Don’t you hate it when, in the middle of spinning and swirling and dancing with your one true love in some fantasy-quality grassy field, a ferocious monster snatches away your significant only, leaving you standing there, burning for justice and revenge? I know I do. And so does Kelda, the star of The Tale of Kelda, which was another high-up-on-the-list entry, in terms of votes, for the GameBoy Jam 3 from last year–yes, I’m still nibbling away at it–of which I’ve also tried out two other strong contenders in the names of Roguelight and Meowgical Tower.
The Tale of Kelda, from Sinextra Game Studio and which obviously has no obvious connection with The Legend of Zelda (obviously), is an action platformer, starring the princess herself, which would make Anita Sarkeesian quite proud. It kind of reminds me of when Jade, a journalist, was sent to rescue Double H, an armored soldier, who was kidnapped by the evildoers in Beyond Good & Evil. If only we can get a true take on this notion from Nintendo with the Mario series, and no, sorry, Super Princess Peach was not the best effort, given that most of her power-ups rely on emotions, like joy and rage. Y’know, because all women are emotional.
Moving right along, Kelda deals in simple actions: moving left and right, jumping, double jumping, slashing with her sword, and charging up a magic projectile. That’s it. You’ll use all of these skills to complete each level, with the level’s end identified by a road sign and an arrow to follow. You have five hearts, and a set number of magic spell uses, though killing enemies and breaking pots will reveal extra pick-ups to refill those meters. All in all, it’s a straightforward experience, with little challenge, though there is something extremely satisfying about slashing a skeleton archer to death before it can loose an arrow your way. The platforming is rudimentary and never really tasks with you anything too challenging, but it gets the job done.
A few quibbles, of course. Kelda occasionally would land on the edge of a platform, and she’d sort of get stuck in-between the geometry. I never felt truly confident leaping to another ledge and slashing at an enemy awaiting me there. Lastly, I was able to cheese the final boss by standing in one spot and perfectly timing four or five magic projectiles in a row. Oh wells. This is a jam game, after all, and still a solid stab at the theme and all its limitations.
I have a few more entries from GameBoy Jam 3 downloaded to look at, though I will never experience all 239 creations. Certainly not at my pace, at least. Regardless, stay tuned for more retro-themed adventures and my avant-garde thoughts on ’em. Long live princesses.