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February 8, 2018

Damsel: Simple Formula Still Yields Vampire-Slaying Satisfaction

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Written by: Scott Beaulieu
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damsel_shooting_skull

Outside of the Twilight series of books, you can never go wrong with vampires. The game Damsel brings everyone’s heliophobic baddies out in the open in this exciting early access title brought to un-life by Australian developer Screwtape Games. This fast and frantic arcade platformer puts you in the Doc Martens of Agent Damsel, professional vampire slayer armed with a UV shotgun and wrist-mounted wooden stakes. She fights through twenty-five levels spread across five different stages, uncovering a deep vampire conspiracy.

Damsel‘s art style from first glance is colorful and cartoonish, with shambling vampiric enemies in black business attire patrolling abandoned warehouses and shady business fronts. Animation is fluid, with Damsel and her flowing red cape easily double jumping from platform to platform gunning down vampires. As one that experiments a lot with early access titles, I think it’s great to see a game so early in development with such fluid movement. That is a key factor for the genre that many early access titles miss. Character design outside of the heroine spans from decrepit elder vampires that toss the bones of their evening meals to floating executives slinging fireballs. After a few levels of play, you quickly learn which enemy can be simply shot, or which enemy needs a little more strategy to surpass.

Agent Damsel attacks with shotgun blasts.

Agent Damsel attacks with shotgun blasts.

Level design is simple yet effective. At the beginning of each level the player is given an objective, ranging from freeing hostages to disarming bombs, or even just wiping out each and every vampire on the map. Damsel is armed with a double jump, air dash, and a shotgun that allows up to three regenerating shots. If you’re familiar with the Megaman X series, you’ll feel right at home with the controls. When tasked with saving the wayward hostage or hacking a terminal, you’re greeted with a short quick time event, one of which leaves you open for vampiric attack if you’re not careful. Hostages as well are victims of collateral damage; killing one results in an automatic game over. Each level also sports sub-objectives to fulfill and collectible skills, all with the aim to pad the player’s high score. Levels last for about three or so minutes at most, and thirty seconds for those with speedrun skills, which Damsel’s game design allows.

Damsel is a short and easily playable platformer with a lot of heart, lending itself to a lot of inspiration from the 16-bit platformers of the past. Screwtape Games promises fifty more levels on release, as well as a more fleshed out storyline and various other gameplay modes. What Damsel does right is that it keeps itself simple and still entertaining, showing that less can be more. Damsel is currently on Steam’s early access for $9.99 and can be checked out at http://www.damselgame.net/. There is no information in the press kit or on the website about when the game will go into full release, and Screwtape didn’t respond to e-mail questions.

 



About the Author

Scott Beaulieu





 
 

 
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