Let them eat cake…
Moving away from the real time strategy genre, the next iteration in the Fat Princess series prefers to dabble in some light-hearted action-RPG whilst attempting to retain its tongue-in-cheek humour and cutesy vibe. The result is a solid action title that’s a lot of fun and requires little investment to pick up and play.
Game: Fat Princess Adventures
Developer: Fun Bits
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 (review code provided)
Fat Princess Adventures has indeed departed from the mechanics that made it popular amongst certain crowds in the first place. The real-time strategy and interesting takes on multiplayer modes have made way for what some may perceive as a slightly more shallow hack n’ slash direction. The truth is it has, but whilst there is a different gameplay approach, Fun Bits have crafted an accessible and easy to dive into adventure that can be played alone or co-op with three other players for a pretty good time.
Narrative is pretty thin. Two kingdoms have joined to form Great Bitten and in true gaming fashion you’ll traverse those lands in search of the princesses who have been kidnapped by the evil Bitter Queen. By doing so, you’ll essentially be smashing away at a few button combinations through a ton of strange enemies and boss battles with multiple fight stages. The british narrator pulls you along nicely with plenty of silly humour involving cake jokes and ample self-awareness. It’s rarely laugh-out-loud material but it keeps it light hearted and has some good moments.
It’s a simple and overused premise with both the story and the gameplay, but it is an effective archetype for those who just want to jump into some fun action that doesn’t require too much initiation to enjoy. Drop in and out co-op multiplayer lightens the load further whilst the constant opportunities to switch out classes between mage, archer, warrior and engineer keep things interesting during gameplay.
The RPG-type loot dropping also adds another incentive to pummel bad guys, despite being far more casual than you might be used to. You will find some cool items that may have elemental properties, for example, but they all feel a little underwhelming and rarely tip the balance of power anymore in your favour than what using vanilla weaponry would. There’s an upgrade system that boosts stats and provide a little more oomph but the entire system never really adds anything to the eternal button mashing grind.
The best gear will typically come from the bosses who require a little more thought than the minions. Harking back to early 90’s boss mechanics, with multiple enemies and multistage fighting, Fun Bits’ boss fights do break that grind up a little but in the end slip into a dreary pattern that never escalates into anything you’d find clever or interesting. Sometimes you might need to initiate your ‘awesome sauce’ meter to do damage, but largely the process is as simple as killing enemies, dodging power attacks and then unleashing all you have onto the boss himself.
With the campaign out of the way you’ll find the Grindhouse mode that allows you to replay levels with a few tweaks and challenges to overcome. It’s a nice addition but it doesn’t add that much in terms of replayability. Most of that comes from the co-op that can be mix-and-matched with online and offline co-op if you have someone sitting on the couch with you. The way the game uses class-switching complements the multiplayer greatly and it’s by far the most recommended way to tackle the game for maximum fun.
Fat Princess Adventures is a pretty looking game that’s lots of fun to play with friends or by yourself. Combat and narrative are ultimately thin but that’s not always a terrible thing, especially for party situations or even bringing the family together for some bite-size fun over the christmas period. In that respect, for those who enjoy the hack-and-slash genre and feel like something a bit more straightforward, Fat Princess Adventures is easy to recommend.