Hits A Sweet Spot
(Our thanks to the folks at PlayStation and Sony Santa Monica for providing a review copy of Fat Princess Adventures.)
Six years after the successful release of Titan Studios’ Fat Princess, Fun Bits Interactive takes over for the PlayStation 4 sequel as players return to Great Bitten to rescue princesses Muffintop and Plump from the evil Bitter Queen. Players traverse the punny world, eating cake to stay healthy. I would agree this would all be a little over the top, until you consider the amount of crude humor and bloody violence that is in a cutesy Saturday morning cartoon world, which definitely is over the top.
You may see the art style and hear the game described as “Baby’s First Diablo,” and think Fat Princess Adventures is a walk through Candy Land. Simple does not mean easy. Each of the four classes (Warrior, Mage, Engineer, Archer) have two attacks and four equipment slots with eight elemental types to help players across seven chapters. The lack of options places heavy emphasis on matching your class, which you can change at every checkpoint, with the challenge ahead. It also means if you neglect any one class, you may notice a sudden and unforgiving difficulty spike.
It’s worth noting I played this game for the most part solo, and by the end it was very clear this is a game meant to have friends play with you. Shielded enemies mercilessly watch one character, preventing you from attacking the weak point from behind. A haunted forest is filled with slimes and bats that outrun and overpower you. Spawning, killing two flans that split into four, being overwhelmed and repeating for 10 minutes drained the fun for an entire chapter.
The lack of depth turns out to be a strength for the game’s multiplayer. You can either find adventurers online, or couch co-op by having someone sign in and drop in with no issues. While your character levels, it doesn’t seem to have much impact on the game: there’s no requirements for equipment and it doesn’t raise health. This means your friend can hop in at the last level, open one chest for an appropriate weapon, and immediately be useful. Which is one of the game’s two major strengths: I don’t have to think while I’m playing it.
We’re experiencing arguably one of the best run of video games ever, and I’m fatigued from it. There are nights I don’t want to spend four hours discovering settlements in Fallout 4, sweat to break even in Halo 5 multiplayer or wince at my 140 hour, 73% progress in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Fat Princess Adventures scratches a very niche itch for me: a 10-15 hour experience that doesn’t have a combo list or game altering decisions, and one that made me laugh at tongue-in-cheek humor and ridiculous characters.
There’s strength number two: the game is genuinely funny. Most named enemies are some form of reference, like “Skilletor” and “Giddu the Chopper.” They drop a mandatory “The cake is a lie” shout out, and have an NPC mishap with the phrase “PLUCK the pheasants.” At one point there’s a dance number to Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe.” Unfortunately, as someone who plays with subtitles, the dialogue and text frequently don’t match, which takes away from the impact.
There’s reasons to replay the game if it grabbed you. The platinum trophy requires replaying for difficulty, and the grindhouse feature lets you tackle previous levels with additional challenges, like limiting your character selection.
The Verdict: 7.0 out of 10
The $19.99 price point feels about $5 too steep for what will amount to most people as a one-run and done playthrough, but it’s perfect for a game to grab on sale when you and 1-3 friends want to enjoy an afternoon. The humor and simplicity are perfect for casual fun, but repetitiveness and minor miscues limits it from being much else.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.