Developer Alfa System has been around for several decades and was behind games such as Castle of Shikigami and more recently Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines on the PlayStation Vita. Since that game release back in 2014 they haven’t done anything but they are now back with a new shmup called Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire.
The game has been out for some time on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 but has just come to Xbox One which is the platform this review was performed on. Upon starting the game up, from the main menu you can select options, rankings, and play. It’s worth taking a look in the options menu because there are some interesting things you can set here. You can choose from several different screen layouts, the option to disable story dialogue, and more. You can also access the maniac menu which allows you to adjust bullet size, bullet speed, toggle a SlowDown when close to bullets and more. It was nice to see so many options here so that I could mess with.
Once you’re ready to jump into the actual game you can either practice first or just get right into it. The game does have a story to it but honestly it wasn’t very interesting. Basically, there is some prophecy that foretells of five sisters who will rise up to defeat Saytan by combining their power. However, the five sisters in this game despise one another and have gone their separate ways. At least until the start of this game when they’ve all come back together because they all are trying to get the attention of a man named Yashin. You choose to play as one of these five sisters and then proceed to battle against the rest so that you can earn his affection. It’s all just kind of silly and none of the dialog between the characters was very interesting. Thankfully you can skip all of that stuff and get right to the gameplay if you choose to.
You can choose to play as one of the five sisters each of which has their own firing ability. There is also a sixth DLC character but you’ll have to pay a couple extra dollars to play as Ode. No matter who you choose you’ll battle each of the other sisters over the course of a handful of stages on your way to the climax. I played through with each of the five characters and while they all play different I personally found Sonay and Selma to be better than the rest in my opinion. Like I said all of them have their own firing pattern so Sonay for instance has a straight-ahead rapid-fire attack while Selma fires some shots straight but also has a line of fire shooting diagonally to the left and right. Every character can also use bombs to clear the screen as well as a special summoning move. Selma can summon swords around her example but these summons mostly require you to get in close to your enemies.
The levels in the game aren’t anything special and neither are the enemies. Some levels are a bit annoying though as they introduce environmental things that affect your controls. The ice level is slippery while another level has you navigating through the dark and trying to activate light sources to see. Of course, being the type of game this is the whole goal is to really get as high a score as you can in each level. The closer you get to your enemies when you defeat them the better score you’ll get so there is a risk-reward style of play here. The game controls well when there are no stage elements affecting you so in that respect it’s a solid shmup.
Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire doesn’t do anything to really make it stand out from other shmups out there but it does play well. The story is pretty uninteresting but the different characters and their firing styles do offer a lot of replayability and could have you spending some time with this shmup.
* Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Reviewed on Xbox One X. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.