The Steam Store is full of glistening gems. But those gems are often dusted with soot and unnoticed in a deep and swirling mine shaft, filled to the brim with slightly shiny rocks, discarded chunks of excrement, and the occasional glistening bright diamond. Which is a damn shame, because there are a lot of good gems there that are woefully under-appreciated. One of those gems is Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt.
Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt is a charming one-stick shooter with JRPG elements, and a loving dose of bullet hell injected directly into it’s veins. Made for the ‘Games Against Ebola’ game jam by Ludosity, you assume the role of Princess Remedy, who, after only just graduating from healing college, must venture forth into the world of Hurtland; a continent plagued with mild illness and negative thoughts, the ultimate goal to successfully heal Prince Hingst, who suffers from every ailment known. Hurtland contains within it a number of villages, cave systems, towers, and portals to strange dimensions. Within these locations, Princess Remedy finds various quirky and whimsical characters, each with their own unique dilemmas. They are sad, and it’s up to you to make sure they get better. To do this, you engage in brutal combat with the physical manifestations of their negativity, mercilessly destroying them with your projectiles of good health.
And we’ll start off by addressing this brutal combat… excuse my French, but holy fuck, Princess Remedy is a mercilessly tough game, in a very good way. At times it feels a tad artificial in it’s difficulty with the titanic quantity of foes you’ll encounter in some fights, many firing their own projectiles that all converge in on you like a sweeping mist of suffering. But a vast majority of the time, there’s near-enough always a way to dodge and weave and decimate with quick succession. It’s painful and it’s unforgiving, but Gods is it fun as all hell.
Something else this game nails is the cuteness factor (a big reason behind my love of Undertale, which came out to critical acclaim a year after Princess Remedy’s release, surprising as both titles share a few big themes) The characters are adorable, the solutions to their problems subverting the player’s expectations, a few of which are quite chuckle-worthy, most of which left me with the same sort of dorky smile I get when I hear a child talking nonsense about something. This left me curious to discover more of the little guys, eager to hear what comical lines of text they’d throw at me.
Based on a glimpse of the Steam reviews, I was expecting to finish the game in little over an hour, which at first concerned me, as the content was thoroughly enjoyable and I didn’t want to feel starved upon completion. But by the time I powered through the final boss battle, I very much appreciated the quick and concise packaged nature of the title. It was just as long as it needed to be, and I’m quite thankful that the developers didn’t feel any need to extend the longevity of it, as this could have run the risk of the game dragging on and feeling bloated, both factors that would have hindered my overall opinion of it.
Aside from the occasional artificial difficulty bump as mentioned, one of my biggest complaints about the game will seem confusing; it’s free. Why is this a complaint? Looking at it sitting in my library, I almost feel this sense of guilt. I valued my time with Princess Remedy to the extent that it feels like I should have paid for it. I wish I could have paid for it, even a small sum like £1-2, any contribution that I could have made to the developers of this world of hurt that I cured and enjoyed all the way. And for that to be my biggest complaint speaks numbers for the quality of the product, a product that I’d wholeheartedly recommend giving a go. If everything I’ve described here sounds like your sort of thing, then I assure you, you’ll have a blast.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that you’ll feel like Daniel Freaking Bryan when you take out that final boss. Gods damn, it’s a great and fulfilling feeling.