What do you get when you mix Gauntlet, Battlefield, and Capture the Flag? Well, Fat Princess of course. This is the newest game released on the Playstation Network (PSN) on the Playstation 3 and for $14.99 you will lose hours of your life… and that may just be one game.
Fat Princess is a reason I’m glad I got a PS3 over a stand alone blu-ray player. The PSN games have proven again and again that even if you can’t find something you want at retail, there’s something you can download and spend hours playing. This came out a little bit back, but I had spent so much time playing it that I forgot to write about it.
There is a single player mode but it is mostly just an extended tutorial to get you used to the games mechanics and try out the different game modes. The real time spent is online multiplayer where you can play up to 32 player (with or without bots) in 4 different game modes. The main mode is Rescue the Princess mode. The way this mode is played is that you have your opponent’s princess held captive, now you need to rescue your princess from the enemy’s castle and bring her back. Keep both of them in your castle for a certain amount of time, and you win. Meanwhile, of course, they are trying to do the same thing. The next mode is Snatch ‘N Grab mode which is very similar. Kidnap the enemy princess from their castle, but this time as soon as you bring her to your castle you get a point and she is teleported back to the enemy castle. Do this a set number of times to win. Invasion mode has you take over outposts throughout the levels and if you control more outposts than your opponents you drain their counter down. Drain it completely to win. Finally there is a team deathmatch option that just has your team start with a set number of lives, try to get rid of all their lives before you lose all of yours.
Now you may ask what brings depth to this game, and luckily there is plenty. There are multiple classes that you can play as in the game which you pick by getting a hat that is near a generator for that class within your castle. Each class has it’s own abilities and role to play in the battles, and they can be upgraded as well. There is the Mage that starts with a fire attack, but can be upgraded to also do ice attacks. The Priest starts as a “Light Priest” that heals, but the upgrade is the “Dark Priest” that can do area damage by forming a pentagram. The Ranger is another long-range attacker with their arrows, but when upgraded also get a musket for more firepower. The Warrior is the standard Warrior (and the class most beginning will play as) that starts with a shield and sword, but is upgraded to a two handed blade weapon. Finally there is the Worker who starts with an ax to chop down trees and mine minerals as well as to be used offensively, but can be upgraded to use bombs. Once upgraded they also have giant bombs that will be near their station that can be carried one at a time by anyone regardless of class. The Worker’s job is to use the wood and rocks to build defenses on your own castle, shortcuts throughout the map including the enemy castle that can be springboards and catapults. Technically there is one more class, the “classless” player is someone who does not pick a class hat and has very little health, but is very fast to move. These are good to pick up the cake and can also smack enemies to know things out of their hands. The cake is the other bit of depth to this game. You see, there is cake scattered throughout the levels and you can bring the cake to the prisoner princess to fatten her up. She has a high metabolism though, so cake must be constantly brought to her. The reason you fatten her up is because it makes it harder for the enemy to steal her back. The fatter she is, the more people required to carry her to bring her back. All of this causes a lot of back and forth gameplay.
This back and forth can lead to one of the downfalls of the game, and that is the fact that there is no time limit, so if you have two teams that are either really good or really bad, and the game can go on forever. You will constantly be building defenses, stealing outposts, using shortcuts, and all the other aspects of the game that can lead to you getting your princess back before their meter is full, or not even getting the princess at all. Communication is key, but if you are playing with people without headsets (for shame!) or they’re just all very good as I said, and it can take a while and you have to wait for that moment of weakness. While it’s great that the game can have a lot of strategy like that, and maybe people like the idea of games lasting a while, something should have been put in effect like a time limit to prevent games which I have had run into the hour plus time zone. This makes it not as much of a “pick up and play” game that most downloadable games are known for.
My other knock against the game is that while the game is great multiplayer, and this really is where the game shines anyway, the single player is lacking for those that maybe don’t want to spend an hour playing a game. As I mentioned earlier in the review, it is more of just an extended tutorial with the game pitting you against a bunch of bots to show you the game modes. Without the communication that comes with playing a human player this makes it difficult. The only commands you can give friendly bots is to follow you, and they don’t always do so either. It would have been nice if things were explained a bit more. Even if it were a true tutorial that explained all the different classes and upgrades and had a level where you had to do specific tasks as that class I would feel that would have been better than what is currently in place for single player. There is a “Gladiator” mode though that is like a survival mode that pits the player in an arena fighting waves of enemies, but it’s not much fun unless you are the Warrior.
My last gripe with the game is that the voice chat in this game is “push to talk” and there is no option to make it otherwise. While some people prefer this time of communication setting, especially among the PC gamer crowd, this is very out of the ordinary for consoles and takes a lot of getting used to. I found myself playing just holding the button down constantly so I would stop forgetting to press it to talk to my friends and coordinate. While this can cut down on background noise and coughing, as a console game it is very foreign to me.
Do not let the cartoony look fool you though, this is far from a kids game. It is VERY violent and gory with blood spurting out and heads getting chopped off. This can be turned off, but along with the fact that a lot of team work is involved, I would not recommend this for kids. That being said, the graphics are very bright and look great and it runs very smooth, even with a lot of action going on on-screen at the same time.
In the end, this is a great game that has greatly improved in stability online since the patch was released and you can get lost playing hours to really find what class is best for you. There are a ton of stats that it keeps track of and also a bunch of trophies to unlock. The developers opted to go with more trophies than most PSN games have, so they had to all be bronze otherwise Sony wouldn’t let them all be in (something to the effect of each “bronze” is worth a certain amount of points, “silver” a higher amount, and so on and each PSN game is only allowed X number of “points). There are a lot that will take a LONG time to earn as well, so be prepared to get a lot out of the money spent for this game.
There has been a lot of talk online of multiple classes being added in the future (pirates, ninjas, chefs, and kings have come up), so I will keep my eye out for such content (or any other add-on content) and upgrade the review to mention the additions.
4 ½ out 5 stars – A half star taken away for the lack of single player content and proper description of how to do everything. A great PSN exclusive to really give Xbox owners something to be jealous of. Hours and hours await those that play. Thanks to IGN.