If you are jonesing for the old school days of incredibly hard beat em ups, then Vanillaware has a surprise for you. Dragon’s Crown, the game well known for its characters with gigantic muscles and breasts, actually has gameplay, and good gameplay at that. So stop ogling the sorceress long enough to hear our impressions of the title from E3 2013.

Dragon Crown is a fairly straight forward side scrolling brawler. Characters really have only two attacks. They can use their basic attack, which tends to be some sort of melee attack for fighters and a projectile for mages and archers, and they can use an area attack which hits all enemies around them. Using an area attack actually changes your attack style for a short duration, specifically until the area attack has recharged. For example, the Amazon becomes slower and more powerful while the Dwarf drops his axes and becomes quicker.

Everything else is a matter of equipment management. Along the way you will come across treasure chests that can be opened by moving a cursor (with the right stick) over it and pressing triangle to call your thief. Some chests need keys to open them and others need puzzles to be solved in order to spring their locks. Still, others come alive as mimics which you then have to beat down.

Chests can contain health restoring items, gold, or more importantly, secondary weapons like the crossbow or, no fooling, a flame thrower. These weapons all have a limited use and are best used with specific character classes. For example, the cross bow is best used with the Archer.

Unfortunately, the demo didn’t show us the character advancing aspect of the game. Characters gain levels and get new abilities and equipment as you go on. Each character you raise can then be saved and swapped to your PS Vita in order to take him on the road. You can also bring your character online and join in other people’s games. Playing online also increases the spoils of whatever stage you were playing on.

However, the big draw to Dragon’s Crows is easily the visuals. At the end of the stage we were on we fought a gigantic harpy that took up most of the screen. All of us had to team up together in order to take it down, utilizing the Wizard’s ice spells alongside the Dwarf’s multi-hit body splash. Even before the boss fight the random enemies we fought looked like moving images out of a storybook. You can lose yourself for hours simply staring at the sorcererss’s… er… character art.

Dragon’s Crown is scheduled for release on the PS Vita and PS3 and will be hitting store shelves on August 6th this year.