Fat Princess is one of the first successful franchises on the PSN in terms of original IPs, as it combined a bizarre yet enchanting world with some fantastic gameplay that still holds up years later. I think in terms of a next installment it was all about “when” and not “if”, and now Fun Bits are allowing us to take a new bite of pie with Fat Princess Adventures for the Playstation 4. Does this new direction provide a good foundation for the namesake, or is this spin-off running on its predecessor’s fumes? Let’s find out.
I never really thought too much about the narrative of Fat Princess to start with, but there is a little bit here for those who want a purpose to progress. The player must create a character and be whipped into this whimsical little world, where they are tasked of saving both princesses against the Bitter Queen. I won’t lie, this plot runs short – just like the overall experience itself, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that there wasn’t some charms and smiles to be found in the main adventure. Could we have seen more? Of course, this is not a new IP and has so much character to work with, but I still can give this plot a pass as it is just enough to get us through with a smile until the end.
I almost feel as if the choice of genre kind of cheats players out of the whole Fat Princess name within Adventures. I mean, yes – an isometric action-RPG works for this title just fine, but with such a rich experience in the past provided by the same team, it feels as if we are playing a new game entirely. That isn’t a bad thing however, as the combat works. This title feels a lot like others from the same market as the player can customize a goofy little character and then hack and slash their way to the end of each level (with or without company), before usually coming to a large boss that requires a little bit of brain power to beat. When I say brain power, I mean that you kind of have to go outside your comfort zone to overwhelm the boss with you standard attacks. Is it groundbreaking? Not really, but it does work just fine for the most part.
The loot system is probably the finest feature within adventures as while the combat is a bit ho-hum, there will usually be a special “elite” enemy that drops a great piece of equipment to give the play an edge. This is very important as the player can switch between four different classes (archer, mage, warrior, engineer) at any checkpoint. This may sound bothersome for those who would rather change on the fly, but Fat Princess Adventures ensures players are able to switch at ease as there is usually a checkpoint around every corner. This means that there are several classes to master, with each requiring a bit of effort to perfect as the game goes forward. Again, this title is an easy game and won’t exactly require everything to be top notch to finish, but those who enjoy loot, leveling, and grinding will be happy to know that there is plenty for them in the big picture.
One a stage is complete, “Grindhouse” for that level becomes available, allowing for more options and rewards for replay. By options, I mean you can now tackle a stage with just one class instead of the constant offering of four, and even go in locally utilizing other modifiers with friends. I probably spent most of my time playing with Grindhouse, as it kind of turns what is one standard level into a party game featuring multitudes of challenges. I guess my biggest gripe with Fat Princess Adventures is that it plays it so safe that it kind of gets stale after a while. Sure, the combat is solid, but there have been so many action-RPGs that have gave us this same type of experience and Adventures never really tries to stand apart from that in any way. Its like “here is a good game that is polished, here is our story with the characters you know, that’s enough”. A spin-off in my opinion just needs a bit more of a boost, but I guess playing it safe is better than being a bad game, and luckily the quality keeps this title far away from that zone.
The most pleasing aspect of Fat Princess Adventures is the art style. I have always loved the look of the models with Fat Princess, and this spin-off captures those bright colors and whimsy very well for a very uplifting gameplay session. The animations are also great, with no stuttering whatsoever despite having a good amount of enemies on the screen all unleashing attacks. As for the customization for your character – well, there could have been more I suppose, but what is offered is enough to make a nice little hero that fits in like a glove.
The soundtrack for Fat Princess Adventures is also a lot of fun. While the tracks don’t quite compare to a lot of other big names, they do set that light hearted atmosphere that makes the IP so endearing. The voice acting features the likes of Tara Strong, Nolan North, and quite a few others, who of course are fantastic – but I do wish with this cast we could have seen a stronger script. Either way, most will have fun to recognize each famous voice as it comes out of the little mouths in the game.
Fat Princess Adventures is a hard game to peg as it isn’t bad by any means, but really isn’t thrilling either. For an IP that has been around a while, I guess I kind of expected more as Fat Princess was so odd and unique and this spin-off kind of grounds the entire experience with a sense of unnecessary normalcy. That said, this is just a spin-off and for what it does, Adventures does it very well – creating a fun and filling romp to hold us over until the next course.
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