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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fat Princess - Review

As you can see Fat Princess is about two princesses who found a cake growing out of the ground. These two princesses then overstuffed themselves to problematic proportions. Believing it to be a curse, the king wages war on the other kingdom to secure his princess's hand in marriage which would supposedly break the curse.

A friend of mine first showed me the trailer on PSN and almost immediately I realized I had to get this game. The "main" game mode is a basic class-based capture the flag style gameplay. What makes this unique is probably the running speed of your character based on the weight of the flag.....

You spawn as a peasant, with customizable eyes, hair, facial hair, hair color and voice. As the peasant you need to pick up hats from nearby hat factories or off the corpse of a dead enemy to change job classes. There are five job classes which are fairly straight forward: worker, archer, warrior, mage, and priest. Workers are equipped with an axe to chop down trees and mine for metal. By collecting these materials, workers are then able to upgrade factories to improve job classes or build siege weapons.

All classes have an upgraded form which also gives them a second weapon. Workers are given bombs for small anti-gate/personnel AoE (area of effect) and their hat factory also drops a larger version of the bomb for anyone to pickup and throw. Archers have access to fire arrows and are given a shotgun-esqe musket rifle as a second weapon for short range attacks. Warriors are given spears which have a longer range and give them a dash attack. Mages are given an ice staff in addition to their fire staff and their hat factory now pumps out potions that turn players and enemies alike in a small area into chickens... Finally, Priests are able to turn into dark priests and steal health from enemies instead of healing allies.

There are four game modes if I remember properly. There's a capture the flag mode in which all you have to do is take the enemy princess from her throne and toss her into your dungeon. Conquest mode, in which you have to rescue your princess and have her sit on her throne while having the enemy princess in your dungeon for a certain period of time. King of the hill, where both teams have "life points" and players have to capture and hold more outposts than the other team for a certain period of time to reduce the enemy team's life points and finally deathmatch mode where there are a total number of points on a team representing the total number of lives on a team and the objective is to simply kill.

The unique (and amusing) part about Capture the flag (princess) and conquest mode is the ability to feed the princess (whether it's the enemy princess in your custody, or your own princess) cake pieces that appear all over the field. By feeding the princesses cake, they get fatter making it harder to actually carry the flag back to your base. This is where teamwork shines, because other players can help increase your carry speed by "escorting" (escorts are indicated with a heart talk bubble above their heads) you and thereby helping you get back to the castle. If I were to somehow logically justify the concept. It would be like... they're helping you carry that fat princess and occasionally letting go to use their weapons...

What really surprised me was the blood and gore in the actual game. I thought it was weird when PSN asked for me to input my birthday before seeing the trailer and later, it made sense. To put it simply: so much blood. For any hit, blood splurts out and dyes the ground for a while. Many players in a confined area = pools of blood.

The menu system is made with a bit of wit. The top menu listings are "Play with yourself, Play with Others, Bragging Rights, Twiddly Knobs." The thing that got me though was when you were playing a single player custom map and in the options, it said "25 imaginary friends."

There were some things I didn't find that great. First off would be the quick tips and the tutorial in general (rather, lack of tutorial). Running the storyline on single player helps you familiarize yourself with the game, the maps and the different game modes, but I noticed I had spent significantly more time in the first level than the rest of the campaign. I read through the in-game manual only to realize it didn't really help much as there wasn't any interactive element to help you understand the concept better.

Some of the maps are very small and seem a bit cramped in a 32 player game. The best way to see what "cramped" means is to load up the soccer mini game and watch all the AI swarm the soccer ball resulting in a chaotic mess. Other maps are more suited for more players and so the maps vary in size and players simply have to estimate a suitable amount of players.

I'm not sure whether this would be a bad thing or not, but it's very simple. Not in terms of concept but the overall game is one of those games that you just pick up and play for a little while and leave after. With so few maps, it somewhat limits game longevity. Seeing as there's a "fat downloads" option, I assume that downloadable content will arrive soon, so it must be simply a matter of time before more maps and features are introduced.

In related news. A PSP port is said to come out.

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