I first played Damsel at PAX Australia back in 2018 and remember feeling hopeful that it would be playable on the Nintendo Switch. I, myself, don’t own a high powered gaming PC and wanted to give the game the love it deserved, rather than playing it on sub par equipment. When it eventually did get its Switch release in late 2019, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a review copy! 

This edition came with anticipation, as over the years it’s had great reception from audiences in the PAX Rising area. The talent showcased from Australian indie developers has been a strong example of what small studios are capable of and there is so much diversity in the games that are presented. I’ve always been impressed by how much energy and excitement exudes from the people who promote Damsel, it’s definitely a game that was lovingly crafted.

As this is Screwtape Studio’s first majorly successful release since developing a slew of mobile titles, it’s all the more impressive. Damsel is a welcome addition to anyone’s Switch library and I’d recommend it to newcomers to the action-platformer genre!

The Pros & Cons

Damsel is a game that is just plain fun to play! The gameplay consists mainly of dashes, jumps and shooting elements and its a lot more fluid on the Nintendo Switch due to the added mobility of the Joy Cons. There is far greater accessibility to the player when given the option to play docked or in handheld mode and gives more of a choice to people of different play styles.  

The game’s narrative is told through comic book strips rather than traditional cutscenes and it suited the genre really nicely. Small segments of the story will unfold before each mission begins and give more insight into the personalities of the main characters. It’s definitely a game written with comic book fans in mind as there are lots of funny quips and one liners included in each scene. The music used also adds to the intense atmosphere and brings life to each level.  

Damsel does requires an internet connection to run, as player stats are listed at the end of each section. Unfortunately this meant that I wasn’t able to play during long flights and times when I was out of the house, so keep that in mind if you’re someone who prefers to play on the go. 

I played through the game on regular difficulty and found it challenging enough to keep me engaged while not being overly stressful. The controls were easy to grasp as well, which gave me more control to create some really fun combos while completing tasks. Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience!

The Passion Behind Damsel

Meg Summers, the Product Manager and QA Consultant on Damsel has been a familiar face over the years at PAX Australia and is always someone ready to share her insight on producing a game like this. 

One major thing Meg touched on is how important it was to Screwtape to have a female lead, particularly one who wasn’t sexualised. Damsel is a character who is capable, kick-ass and despite the title, is far from being in distress. The game’s writing really drives that message home and is complimented by its art style. 

Pictured: Meg Summers (Left) and Anthony Wood (Right), Developers on Damsel

This is Screwtape Studios’ first major release on a larger platform, as the Brisbane based studio made their start developing mobile titles. The success of Damsel is a real testament to the capabilities of people within the indie scene and is encouraging to those wanting to start a career in this space. 

Getting to know the people behind the games we play and love is a great way to further our own education on the culture surrounding them. PAX Rising provides a space for attendees to experience new types of games they may not have been open to before, as well as learn from developers about the investment that goes into these titles. Other expos such as Rezzed, which takes place in the UK, is a convention entirely dedicated to indie games and it’s wonderful to see the turnout grow at these events each year. 

Since completing the game, I’ve been eager to see where Screwtape goes in the future and if any new IP will be brought to the table following this game. I certainly wouldn’t mind a second instalment of Damsel, but we’ll have to wait and see! 

For more information on Damsel, Screwtape Studios is very active on their Twitter account or you can visit their official website where you can find out more about the team. Be sure to follow GameRVW on all social media platforms for more unbiased reviews, articles and updates on all things gaming!