Amazing Princess Sarah

I love when a logline is short and concise, yet says volumes about the thing it’s describing. “It’s like Castlevania mixed with Super Mario Bros. 2,” conjures images of a strange but amazing game. Somehow, up until Amazing Princess Sarah, no one tried combining the exploration of spooky castles with the act of picking enemies up and throwing them. You’d think such a game would be as wonderful a combination as peanut butter and chocolate. It’s not quite that sweet in review, but Amazing Princess Sarah is a pretty good time on Nintendo Switch.

Amazing Princess Sarah is incredibly straightforward. You play the eponymous royal in a quest to save her father from Lilith, the leader of an undead horde. She traverses five different castles and can attack with a short-range blade or by throwing things. There are various inanimate objects lying around all over the place, but the real fun is using the defeated bad guys as projectiles. Each enemy has different properties when tossed, and getting to know them all is the key to succeeding. For example, a bat has greater speed and range than a skeleton when yeeted, and a bomb goblin will explode on impact. There’s a giant boss at the end of each level, and you’ll need to use a combination of quick stabs and well-lobbed enemies to defeat them.

Dungeons and deadlifts

For the most part, the gameplay is pretty solid. Amazing Princess Sarah is more Super Castlevania than Symphony of the Night, and it works. Sarah gains EXP when defeating enemies and gets a boost in strength, defense, and HP as she levels up, but that’s about it. There are no new abilities or items to be found in any individual playthrough. However, by playing New Game+, you can unlock new ways of playing. After defeating the fifth boss, Sarah rescues her dad but can’t fight Lilith just yet.

Upon starting a NG+, however, there’s an interesting challenge added to each playthrough. In the second round, for example, a vengeful spirit follows Sarah around, causing a significant amount of damage if it gets too close. In all, you’ll have to clear the game seven times with increasingly difficult gimmicks before you can get the true ending. At least Sarah gets a double jump around halfway through, opening shortcuts as the difficulty increases.

Amazing Princess Sarah

I love the core mechanics in this game. Super Mario Bros. 2 is my favorite in the series, and it’s a ton of fun experimenting with thrown enemies. There are about a dozen different types of monster, and stronger versions have different color palettes. Sarah also gets new colors as she tackles different challenges, which is a cool touch. For the most part, the character design is appealing, with bright colors and cute sprites. The music is also amazing, with a hard rock track for each castle. Finally, the bosses are appropriately massive, and each has a different strategy you’ll need to learn in order to win.

Don’t drop the ogre

There are a few issues, however. As much as I enjoyed running around and throwing bad guys at each other, the controls could be unresponsive at times. This was especially rough when there were a few different visual effects going on and monsters all over the place. There were very few frame rate drops though, even when there was a lot going on. Additionally, the enemies aren’t really synced with each other, and while this isn’t usually an issue, defeating bosses can sometimes come down to luck.

There’s a lot of backtracking in Amazing Princess Sarah as well. In addition to having to play through the game seven times to get the true ending, the stages are also repetitive in and of themselves. Most of the advancement boils down to going down one path full of enemies and obstacles, hitting a switch, getting back to where you started, and doing it all over again down a new path. The castles are a bit dull to boot.

Lastly, there’s a lot of sexualization in this game, and you get an eyeful of it right at the title screen. From Sarah herself to the final boss, and every female minion in between, the characters’ sprites emphasize their big bouncing breasts. For the most part, it’s done in a cartoony way, but Lilith’s final form is very NSFW. You’ve been warned.

Amazing Princess Sarah

Princess to the rescue

Ultimately, Amazing Princess Sarah took two of my favorite NES games and mushed them into one product. Despite some frustrating flaws, it’s still a pretty good game, and it’s well worth your time if you enjoy the original Castlevania and Super Mario Bros. 2.

Release Date: November 12, 2021
No. of Players: 1 player
Category: 2D Platformer
Publisher: Haruneko Entertainment
Developer: Haruneko Entertainment

A Nintendo Switch review code for Amazing Princess Sarah was provided by the publisher.

Our review policy.

Amazing Princess Sarah

7.5

Amazing Princess Sarah is a 2D platformer that combines the dungeon action of Castlevania with the throwing mechanic from Super Mario Bros. 2. The result is a fun title, despite some repetitive design and unresponsive controls.

Pros
  • Fun combination of themes and mechanics
  • Amazing musical score
  • Interesting use of New Game+
Cons
  • Controls are sometimes unresponsive
  • Lots of backtracking
  • Can get repetitive
Dominick Ashtear

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