In addition to making games, I also want to talk about games here. To start things off, I want to talk about a little indie title by the name of Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt. Here we go!
Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt is a free game on Steam by Ludosity. It was first made for the Ebola charity game jam in 2014 and has since been updated for its full release. It follows the story of the titular Princess Remedy, a Saturnian who has just graduated from healing school, sent to Hurtland to heal Prince Hingst. A simple enough story to get things started. Falling from Saturn, you must travel the lands healing the people to get past checkpoints on the way to Prince Hingst. Healing people is where the majority of gameplay comes in. Upon talking to a sick or hurting individual, which can range from people, to demons, to ducks, to plants, you enter into Healing Mode, a bullet-hell-esque shooter. Heal people by firing bandages at their problems and they magically become better! A simple solution to so many problems, bandages. Are they sick? Shoot the germs! Are they sad? Shoot their woes! Are they choking? Shoot the food!
A lot of this game is simple but charming. The visual style emulates 8-bit titles like Final Fantasy or Mega Man with its simplistic color palette and pixel sprites. The artistic style is distinct, in having most objects be one color, but using black to fill in most large areas outside of the overworld gives the whole game a sort of cool connected feeling. Enemy designs are distinct enough to differentiate them from one another, and a few have some really cool designs, but others are a bit lackluster by comparison.
The music is simple in that 8-bit style that meshes well with the rest of the game, but there’s not too many tracks altogether. The tracks that are there are good, and are certainly more than enough to get through the game with a good bit of variety. The background music depends on what area of the game you have made it to, and plays throughout the area. You can listen to it here.
Most of the game is spent going through various villages, castles, caves, and the like, healing the unfortunates of Hurtland. Talking to all of these NPCs is one of the best parts of the game. They all have cute little lines about their illness or why they’re feeling down. After being healed, they have another line about feeling better, but this can also vary wildly. One example early on a slime who complains of smelling a little, and when healed states “Thanks! Now I smell a lot!” Another is a girl who complains of “a severe case of stubbed toe” who, upon being healed states she’s going to go back to kicking rocks.
Now, the gameplay. Healing Mode is, again, a very simplistic way to create a shooter in which the player and the enemies can both move around in the box that is the screen, no moving outside the borders. Simple but effective, it leverages this simplicity further by having the player character always firing, and the player aims just by moving around. Easy to learn, but a little difficult to master, as the enemy variety increases greatly as the game continues. Enemies in a Healing Mode encounter can vary greatly from a handful of enemies that simply roam the field early on, to a multitude of enemies that can fire a variety of bullets. And each bullet-firing enemy has a different technique or pattern. Some stay in one place and fire, some move and fire at the same time, some only fire after they’ve been hit. It makes for quite the challenge the first time you encounter a new enemy.
Failure is always a possibility in these encounters, but it’s not treated as a big deal. There’s no punishment for failing a Healing Mode encounter, and you can immediately try again. But this is where another key feature of the game comes in: upgrades, one of the most important being the heart upgrade. After each successful healing of a patient, you get one heart, which increases your total health in addition to being required for the previously mentioned checkpoints in the game. Hidden throughout the world, however, are a multitude of other upgrades, including bombs, health regeneration, shot power increases, and increased shot count, which changes how many projectiles you fire at one time. I bring this up because sometimes I found some patients more difficult to heal than others, so I left, found upgrades, healed those that I could manage to heal, and came back stronger to heal those I could not heal before. If you think you may have missed an upgrade or two, it’s not of the question to backtrack a little, which the game makes easy enough to do.
Took me about 75 minutes to beat my first time, got 100% completion (not hard to do), it was free, and it was a lot of fun. 8/10, would recommend to anyone who wants to spend an hour on a game where you can heal flowers by improving their self-esteem. At some point, I’ll grab the sequel that came out recently, Princess Remedy 2: In a Heap of Trouble and do a review on that.
I hoped you enjoyed, see you later!
P.S. – minor spoiler, but after to beat the game, you can marry anyone interactable in the game. This includes anyone you’ve healed, like the ducks, plants, demons, kentaurs, anything.