Released earlier this year on Switch and PS4, Sisters Royale is now available on Xbox One and PC. So if you missed out on this shoot ’em up, you’ve got another chance to play.
Not that you’ve missed a great deal though; Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire is a rather underwhelming entry into the genre. Bright characters, a narrative about overcoming evil, and a choice of characters with a wealth of special abilities try to breathe life into the game, but there are much better shmups to spend your time with.
As the title suggests, Sisters Royale features five sisters. The story opens up with the evil Seytan, who threatens to destroy the world as the sisters know it. They should be working together to defeat this threat, but instead they’re spending their time squabbling between themselves; trying to win the attention of the angel, Yashin.
“Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire is a rather underwhelming entry into the genre”
If the story sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. It adds little value to the game, other than being a feature that not many other shoot ’em ups bother to include. Perhaps there’s a reason if they’re all as cringeworthy as this. Worse than the story itself is the dialogue which delivers it. It really isn’t worth paying attention to in the slightest. It seems even Sisters Royale‘s development team is aware of this, since you can disable all story scenes from the game’s options menu. It’s a wise choice to make.
When you get into the actual shooting action of Sisters Royale, it’s not all bad. A range of power-ups and special abilities mean there’s constantly ample carnage on screen, and a score system gives you reason to keep trying, forever aiming to beat your best. Each of the sisters has their own bullet pattern and special summon, so playing with a different character can feel like a slightly different experience.
“It’s the sort of thing you can dip into now and then and improve your performance”
It won’t take you long to beat Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire for the first time. There’s only five stages, so you’ll be done in around 20 minutes. But it’s not a one-and-done type of game. As mentioned above, there are high scores to chase, and multiple characters to play as. It’s the sort of thing you can dip into now and then and improve your performance. There are also multiple difficulty levels to master. Getting the most out of Sisters Royale means perfecting the use of the attacks on offer; you’ll need to get close to enemies to effectively use some of your arsenal, and that means risk versus reward plays a huge part.
As far as its visuals go, Sisters Royale is quite pleasant to look at. It has a clean visual style, which is a refreshing change from the pixelated graphics that many shmups go for. The sides of your screen are adequately decorated with pleasant character art and an overview of your score that’s easy to glance at. Credit where credit’s due, Alfa System has tried to make Sisters Royale stand out from its competition, even if it perhaps doesn’t pay off.
“It’s fun enough while it lasts, but there are plenty of other shmups out there that offer a much better experience”
Sadly, even if you’re keen to chase scores and play through everything Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire has to offer on multiple difficulty levels, you’re likely to run out of steam pretty quickly. Outside of the story mode, there’s a practice mode, allowing you to tackle any level without fear of failing, but that’s it. There are no extra modes to spend time in here. For the game’s asking price of £11.75, it feels rather lacklustre – especially when you consider that other shooters, such as the excellent Sky Force Reloaded, is available for less than that, and packs in a heck of a lot more content. It is a Play Anywhere title, however, so if you have both an Xbox One and a PC, there’s that.
If you’re a hardcore shoot ’em up fan and are desperate for something new to play, Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire might scratch that itch. For a little while, anyway. Its gameplay is fine, but it doesn’t attempt to further the genre or do anything new in any way. Sure, it packs in a story, but its groanworthy quality perhaps detracts from the overall experience somewhat. It’s fun enough while it lasts, but there are plenty of other shmups out there that offer a much better experience than Sisters Royale, so we recommend you go for one of those instead.