Overview – developed by AI-Link and Lemoon Pie, with publishing handled by eastasiasoft, Queeny Army is a side scrolling, run and gun platformer with a retro aesthetic. Set in the war-torn city of San Romero, a team of young women go on a journey of vengeance and liberation against the dangerous regime that has seized control of the government. This title is available on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4/5, Links to each version of the game will be at the bottom of this review.
Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank eastasiasoft for providing the copy of Queeny Army that was used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the content of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.
Mature Content Disclaimer: this title has been rated Mature, this is due to the inclusion of intense violence, blood and gore, suggestive themes, partial nudity and strong language. If you are under the recommended age limit for this game or find any of the content featured offensive, then please proceed at your own discretion.
Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. I will be skipping the story segment and move directly into the gameplay segment for this review.
Gameplay – Queeny Army is a run and gun action platformer, with a retro style aesthetic to it. The objective of the game is to reach the end of the stage and defeat the boss, battling the enemies that attempt to stop the player, collecting power-ups and avoiding hazards. At the start of the game, the player must select one of 12 girls, each with their own unique story elements, character skills and starting weapon that they can use.
When the player has selected their character, a unique cutscene will play out, giving story details for that character to flesh them out before starting. After the story part plays out the game starts proper, throwing the player into frantic run and gun action, with hordes of enemies to mow down and hazards to overcome. Being a run and gun title, there is also a considerable amount of platforming that the player will need to do in order to reach the boss.
In the basic tool kit for each character there is the ability to shoot, use a melee attack, switch between held weapons, dodge roll to avoid enemies and even double/wall jump to reach higher spaces. The gunplay has an 8-way directional system like that of Contra, with a plethora of weapons that can be collected, with two weapons that can be held at once. There is also a system where the player can stand in place to hit enemies in a specific direction, but this does leave them open to attack.
Unfortunately, the game does not give a tutorial or explanation for most of the abilities/weapons or how to use them, aside from a character profile in the pause menu. Sadly, this impacts the flow of the game, making it difficult to get adjusted when first starting, as each character skill and weapons lacks an explanation on character selection. The absence of a tutorial and character/weapon details leads to additional issues, including some inconsistencies with platforming especially with knockback.
Luckily there are no instant death pits, as any fall into a pit results in the player taking damage instead of outright killing them. While this is a positive, it does highlight the negative that is the unfortunate platforming. The generous checkpoint system does compensate for this, along with the regular item drops from destroyed objects and a plenty of weapons to get back into the action after death. If all lives are lost, continues can be purchased for 5000 points from the player score to keep going.
There is an unfortunate bug with this release in relation to the continue system. It is possible to lock the lives for a new game to one, which can be frustrating as it will be permanently stuck at one. This bug can severely impact the gameplay experience as some characters are weaker than others, as well as the different weapons they can use. If this bug occurs, it is best for the player to try and earn points as quickly as possible to be able to continue, resetting the life counter to 5.
The action does run at a steady pace, with plenty of enemies appearing on screen but it does add another minor issue to the experience. When an enemy is off screen, they are still able to throw attacks at the player, meaning attacks that move in an arc will not be seen until it is too late leading to unfair and sudden damage. This can make getting through the stages a when starting the game for the first time a nightmare, since sudden damage can be taken, leading to knockback and even falling damage.
The last thing to discuss is the boss battles in this title. When the player reaches the boss of the stage, the will be trapped in an arena with their opponent, similar to that of Mega Man and other titles in the platform action genre. The bosses are significantly larger than the player too, with big attacks and a health bar across the bottom of the screen. Different weapons deal different amounts of damage to bosses, so it is important for players to experiment with weapons to learn what works best.
Now with the gameplay covered, I will be moving onto the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.
Controls – the controls for this release work fairly well, but they do have some flaws to them which are frustrating during the course of the game. While the layout for the button inputs are comfortable, there are some inconsistencies and lag with jumping and movement being a little twitchy. This is to the detriment of the gameplay experience as there are moments where jumps don’t occur, or the character will do a second jump without trying. Sadly, this disrupts the flow of the game which is disappointing.
Difficulty – there are four difficulty settings for this title, changing different elements of challenge to the player. However, even on the lowest difficulty setting this is a difficult game, made tougher by the lack of tutorial or clear information about the game mechanics. The minor issues and inconsistencies of the platforming/shooting action makes this not only a hard but frustrating time for players, but the generous checkpoint system and bountiful item drops ease the pain a little.
Presentation – the visual style for this release has a pixel art look to it, appearing to emulate classic games of the past but sadly it is a little hit and miss. The sprite work for gameplay itself is decent, however, the art used for the cutscenes and character portrait art can be messy. The sound is okay, with music that has a mix of synth and what sounds like guitar, but it can be droning and shrill at times which can detract from the experience.
Final Thoughts – I sadly didn’t have as much fun with this title as I had hoped, with the one life bug and the flaws of the game pulling me out of the experience. It does have its moments where there is fun once you get used to it and find a character that you like, but that doesn’t help during the first hour or two of gameplay. I don’t think I can recommend this game right now to a general audience, but I am sure that some hardcore fans of challenging run and gun shooters may have fun with it.
In the end, I give Queeny Army a final score of 2.5/5. A promising indie run and gun shooter, which is unfortunately brought down by flaws that can hinder the experience, but what it lacks in polish it does make up for in the potential for fun if a little time is put into learning the game. If you want to check this title out for yourself, links to each version of the game will be below.
Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)
Link to PlayStation 4/5 version (HERE)