Strikey Sisters is the latest in a long line of games descended from the Atari classic, Breakout. Gameplay revolves around whacking a bouncing ball up the screen to break blocks and clear areas. However, Strikey Sisters differentiates itself with swords, magic, and an art style that oozes SNES nostalgia. I loved my time with this game pretty much from start to finish.
The game’s story is simple: Two sisters have had their adorable pet stolen, so they travel around the land beating up everyone in sight until they locate their missing pet. The game has a breezy tone, and aside from one curse word it’s perfect for young children. Story cinematics include intentionally cheesy voice acting — I suppose to elicit the feeling of old arcade games — and gameplay features an announcer too. The cinematics are largely forgettable but mercifully brief. The announcer, meanwhile, is actually helpful for telling you what power-ups you’ve grabbed amid hectic gameplay.
The art style is basically pixel-perfect to what one would expect to see in a SNES game, and it was what attracted me to review the game in the first place. If you love pixel graphics and/or grew up on the SNES, you will instantly gravitate to Strikey Sisters and its colorful action.
Deceptively deep two-button action
Like in Breakout, your character (You can select from either sister; they play identically.) can only move horizontally at the bottom of the screen. The goal of each level is to break every block in front of you with a ricocheting ball, or if it’s a boss level, the goal is to defeat the boss. Strikey Sisters uses the A and B buttons exclusively for all of its gameplay, but there’s an impressive amount of depth baked into the two buttons.
The A button is a sword swing, which can deflect the ball (though your body can also do this) or hit enemies that are in range. Holding down the button will give a charge attack that does more damage and increases the ball’s speed and lethality upon contact. It furthermore deflects enemy projectiles. The angle at which you hit the ball (or projectiles) determines where it goes, so practice makes perfect in controlling its movement. But there’s still an element of luck. There is also a lot of risk/reward when deciding to hit the ball with a charged attack, which provides an intriguing strategic element.
Meanwhile, the B button activates magic. Magic is single-use and obtained from defeated enemies, and they have a few different effects. There are powerful projectile attacks that hit both monsters and blocks, and there is also magic that turns everyone to stone for a while. Beyond that, monsters drop other non-magic, instant power-ups, like shields, extra health, and temporary augments to your ball.
The monsters in this game feature diverse behaviors and attack patterns. It’s really fun and engaging to encounter new enemies every few levels, and with three game difficulty settings, it seldom devolves into frustration. You have three health, and the game features very generous hit boxes for the player and her sword.
Optional couch co-op is a lot of fun too, but it doesn’t necessarily make the game easier. Each player receives their own ball, and letting a ball slip past you takes one health from both players, so you better stay on guard!
Strikey Sisters is a striking good time
Strikey Sisters will last you about three hours with its story mode, but many more challenge levels are playable after that. Trying to collect every coin dropped from every block in every level will keep you busy too. There are also other collectibles from treasure chests, but the mechanic is never fully explained, leaving players to learn their importance (or not) on their own.
Ultimately, Strikey Sisters is an excellent value for its price, with exciting arcade gameplay that is as accessible to adults as it is to children. This could be a great game for bridging a generation gap.
A review code was provided by the publisher.