Title: The Princess Guide
Genre: Strategy, Action RPG
Modes: Single Player
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Platform(s): Switch (reviewed), PS4
Release: March 26th, 2019
In The Princess Guide, you take the role of a seasoned warrior, and set out to teach four princess from different kingdoms how to lead their people to victory. Through a praise/scold mechanism, you interact with each princess and help them grow as leaders which influences the overall game. Will you be able to teach each princess?
The Tip and The Top
The first thing that stands out in The Princess Guide is the story. The game’s humor is cute and funny, and you can tell that there was a lot of time and effort put not only into the story, but into the localization work too. The game’s story translates pretty well, and the jokes will make you laugh. The voice acting (all in Japanese) is well done and adds flavor to the already colorful cast of characters.
Each princess is unique. There are four princesses and each one has their own personality. The way you interact with them, either by scolding or praising them, changes the way the characters talk to you and how they respond in battle. For example, if you praise the princess for doing a good job, it may cause them to regenerate their health, or they can get a special attack bonus. The praise/scolding mechanic is an interesting concept, and how you treat the princesses will also affect the ending you’ll get as each princess has 3 different endings based on the praise or scolding you give to the princess.
Another aspect that stands out is the game’s artwork. The character designs are nicely done, and the different enemies that you fight are beautiful. The bosses here look fantastic as well. Another thing that stands out is the amount of enemies that are on the screen at one time and, thankfully, there is no dip in performance.
The customization in the game is well done too. You can pick what your character looks like and their voice/personality which also affects the way the princesses interact with your character. There are a ton of different weapons and each one has a special attack. Exploring the different weapon options and their special abilities is fun, and you soon start to learn what weapons work best for your style of play. The best advice is to try out all the different weapons as you might find one works really well for you.
You also build your squads, not just for your character, but for the princesses and for the different commanders that you can recruit as well. Each character and squad member has their own special attacks. You can also craft your own weapons and items in the game, however, in the first half, the weapons you find far exceed the weapons you can create. However, in the latter half, the weapons you can create are pretty powerful.
The game leans heavy on an arcade style action, and it does a fine job at it. There is plenty to learn as there are different attacks based on the different combinations of buttons. You can also change the formation of your squad which will help you in different ways. The learning curve can seem a bit daunting, however the tutorial does a nice job walking you through how to play the game. If you forget about any aspects of the battle mechanics, you can always replay the tutorials. The game also offers different missions for you to play through. Some missions will be convoy missions as you escort a character through the overworld map, and another mission might be defending a castle in the battle arena. Although admittedly, some of the missions are very similar.
You level up the princesses through Materia which you earn throughout the game. The Materia that you use also nets you skill points that can be used to level up your character too. It’s an interesting way to incorporate two different methods of levelling up the characters: one through “teaching” the princess with the Materia found and the other being more a traditional way of assigning skill points.
The Flip and The Flop
While the tutorial does a good job teaching you how to do the basic combat, it doesn’t do a very good job teaching you about the Materia and how you earn it. Sometimes you earn Materia by going through and claiming relics. You might also earn Materia by surviving a battle with very little health. It’s interesting that you can earn different Materia different ways, but it would be helpful to have a list of the different Materia available to you so you can work at earning them.
The other thing that is a bit frustrating is that after you beat all the enemies in a level, you are only given a few seconds to open the treasure chests in the area. Always make sure that you open all the chests before defeating the last enemy as the chests will hold different weapons or different boosts to your stats.
Final Grade: A-
The story of The Princess Guide is well done and the praise/scold feature is an interesting twist on how you interact with the different princesses to unlock different bonuses. The game is deceptively deep with the amount of different attacks, weapons, and squad building options. This may seem pretty intimidating at first, but after a few rounds you’ll find yourself picking up on the mechanics pretty quickly. The game is reminiscent of arcade-style games like Gauntlet, so if you like arcade style games with RPG aspects, this game would be up your alley.
Review copy provided by NIS America