Boy, these names aren’t getting any easier to pronounce. Anyway, if you’ve read my review for the first Rosenkreuzstilette, you may know right off the bat that this is essentially Mega Man but prettied up with anime girls. That holds true with Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel, as the game doesn’t necessarily change a lot of the original’s establishments. One can expect more of the same, but there are just enough differences that tap into the bigger picture: Is Freudenstachel better or worse than its predecessor?

Story

Easily the biggest difference is that Spiritia, the expy for the Blue Bomber from the first game, has been replaced by its ice-themed boss, Freudia. After the events of Rosenkreuzstilette, the Pope of the Orthodox Church declares that all Magi are considered menaces to society. He rounds up not only his own set of magic-users, but he also kidnaps Spiritia and the Magi from the previous game return to their roles as baddies. That’s the sum-up of the exposition, but the game does have plenty of in-game dialogue for further developments and personalities.

Graphics/Audio

There isn’t really that much I could elaborate on here since what I have discussed in my Rosenkreuzstilette review remain the same case here. What I can say is that the production values are just as great, if not slightly better. The graphics are detailed and rich, and the soundtrack is both atmospheric and catchy in places it decides to be one or the other. Amusingly, whereas the first game actually ran at less than 30 frames per second on my laptop, Freudenstachel managed to run at 60 despite being made in the same exact engine/framework.

Gameplay

If you’re familiar with the Mega Man series, you know exactly how this will go down: Eight levels to take on with a boss at the end of each, and the final act contains a series of levels that are based in a large castle. As Freudia, you run, jump, and shoot your way through gauntlets of varied enemies, hazards, and platforms alike. Beating bosses grants you the ability to use their powers for your own benefit, and you may also eventually unlock abilities that make platforming a little more flexible.

What’s interesting about Freudia is that her default power is the very same power you get from her in the first game; because of that, it is easier to shoot rapidly. Yet you also have to make sure you don’t run out of ammo. Fortunately, there are always enough item pickups to make sure that isn’t an issue. In fact, the game as a whole feels easier to grasp than the original – and I’m not just saying that because the framerate was better for me.

The bosses can still move faster and more elaborately than Robot Masters, but the weaknesses are more reliable as long as you can still dodge attacks for long. For that matter, the levels have generally prioritized a more genuine challenge to the point where they truly feel like the kind of designs that wouldn’t be out of place in a real Mega Man title. There are still some archaic design choices left over from the original (PASSWORDS), but I didn’t find myself wanting to take a break from the game out of frustration. On top of that, there are more creative set pieces and stand-out moments altogether; one highlight for me is the fact that you can swim in the water stage. I also thought this part shown below’s rather cute.

Verdict

Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel plays a lot like the original game, but it improves on some things to make it a more fun experience as a whole. While the first wasn’t a bad game by any means, it’s the sequel that I would think of coming back to to enjoy it all over again. If you’re looking for a new Mega Man-esque game, this title is the way to go.