Title: The Princess Guide
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Genre: RPG, Action, Strategy
Release Date: 29/03/2019
Price: £35.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
In a land torn by chaos and war, a new evil rises. Now, four princesses from four different kingdoms must learn how to lead their people to victory. Commence the Princess Knight training regimen! As an experienced knight, you will choose a princess to become your apprentice. Teach her the art of war, and push back the evil that threatens to take over the land! With your choices directly impacting the way your Princess Knight fights, The Princess Guide gives military training a whole new meaning!
• A Unique Tale Times Four! – Each Princess Knight has a unique story to tell, and your choice affects how the tale unfolds! Will you train the vengeful Veronica, the gluttonous Liliartie, the chivalrous Monomaria, or the dragon princess Alpana?
• Fast-Paced Strategic Battles – The battlefield can get intense! Issue orders to your princess directly on the battlefield, and watch them clash with the enemy forces! Their performance is directly affected by your tutelage!
• To Praise or To Scold? – Your princess’s growth depends on you! During conversations and battles, “Praise” or “Scold” your princess to enhance their abilities on the battlefield!
When given the opportunity to review The Princess Guide, I was over the moon, I have always loved the beauty of Nippon Ichi Software, especially when it comes to fairy tale settings and delightful Japanese anime design, and this game had so much of that on show. There are 4 gorgeous looking Princesses that you must train in the art of battle and leadership, a fun and energetic story to engage in with and dungeon crawling action that has quirky tactics to learn along the way.
As I started playing it, I, however, had a small feeling of disappointment. Some aspects of the gameplay felt underwhelming, and the art style made me mutter the simple words “why…”
Am I just being oversensitive, is it just me, or could I be playing a game that hasn’t been truly polished into what could have been an epic strategy RPG?
Audio & Visual
There is such a big mix of graphics and art styles used in The Princess Guide. With a modern game interface and dialogue screens that have a very crisp Persona style pop that screams out of the screen. The bright colours and beautifully crafted anime princesses make the story so very interesting to look and admire. But also we have a fantasy RPG world of monsters and dragons, with lots of heavily armoured soldiers and the very familiar slime monsters to defeat.
Animation of the Princesses and other NPCs have a frantic and unusual “Bounce” when they talk (I think we can guess why that could be). This can seem quite comedic and out of place during some conversations, especially during more dramatic moments of dialogue. For example, the death of princesses parents when she was just a seven-year-old girl. It was almost a slight disappointment that this speed could not be slowed down or synched up with the superb voice acting. This started to annoy me very much at first while playing, but I either just grew used to it or just ignored the jiggly animation and concentrated on the story.
Another thing I grew to dislike wholeheartedly was the map and dungeon designs for maybe a very unusual reason. It’s nothing to do with the Chibi Super-Deformed art style given to all the characters as you navigate, but more the map itself. You see, the design is very stunning, almost like a watercolour painting, blended with blurry borders and fog effects layered on top. This can make navigation around the landscape hard to focus on, and you could easily find yourself getting lost along the way. I was just thankful for the smaller radar map in the top right corner that showed you a small, straightforward plan with all the walls, barricades, opponents and objects on your screen.
As for the sounds and music used within The Princess Guide, they are all very typical of your average JRPG. I am almost sure that I have heard a lot of the sound FXs used in your more popular RPGs such as Final Fantasy.
The voice acting however is top notch. The Japanese cast gives a superb performance. Throughout the story, there is so much emotion in the voices of each of the characters. This provides them with a real substance and authentic feel. You can feel the desperation in a broken Princesses voice, and you can sense the smug arrogance of the Witch Princess. There is no option for an English Dub of this game, and I am so glad that this is the case.
Gameplay & Replayability
When starting The Princess Guide, you are flung straight into battle and given the basic controls of your character in a very short tutorial. Once you have completed this brief section and created your basic avatar, you can finally choose your first Princess to train. Each of the 4 princesses is very different, from the gluttonous Liliartie who wants her people never to be left hungry, to the dragon princess Alpana who wants to spread her faith of love and hope throughout the land.
Progressing through the game involves travelling across the main map to numerous missions that appear. There is no rush in completing the main mission which is on an eternal timer, whereas any side-missions that appear on the map will have a timeframe in which to complete them by. These missions and side-missions will unlock more to your princesses story.
Navigating the map to battles and missions is fairly straight forward. You have command of both your avatar and princess and travel across the land to your next destination and engage on your mission. This can be anything to protecting a convoy from attacking enemies, defending a gate from an onslaught of foes, but more than not, you will be dungeon crawling a large map to your ultimate opponent. While on the battle map, you can come across many traps, or as it’s called here, Relics that can harm you and your team in many ways, however, you can also take possession of these relics and use them yourself to heal, stun or even damage foes.
Most likely the main grievance I had with the game was during the dungeon crawling missions where the screen felt like a jumble of relics and foes. It is sometimes hard to distinguish between your crew of soldiers and that of the enemy all on top of each other.
Now we move onto the point on How To Train Your Princess. While travelling throughout the land and completing missions, the story may require you to ether Scold or Praise your Princess. This could be when in direct conversation with your Princess or even as they are battling through the missions. By praising or scolding your Princess as the right time can help with there training, give them status boosts or even regain HP. For example, praising after claiming relics can help your Princess learn more about these strange artefacts, the more they learn, the more you can teach them directly in the base boosting your princesses power and giving you skill points to enhance your avatar more.
I will conclude this part with one of the smallest additions to the game, which is the Virtual Training. A little minigame that is added to each Princess that is accessible in the base menu only after a certain amount of training. These minigames are very easy to complete and will reward you with additional items.
I found The Princess Guide to take a long time to get fully immersed into, there are a lot of different mechanics in the game, of which some are not fully explained, and a great deal of the gameplay is trial furthermore error at first to fully understand all the different things that this game has to offer.
The story and characters themselves are very well written, and I love that they had some unusual quirks for there Princesses, like how Liliartie eats when she’s nervous or how the Witch Princess Veronica constantly turns her henchmen into frogs just for her amusement. I even forgave it for the bouncing talk animation that was continuously cycled.
But the game itself only took roughly 10 hours to complete, and once you have visited each Princess and trained her to the point of completing the missions in that section (about just under 2 hours), you then have the difficult decision to choose only one of those Princesses for the conclusion to the story.
It felt like a very short game that revolved around grinding and praising each princess to continue through the brief adventure. Was it worth the hefty price tag? Well, if I have to ask myself this question, I think I know the answer.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase The Princess Guide at the Nintendo eShop at the following link,https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch/The-Princess-Guide-1535289.html