Title: The Liar Princess and The Blind Prince
Genre: Action Adventure, General
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)
Release: Feb 12, 2019
It’s so difficult to pinpoint what adds or detracts from the value of a video game. Long gone are the days of full-priced AAA titles drowning the market thanks to digital storefronts that are full of proliferating indie gems at discount prices. With such a diverse catalogue of games at extremely reasonable prices, it’s becoming harder to part with our hard-earned dollars just to add another game onto the backlog. Those with a laundry list of games to play can rest easy knowing that The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince isn’t a very good game, and it’s not quite worth its price at $40 despite its beautiful aesthetic and cutesy charm.
The Tip and The Top
The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince is a puzzle platformer that spins a whimsical fairy tale that feels straight out of a storybook. The game catalogues a story about a wolf that accidentally blinds a prince and sets out to amend the mistake. There are frequent pauses to let the characters interact, and the writing and localization work are excellent here. It’s fun to watch the prince and princess interact, and the plot feels like something straight out of 18th century folklore that Disney hasn’t gotten its child-friendly paws on yet.
The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince is also beautiful to look at. The hand-drawn art direction is top-notch and it strikes a satisfyingly consistent tone. With a muted color palette and environments that have a twist of macabre dread, The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince often does feel like a storybook come to life.
The Flip and The Flop
While The Liar Princess looks and reads just like a storybook, it makes you suffer through plenty of subpar gameplay to get to the good stuff. As a puzzle platformer it’s incredibly simple and tragically uninteresting. You control the princess who can transform into her original wolf form at will, and you’re tasked with escorting the prince to the end of each level while defeating any enemies and solving any puzzles that stand in your way. The combat consists of mashing the attack button to swipe away enemies, and the simple mechanics hold back the puzzle design. There are some different ideas being thrown around in the late-game puzzle solving, but they simply require more precise timing rather than deeper thought.
The game’s stiff controls and clunky animations make the platforming portions and the sections that require precise timing significantly more frustrating. Jumps feel floaty, combat sputters along, and collision detection is frustratingly inconsistent. Expect to be set back due to inconsistent controls and weird hitboxes. There are some collectibles strewn about the levels that unlock some neat concept art, but having to platform up to them makes their acquisition feel more tedious than anything else. Checkpoints are prevalent and a level can be skipped if you struggle on it long enough, but the fact remains that The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince isn’t very fun to play.
The Liar Princess also suffers from a few technical issues that were hard to overlook. Menus cannot be controlled with the analogue stick which is a baffling design decision. It’s jarring to pause the game after using the analogue stick and feeling like everything froze because the menu only responds to directional button inputs. While the game runs well for the most part, glitches seem a bit too prevalent for a game that’s already been out for nearly a year in Japan.