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Maid Survivors preview (PlayX4) — A Brotato-esque horde survival game with anime packaging and evolutions to the genre — GAMINGTREND

Recently I was lucky enough to attend PlayX4 in Gyeonggi, South Korea. During my time there, I was able to sit down with developer MilkEmpire and play an early version of Little Angels: Maid Survivors, a top-down horde survival game inspired by Brotato, a game of the same genre. While the two titles share many similarities in terms of gameplay, Little Angels adds its own twist to the tried and true Brotato formula.

One aspect that sets Little Angels apart is that it has some lore. It’s nothing deep, but it adds context to the events of the game. In classic anime fashion, maids and demons are locked in a millennia-long conflict, with maids fighting to protect the world and demons fighting to end it. You play as one of four girls (they aim to have ten by the end of development) who work at a girls’ bar called “Little Angels”, which is run by a woman named Mori Ika. In addition to running the bar, Mori founded ‘Twin Tail Corp.’ on – in fact the supreme command of the maids.

As a maid, you’re sent into the streets of Akihabarize, a facsimile of Akihabara, an area of ​​Tokyo known for its devotion to anime, manga, gaming and idol culture, as well as maid cafes. The intersection where you fight is quite large, giving you plenty of room to run around the constantly spawning demons as you fight them. You don’t have to fight forever, but after a certain time the remaining demons will disappear and the shop will appear. The currency the store accepts is called “eru energy.” This drops from the monsters you kill during the round and doubles as XP for leveling up, giving you stat boosts. There are a maximum of four weapons and upgrades in the shop at any time, but you can spend eru energy on re-rolls of your selection, and you can lock items to prevent them from disappearing on re-rolls and between shop visits.

There are plenty of stats to upgrade, some of which are self-explanatory, such as damage, health and speed. Then there are more complex statistics like luck and bonus. Luck increases the chance of higher level upgrades as you level up, as well as the chance of capsules: small toy pods that occasionally drop from enemies and grant free items. The Bonus Stat gives free eru energy corresponding to the level at the end of the wave.

Items are a careful balancing act; While they provide stat boosts, they often have drawbacks. For example, the gas mask item increases your range stat by two points and decreases your speed by five percent. If you’re not careful, you can lean into the negatives. If that happens, you simply won’t get a bonus for some stats, and if the stat goes too far into the negatives, then you’ve pretty much dug yourself into a hole. For other metrics you are actively debuffered. Take the bonus stat for example: if it’s negative, you’re actively bleeding eru energy at the end of each round.

There are currently four maids in the game, each with their own evasion and special abilities, as well as starting stats. The first is Otohime, a clumsy princess girl with her own entourage of gunmen. When summoned, they form a circle around Otohime and shoot nearby threats to protect her. Otohime’s evasion consists of tripping, falling, and sliding on the ground. When I first saw it, it made me chuckle. Otohime gets a plus five for luck and bonus and a plus ten for maximum health.

The next girl is Shirai, and she is… completely unhinged. She has a violent, obsessive personality. For her special attack, she beats up a stuffed rabbit, then channels her hatred and anger before slamming it into the ground, causing a massive explosion. The game even switches to a view of the globe, where you can see the explosion that engulfs much of… Baja California? Back on stage, virtually every enemy within the blast radius will be caught, destroying most of them instantly. Shirai’s dodge places landmines behind her, making it ideal for luring enemies. Alternatively, you can just dive right into the middle of the horde, like a bomber dropping its payload. Additionally, she starts with twenty life steals, twenty crit chances, and negative five armor.

Moving on to the third, we have Genius. She’s a pain, but a smart pain. In the story, she has a huge ego and refuses to respond unless addressed as “brilliant mad scientist Genius”, but she does have the competence to back it up. Her specialty is technique, in which she scores ten points, but she is also agile, scoring six points in speed. Her agility is reflected in her sprinting ability, which, unlike Otohime’s, is a graceful leap through the air with a good dose of force behind it. Genius’ special attack unleashes three laser-blasting robots that patrol the stage.

Finally, we have Kanekuma, an oni with a blank expression. Her red outfit makes her aesthetically match the demons more, and she carries a large spiked club that she makes use of during her evasion. Well, it’s more of an attack, as she jumps into the air and smashes the ground. Her special attack is called ‘Insanity – God of Hell Rampage’, and she spins around with her club, forming a cyclone, all without ever losing the look of surprise on her face. She gets a plus ten to damage and melee attacks, and a minus ten to ranged attacks.

From Otohime’s incompetent dodge slide and arm-waving anime girls to the combination of Kanekuma’s personality and attacks, this game has quite a bit of humor: a bit of deadpan and a bit of slapstick. One of the items is called the Master Key… It’s a stone. Little Angels: Maid Survivors leans unashamedly hard into its anime themes (I’m surprised none of the girls are running around with toast in their mouths), and that gives it an identity. The game will be released in early access on Korean gaming service STOVE in August and on Steam at the end of this year. They aim to release the full game in the first half of 2025. For now, you can try the demo on both platforms.

Jackson enjoys playing and writing about video games. Rogue-lites, FPS and RPG games are his favorite. He is a big fan of the Battlefield series and Warhammer 40K.

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