A Scantily Clad Throwback
In a quest to free the nation from a newly corrupt government regime you must assume the role of 1 out of 12 playable heroines as a means to unshackle your beloved country lest all the men get murdered, all the women raped, and the realm pillaged. To aid you in these endeavors, you are fully equipped with an arsenal of weaponry which you will be juggling constantly, much like the run and gunners of yesteryear. A pale comparison to the classic NES titles it’s so desperately trying to evoke, Queeny Army feels more like a fever dream than a quality homage. The fact it even exists on the PlayStation 5 is truly bizarre. Originally released on the PC back in November 2019, it finds itself on Sony’s new console some 2 years later, and subsequently into my hands. So, without further ado, here is my review of Lemoonpie Games’ Queeny Army for the PS5.
To be blunt, the game is a strange mix between Contra, Metal Slug, and even Mega-Man at times with some juvenile fan fiction thrown in for good measure, or at least that’s what it wants to be. In execution, it plays like a drug-fueled, nightmarish, hormonal mess. It captures that old school magic only in that it’s frustratingly hard, and it controls poorly. Your chosen character is far too sensitive and twitchy, resulting in you flipping around the screen and zipping from one place to the next so fast that you can’t ever properly judge a situation. The best way I can describe it is that it feels sped up as if played on an emulator and bumped up to 2x speed. Oftentimes, it will throw dozens of enemies at you all at once, some of whom can decimate you in an instance without giving you a moment to properly react. Also, just to add insult to injury, sometimes your attacks won’t register, or enemies will inexplicably jump over you leaving them in a position to shoot you in the back with no chance of retaliation before you’ve already taken the hit. Similarly, annoying too is the naming conventions of the guns. Not only will the game force you to perpetually swap your load-out, but you can never get a feel for the best guns as they all have oddly specific code names for them. I suspect these are the official names for the firearms but in any case it’s not necessary here. Needless to say, the shooting and combat are infuriating and too unpredictable to be any fun, especially on harder difficulties.
The platforming doesn’t fare any better here either as it suffers from the same fundamental issues. The animations and jump arc are far too quick. In the time it takes you to press the button you’ve already performed a double jump vault off a wall, soared over your intended platform, leaving you falling to your doom rendering you completely baffled as to how much chaos had ensued over very little input. It’s particularly frustrating in clutch moments too, say for example, if you need to make a certain jump or maneuver to only just make it to the next checkpoint. That is to say, the game needs to chill out ever so slightly and ease its foot off the gas because some sections of the game, especially the levels that have some verticality, are quite fun. It feels a little bit amateurish, specifically in its level design and enemy placement which only compounds the issues to be had with the controls.
Having said that, it’s not all bad. If it had tightened its controls a bit, laid off the cocaine a touch, and focused on making the shooting satisfying then there could be a decent game in here somewhere. Furthermore, to the game’s credit, the soundtrack is badass, and all 6 levels are varied and unique with some nice pixel art on display too. The background will feature moving components sometimes and it can look pretty exceptional in some portions, rarely repeating itself as well. Considering the quality of the backgrounds and levels, it’s a shame that the sprites for the main girls look a bit below par. Enemies and bosses look good but all the protagonists look a bit off. A major flaw given that the developers clearly wanted the “babes” to be the game’s gimmick.
All things considered, although many might enjoy the throwback nature of the gameplay, Queeny Army simply isn’t fun to play. This may have been the standard back in the 1980s, but gaming has advanced greatly, leaving experiences such as this in the dirt. It’s not the worst attempt I’ve ever seen to recreate that nostalgic memorization one can get from modern-day platformers, but it still leaves much to be desired. If they can shake off their juvenile tendencies I’d be interested to see what Lemoonpie Games has in store for us next. Good luck to them I say.
Varied and unique levels
Nice pixel art background
Feels sped up