Prinny 1•2: Exploded and Reloaded
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
Publisher: NIS America
Genre: Action, Adventure, Platform
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 15/10/2020
Price: £17.99 digitally (per game), £54.99 physical
A code was provided for review purposes.
Taking characters from an RPG game and turning it into a crazy, hilarious and tough platform game, is not something that’s done every day. Prinny 1•2 Exploded & Reloaded comes bounding onto the Nintendo Switch from the guys over at Nippon Ichi Software and NIS America. Does this hard platform game live up to its lineage? Let’s dive right in.
Gotta Have Guts, Dood!
Originally released for the PSP back in 2008 and 2010, the Prinny games are a spinoff from the strategy-based RPG games of the Disgaea series. However, unlike their source material, Prinny 1 and 2 are some seriously tough platforming games. Both games have now been combined into a package for the Nintendo Switch, though this release is a little different as they’re available digitally separately or combined physically.
For those unfamiliar with the Disgaea franchise, Prinnies are monsters that have the souls of humans who have led less than ideal lives inside them. They must slave away as a Prinny, performing all manner of tasks from being a soldier to a servant, until their sins have been repented for and they can be reincarnated again. You play as one such Prinny, tasked in each game with finding items to ensure the Demon Lord Etna doesn’t go on a Prinny murdering rampage.
Before getting stuck into this review it’s important to note that Prinny 1•2 Exploded & Reloaded is not available on the Nintendo eShop in a combined format. Digitally, the games are both available separately and (at the time of writing) carry a price tag of £17.99. However, a physical copy is available (if you can find it) and was retailing for £54.99.
You’d be right if you’re confused as to why the physical edition is £20 more expensive, but it does come with a lot of limited edition goodies. Known as the “Just Desserts” edition, if you’re lucky enough to grab this you’ll also be getting an art book, soundtrack, a blockhead model to build, a poster and it’s all packaged in a special box. All in all, not a bad deal and a little extra cash for what’s included is in line with most other collector’s editions out there.
Gotta Have Smarts, Dood!
In the first title, “Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero?”, players are tasked with finding the Ultimate Dessert that was stolen from the Demon Lord. Players will do this by taking control of a Prinny who dons a special scarf that prevents them from exploding on impact (another trait that Prinnies are known for), traversing the land trying to find the ingredients required to create another version of the Ultimate Dessert.
The second title, “Prinny 2: Dawn Of Operation Panties, Dood!”, has the players trying to recover the Demon Lord Egan’s stolen panties. Not straying from the original formula at all, the Prinnies will complete each level in the game to try and lure back the thief with rare items and attempt to get back the panties of their boss.
Gotta Have a Challenge, Dood!
The premise of the games is simple, but the journey is not. Each stage gets progressively harder as players move through the game. Levels can be attempted in any order, however, they will start to vary if you attempt them at different times. For example, stage one won’t be too hard if attempted first, but if it’s attempted as the fifth stage then it will be incredibly different. New monsters, traps and collectables will line the different layout of the levels adding to the complexity in how the stages are completed.
Successful completion of a level will mean facing off against a boss, which can sometimes be a returning character from the Disgaea games, which can be easier said than done. Pattern memorisation is key here although trial and error will be king; if players can mash the attack button fast enough they can make short work of these foes.
As a platforming game the controls aren’t too complex, however, don’t be fooled into thinking that the Prinny games control like any other platformer you’ve played before. First up is how you attack, this is done with mashing on the Y button. Notice the use of the word mashing there, that’s key in how you’ll be taking out enemies. Attacking can also be done in the air which will allow for a flurry of attacks to rain down from the sky; these can be slightly more damaging than grounded attacks so are key to integrate into your gameplay.
Prinny can sprint and dive too (the latter of which adds a few frames of invincibility to your moment) by holding down the A button as Prinny spins to build up momentum. The sprint ability is key to clearing some of the much wider platforming sections that the game presents.
It wouldn’t be a platform game without jumping, and this is where Prinny differs to others in the genre. Double jumps are a normal thing to find here, however the way the game deals with each jump can be a bit perplexing, to say the least. Each jump has its momentum and movement arc that cannot be changed in the air.
This means you need to be calculated and precise with each movement as to not overshoot ledges, which can take a long time to get used to as it’s so different to the foundation which other games have created. That said when you’re used to how these games control you feel such a great sense of pride when completing complicated sections.
In between levels, players will be able to explore a small hub section. This gives them access to save facilities, as well as the ability to add upgrades to their weapons (delivered at the start of specific stages). There’s also a whole lot more to uncover, and if you ever get confused there’s a character that’ll take you back through all the tutorial levels and tips. Prinnies are scattered about this area and provide some laugh-out-loud dialogue, a lot of love has been poured into this game and it’s evident.
Gotta Have Style, Dood!
Prinny 1•2 still carries the look and feel of a PSP game. Although the graphics feel like they have been upscaled for the Switch, they still don’t look perfect. The menu system and loading screens look stretched out, the stages (although full of character) still lack the depth of detail you’d expect in a game like this.
That’s not to say this game is bad to look at, far from it actually, just that it could’ve been so much better (NIS America have a distinct visual presentation which is evident in another one of their games, Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo, that you can read about here). It still packs all the quality you’d expect from the Disgaea series but Prinny 1•2 could have done with a facelift.
As you could imagine from the Disgaea series, the music here is amazing. Each stage has its unique background music, and the voice acting has a certain charm you rarely find in platforming games. It was really hard to not smile when hearing the conversations that happen in these games; each Prinny has a different voice and the delivery is spot on. If one downside could be noted, it is that when a player dies and respawns in a level the soundtrack will restart again. This can be jarring at times and, as hard as these games can be, you’ll be hearing the first few bars of the same song over and over again until you can progress far enough.
Gotta Love This Game, Dood!
Prinny 1•2 Exploded & Reloaded are not your standard platform games: they offer a level of challenge rarely found in the genre and although the controls may take some getting used to, the payoff is worth it. Fans of the Disgaea series, looking for a break from the usual RPG action, will enjoy seeing their favourite characters in a different light, and fans of the original PSP releases will be able to relive these classic games again. What it lacks in visual upgrades, it makes up for in charm. The games carry a hefty price tag and it may be worth waiting for an eShop sale. However, Prinny 1•2 Exploded & Reloaded should be on every platform game lovers list…dood!
Rapid Reviews Rating
Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? is available from the Nintendo eShop here
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! is available from the Nintendo eShop here