Hyper Princess Pitch is an absolutely marvelous top-down, single screen shooter by Daniel Remar, also known for his equally excellent Iji and Hero games.
Described as a remake of a less known DOS action game Operation: Carnage from 1996, Hyper Princess Pitch takes a spin on the original serious Alien-style SF story and delivers something several times more fun and exhilarating to play.
While copying the gameplay of Operation: Carnage, the design is more in the vein of Llamatron or maybe "Bullet hell" shooters, frantic and relentless.
The story places the player in the role of Princess Pitch who has a mission to take vengeance on Mecha Santa and his robot elves for not getting a Christmas present. Now, the plot might sound silly and trivial and the idea of playing a spoiled brat not very attractive, but the way the story is delivered and the Princess designed, including superb voice acting, is pure brilliance and will make you fall in love with the game world and the main character immediately.
As I previously said, the gameplay is single screen based, with each screen (room) featuring several waves of enemies, previously present in the room or swarming from various gates. The goal is to destroy them using 3 weapons at your disposal (brick gun - unlimited ammo, ice, rainbow), taking the least amount of damage, all in order to proceed to the next room. Hyper Princess Pitch's gameplay features a wide range of enemies, from regular robot elves, lethal toy trains to flying battle sleds. The game is divided into 4 levels, with each level featuring its final boss, and each level boss requires a different tactic for victory. To reach the last room of the level the player can take several paths, which increases the replay value of the game, among other features I'll brush off later. The gameplay is also enriched with many powerups, bonus items and special moves the Princess can perform. In a nutshell, it's impossible to be bored by this game. The engine is smooth and flawless and the controls are simple as it gets. With arrow keys you move the princess, while with the other two action keys you shoot or change weapons. While shooting and moving the direction of gun fire remains the same, which is an important feature to use when fending off enemies.
The game allows you to play in 5 difficulty levels, with every completed difficulty level unlocking new secrets, so the game is rewarding to replay several times, even more having in mind the previously mentioned multipath level design. It's not the longest game out there, which is the only flaw I can think of, but this fact is compensated almost completely by the replay value features.
Hyper Princess Pitch above all boasts with its brilliantly energetic and flamboyant design, one that is so beautifully consistent, starting from the opening, main menu, delivery of the story, to all the smaller and bigger details that make the gameplay. The very graphical design is flawless, including wonderful and effective retro graphics, vibrant animation and various graphics effects. Despite the screen being crammed with enemies and explosions for the most of time, the action is always clear and you never feel overwhelmed with content.
On the top of brilliant graphical design, Daniel Remar doesn't drop the ball when it comes to sounds effects that accompany the game's retro style perfectly, and he also manages to acquire the talents of Niklas Strom for the original game soundtrack.
One of the best freeware "discoveries" for me in the last two years and a game I can recommend to anyone, anytime, who ever that person happens to be or think he/she is.
Review by: Lachie Dazdarian