilities to uncover the secrets of the new Red Mist plan. The game features a Story Campaign, as well as an Arcade Mode in which you take on the three “comic book style” adventures from the campaign, but without the comic book story, as you aim at getting a slot in the leaderboards either for your completion time or for your overall score, all with a set number of lives.
As for the basics for Damsel, you’ll move around with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, jumping and double jumping with the B button – you can also wall jump if needed. The Y button is for attacking with your ultraviolet shotgun, and if you’re in close-range to an enemy, you will instead activate a melee attack. You should be careful when near electricity because if you come into contact with it, your gun will be disabled. You can dash with the A button to quickly move over a short distance, and you can perform a stake dive by pressing down and the A button at the same time.
As for the Story Campaign, before you dive into the action, you’ll need to select your difficulty. The three options are Chillout (you can’t die while playing in Chillout), Balanced (the typical gameplay experience), or Hothead (you must keep a skull combo alive by getting more skulls before the timer is up). Once you start reading a comic book, you will get to go over it panel by panel, learning more about the overall story arc and why you’re doing what you’re doing. Going back a bit to skull combos, the game has purple floating skulls all over the place, which you must collect as you try to complete a level. The more skulls you get one after the other, the bigger your combo, and thus, the more points you will get.
Sometimes you will need to kill all vampires in the stage, and sometimes you will also need to rescue the people that Red Mist has taken hostage. For this, you need to quickly tap the X button to cut the rope and rescue the hostages without having the cursor for the mini-game go out of bounds. You need to be careful since enemies will not stop attacking you as you try to free a hostage, and you might end up accidentally attacking a hostage, which is a big no-no in Damsel – if a hostage dies then you’ll fail the mission and will have to start over. Levels are bite-sized in nature, so you will be completing them in a few minutes at most.
At the end of a stage you will be rewarded with bonus points depending on how many hits you have remaining, how big your skull combo was, if you got all the skulls in the stage, how accurate your attacks were, and if you did some extra things before completing the main objective, such as, for example, destroying the power stations that were enabling the electricity that was in your way, destroying cameras that would otherwise spawn more vampires into the scene, and more.
Damsel is not going to be for everyone. Sure, it offers fun gameplay mechanics and bite-sized stages you can take on over a short or long gaming session, but the repetition in locations for the stages of each comic book, enemy types, and objectives might rub some people the wrong way. But if you’re in the mood for an action-packed arcade-style release, then Damsel and its $16.99 price tag might be what you need.
This Damsel review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Screwtape Studios.