Nippon Ichi Software is best known for their silly and comical games like the Disgaea Series and The Princess Guide will not disappoint its fans. Releasing for both the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch on the 26th of March, you put yourself in the shoes of an experienced knight to teach one of four titular princesses the art of war and push back the evil that threatens to take over the land. Commence the Princess Training Program and let’s put a brand new spin in military training!
There’s a unique story to tell and you times that by four! – Each of the Princess Knight has their own story to tell and your choices will directly affect how their tale unfolds. From the vengeful Veronica with her fixation towards turning people, friend or foe, into frogs, the gluttonous Liliartie who only seeks for food even in the face of danger, maybe the chivalrous Monomaria perhaps in her quest to end poverty or the dragon princess Alpana to spread words of peace and faith across the realm.
And you will start off your instructor duties by learning the basics in a tutorial phase that will teach you the art of combat and strategy. From the use of your basic attacks, commander attacks or EX Skills among a few others, each one is detailed enough to get you through without second guessing how things work. Within a few micro-interactions later, you’ll be choosing your own gender and personality which directly affects the interaction with your princess knight in certain occasions as well as the choice of which princess you’d want to start with.
As an experienced and battle-ready knight, you’ll be requested by the princess knights on the first phase of the game going from one princess to the other which gives you a good look at everyone’s situation. Eventually, you’ll be asked a second time by the princess knights with their own set of requests but this time, you’ll only be taking on one of them until their tale completely unfolds with multiple endings to boot! A rather short tale yet it complements replayability that doesn’t drag on for far too long.
The 2D scrolling action-RPG puts you in direct control of intense battles across the land. With fast-paced strategic battles, issue orders to your army directly on the battlefield as they clash with the enemy forces. All while obtaining rare loots and lost relics. Command your squad to attack or enter new battle formations to win every encounter that also has its own benefits like increasing defense or restoring health among a few others. Destroy the opposition with traps or patch yourself up with the relics scattered nearby. It’s a bird’s eye view action-oriented game during battle but turns into a point and select setup when you’re marching towards new objectives or side missions. But what’s really interesting to see is its similarities towards a board game where you move your pieces from one plot to the other in order to obtain treasures, inspect unknown lands or defend points of interests from the enemy’s advance. This makes good use of the multiple squads you have at hand that promotes multi-tasking and the different playstyles of your commanders and their unique weapon EX Skills.
To be praised or to be scolded? That is the question! – While I am no Shakespeare, your princess apparently is. Having the ability to praise or scold your Princess Knight whether in battle or mid-conversations affect their growth and enhances their abilities during battle to tip the balance to your favor. Whether it’s activating an HP recovery buff during dire situations or increasing your attack to put that miserable slime to its knees… if it had any! That and the many weapons you can obtain and enhance to buff up that skinny little princess.
An RPG game will never be complete without a leveling system that complements it. And The Princess Guide is not safe from this either. But unlike the traditional RPG, the princess improves her abilities by obtaining Materia and using it to improve her parameters. This can be obtained in numerous ways such as progressing her story, defeating a number of specified monsters and other clear conditions to make each and every battle unique should you like to power up her abilities even more while the instructor knight obtains skill points and uses it to improve certain parameters like health, attack, defense and other passive abilities that resets when a new playthrough has started.
It’s a visually pleasing game even with the hyper bouncing characters as they speak. Set with a visual novel style of storytelling, it delivers a fun and comical way of progressing the story and uplifting the dominant characters that makes up the game. To a point I find it hard to choose which character to start with and who I want to end it with. They really grow on you as a person and learning their situation as the princess of a land torn in war and chaos makes it even more heartbreaking not to start another run right after the other ended.
OVERALL – It delivers what it came to do and did it with passion. From the lovable characters to the tales of old. The charm was definitely there to pull you in even if the battles can be rather repetitive although it helped to be challenging at the right times. Its comical story sucks you in for more even when the story is set to a close. It’s a £39.99 well spent if you like games that offer multi-ended stories even with its repetitive combat that borrows some of its mechanics from Penny-Punching Princess.