Start shooting. Keep shooting. When it’s dead, shoot it some more.
Ready. Aim. Fire! Wait, that isn’t quite right. Oh, yeah – just fire! This is is shmup, after all, so blast everything that moves (and anything that doesn’t move, just for good measure). Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire combines a continuous shooting fest with sibling rivalry cuteness to bring you a bit of fun.
Since this game is a shoot-em-up, there are only four controls you need to remember—the left joystick moves your character around, the A button fires, the B button summons a single beam weapon with limited reach, and the Y button unleashes a bomb attack. After that, it’s all about trying to dodge incoming munitions.
Sisters Royale does let you continue through with any number of lives, but your counter resets every three lives, as expected. If you die three times, your points and coins reset to 0, but your bomb count stays where it was when you died so you can’t use three deaths to reset the special attack. Don’t worry; you can hold up to five bombs and the game will throw you a new bomb counter every so often. You will have to move to pick up a new bomb token, but they will be there for the taking.
The interesting part of Sisters Royale is you can play the game as each of the five sisters. Each has a different set of attacks so you can play with different fire patterns, special attacks, and bombs. As you progress through each level you will face a boss. The bosses are—big surprise—your sisters. Since the game wants you to experience combat with each sister’s style, you get to do combat with your current avatar’s “conscience.” If you survive all of the sisters you will face your most deadly opponent, who just happens to be the guy you have been stalking and want to marry. That makes perfect sense, right? Once you get into the back-story and the banter between siblings, it actually does make sense in a pleasantly twisted way.
The background sound effects and music are upbeat and the visuals are very good. There’s plenty of detail in the imagery right down to the patterns of light hitting the floor after passing through stained glass windows. The patterns and design of the attacks are distinct to each sister, providing an extra level of texture to the game visuals. The game pace is in that “just right” zone; the vertical scroll is not too slow but still allows you time to move around in a mad attempt to stay alive (note that this won’t work for long unless you are reeeeeeally good at these things). The game also has three difficulty levels: easy, normal, and hard. I played around for a while on easy and still managed to die several times. By the way, if you hide behind an obstacle you won’t run into one of the bad guys, but if the obstacle gets to the bottom of the screen and you have not moved the game will jump you right to the center of the arena. The lesson here is hiding for too long may backfire on you.
Even if you don’t normally play shoot-em-ups, Sisters Royale is a good game to add to your Switch collection. It is not complicated, it keeps you on your toes, it’s visually appealing, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to play through a few rounds. You can replay to improve your score (and there is plenty of opportunity there), and you get the added benefit of storytelling via sibling rivalry. The only aspect which may be considered a negative is that you can play through all five sisters in about two hours.
All things considered, I like this game and had a good time playing it. If you really want to increase your coin take and your total points score you will need to take some time and really practice dodging incoming fire. If you have the patience for this, the game will provide you as many lives as you need; whey you die you will respawn where you died (no starting the level over stuff). The differences in each sister’s attacks add a nice variety as well. The banter between sisters is snarky and cheeky. I appreciate a game which doesn’t take itself too seriously and just is plainly having fun.
Review: Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire (Nintendo Switch)
Sisters Royale is a colorful, tongue-in-cheek take on the classic shmup format. On the upside, you get to play through the game as five different player characters. The down side is it doesn’t take very long to play through, so the replay value is in trying to beat your last score and to run through the levels on harder settings.