REVIEW: ‘Shieldmaiden: Remix Edition’ Is Just Okay(XSX)

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Shieldmaiden Remix Edition — But Why Tho

What I love most about Indie games is how they aren’t afraid to take old concepts and make them their own. One genre that I keep getting surprised about is the side-scrolling platformer genre. A classic that has been around for almost as long as gaming itself. When I saw ID@Xbox was promoting a new platformer, Shieldmaiden: Remix Edition by Dumativa, I had to hop on it. Especially when its big twist was your only weapon, you can is a shield. Yet when I rolled credits, it only was… okay.

In Shieldmaiden: Remix Edition, you play as Asta during the end of the techno-futuristic world. Everyone is gone, yet Asta is hunting down for any sign of her sister. However, as she explores this dilapidated city, she gets attacked by rogue robots and powerful crow people who are doing anything they can to stop her. However, she is not alone. There is a rogue voice helping her at every step leading her to possibly the one she is looking for and a possible end to the apocalypse.

I went into this game knowing next to nothing besides its genre and that you can only punch and use a shield. I was pleasantly surprised by its pixel art style. The backgrounds are explosively beautiful and set the scene more for this apocalypse than the level design. It’s one thing running through rundown structures. It’s another to look at a destroyed landscape and see just how far the damage goes. I loved that as the game went on, the destruction got worse and worse as I got to the epicenter.

Yey, while the backgrounds are beautifully designed, the levels themselves are quite bland. There are about eight levels in total, and none really stood out to me, save for the boss battles. These were the only time I felt challenged by the game beyond control issues. The boss battles never felt repetitive… until the final fight. They all had their own identity, pushing me to think outside the box of what I could do, like punching projectiles instead of blocking them to build up Asta’s special faster.

Time and again, even during these fun boss battles, Shieldmaiden never felt properly balanced. As previously mentioned, one of Asta’s weapons is a shield. It has a charge corresponding to how much can be blocked. Almost every attack encourages blocking to charge up Asta’s area of effect (AOE) attack that beats every little enemy on-screen. The way the shield can be used throughout the levels is actually pretty cool. It can be used to hop on certain enemies’ heads to get across canyons. It can also be used to surf along lasers.

But during the boss fights, specifically the late-game boss fights, the attacks sent toward Asta always seem to be too much for the shield. Numerous attempts at late-to-endgame fights were wasted because of unnecessary damage. Even with a fully charged shield and blocking, every attack led to my shield breaking and Asta getting hit. In other words, doing everything right, doing everything I was taught to do, still led to “failure.”

The bosses weren’t the only cases of poorly optimized mechanics. Several parts that required precise jumping were just plain annoying to get through. One part in particular about halfway through the game had Asta wall-jump to hiding spots before a laser fire was exceedingly frustrating. The timing was almost too precise to get hidden away and avoid the laser fire.

Numerous times before and after this moment, too, there were platforms that just had to be jumped over. Yet you need to land on top of the platforms to progress. These platforms were slightly too high to just jump over. So, they required a wall jump and dash to get over. Again, these moments required a lot more precision to get over than any other part of the game, feeling needlessly tedious rather than an obstacle. And that last sentence, to me, felt like the summary of my time with the game.

Shieldmaiden: Remix Edition, while having a fun premise, ended up being overtly tedious rather than fun. The shield itself as a weapon was fun and implemented in interesting ways. However, there was one piece that felt missing in my 3-hour playthrough, balancing. Timing and spacing on numerous mechanics, platforms, and attacks all felt off or too precise compared to the rest of the game. Ultimately, this indie is just okay and filled with too much tedium for its own good.

Shieldmaiden: Remix Edition is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.


Shieldmaiden: Remix Edition

TL;DR

Shieldmaiden: Remix Edition, while having a fun premise, ended up being overtly tedious rather than fun. The shield itself as a weapon was fun and implemented in interesting ways. However, there was one piece that felt missing in my 3-hour playthrough, balancing. Timing and spacing on numerous mechanics, platforms, and attacks all felt off or too precise compared to the rest of the game. In the end, this indie is just okay and filled with too much tedium for its own good.

But Why Tho? A Geek Community
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