This is Battle Princess Madelyn, it's the upcoming release from Insanity Blade developer Casual Bit Games. It's a new take on the Ghouls 'N Ghosts formula that will be hitting PC, PlayStation 4, Switch and Xbox One at some point in the future. I recently got my hands on an exceptionally early pre-alpha build which was designed for first look article like this. I know you have a lot of questions about Battle Princess Madelyn, so let's crib this.
This looks ... familiar!
Yeah, I just said that. Battle Princess Madelyn is obviously mimicking Capcom's popular Ghouls 'N Ghosts franchise from the 1980s and 90s. It stars a young woman who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty and sets off on an adventure to save her family from a pack of undead monsters. But don't worry about Maddi, because she's aided by your favorite ghost dog. No, not Forest Whitaker; I'm talking about a ghost pup named Fritz, who is able to perform magic and keep our hero alive.
The pre-alpha demo I played features only a couple levels and a single boss fight, but it does a great job of giving us a taste of what we can expect from the finished build. We start out in a cemetery, where zombies and skeletons rise from their graves to keep Maddi from finding her family. From there, it's off to The Royal Flooded Crypt, which is filled with both water and the undead. And once she's made it through that, she'll have to fight the first major boss -- The King's Guard. It's a tough battle that will whet your appetite for what's in store next.
Were you a fan of Ghouls 'N Ghosts?
Was I? I'm about as hardcore into that franchise as you can be. I was even featured on GamePro TV back in the early 1990s giving out protips on how to beat Loki. As far as I can tell, I'm the target audience for something like this, which is why I was so delighted when the demo turned out to be a lot of fun. Battle Princess Madelyn not only looks like Capcom's classic series, but it uses a lot of the same tricks. You can double jump, find hidden treasure and even charge up for a stronger attack. Hell, Maddi loses her armor when hit, just like Sir Arthur. Of course, these elements have been done with a slightly different spin, but it certainly scratched that nostalgia itch and reminded me all over again why I loved Ghouls 'N Ghosts.
Am I going to need to beat it twice to see an ending?
Thankfully, no. Instead of going through it a couple times, we're given side-quests that will have us revisiting certain levels. There are also a lot of secret areas and treasure chests to find. I was surprised to discover a ghost lady hanging out in a wall who gave me a doll. In fact, there's even a section in town with row after row of doll shelves. It looks like there is going to be a lot to find, which should keep you going long after you've defeated the final boss. Just from poking around, I was able to summon new weapons and even locate some stylish armor. Just about the only thing missing is a little witch that turns our hero into some sort of barnyard animal. But hey, there's still plenty of time to add that.
Yes, it's early, and there are still a lot of questions left to be answered, but Battle Princess Madelyn has grabbed my attention. Considering the trouble Capcom has had trying to reboot the Ghouls 'N Ghosts franchise, I'm happy to see other companies picking up the slack and delivering the old fashioned thrills. There's a lot of charm here, and even better, a lot of extras to find. Just when I thought I was done, I discovered new side quests and even hidden levels. This could be something real special. Battle Princess Madelyn will hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC either by the end of the year or early next. I'd keep an eye out for it, if I were you.