So I managed to get my hands on the latest build of Fat Princess Adventures, which is the latest in the series by Fun Bits and SCE Santa Monica Studio.
I want to preface this preview by pointing out that I played it alongside fellow writer Cody Long, and two randoms that just so happened to be there at the booth. While Fun Bits handled the Fat Roles DLC for the original Fat Princess, they moved on to make Escape Plan for the PS Vita. It’s worth mentioning that Fun Bits are made up of former Titan Studios developers, the folks who developed the original Fat Princess.
At first glance, fans of the series and the overall style Fat Princess is known for are probably going to love this game. Tom Kane reprises his role as the hilariously tongue-in-cheek narrator, and the game is definitely what amounts to Fat Princess, but in glorious HD (with a 1080p resolution and seemingly 60FPS).
However, the game is nothing like what the previous games were known for, i.e., a capture the flag where a morbidly obese princess is the literal objectified flag. Coming from this, you’ll need to abandon all your expectations and hopes that Fat Princess Adventures is a next-generation iteration of that formula, they’ve dropped that capture the flag mode entirely (but more on that later).
The game ran beautifully, we saw many, many enemies on screen at the same time, as well as lots of objects being fully destructible with physics to boot. Spell effects, attack animations, blood (there’s still lots of that), and the environments all look splendid. I really loved the overall look of the game, it genuinely felt like somewhat of a toy-like, storybook kind of look.
One thing that is definitely noticeable is the fact that the game’s old cel-shaded style has been dropped for that more toy-like look and feel, if that makes sense? You have to see the game in motion to really get a sense of the new art style, which is still colorful, while also being a bit more saturated and grounded. Water and blood splatters look great, trees, shrubbery, and terrain also shine as well.
I mentioned that Fun Bits dropped the capture-the-princess style of play, and in its place have established a story-driven, four player cooperative adventure game somewhat in the vein of classics like Gauntlet. The game definitely felt like Gauntlet, only it had lots of cake, and profuse amounts of cartoon blood.
There are some caveats that Fat Princess Adventures does a bit differently, however.
Each of the four classes, the warrior, mage, archer, and engineer have their own fighting styles, as well as their own gear, stats, and special abilities. As you build up your “awesome mode” meter, you’ll eventually be able to unleash said mode, where you do more damage to your enemies. The characters more or less feel the same as they did in previous games in the series, with moving, attacking, and targeting your enemies mostly untouched.
There’s still lots of humor that you’d expect from the team known for the original game, like the “chubby mode.”
To unlock chubby mode, you’ll have to keep gorging yourself on cake while at full health. Eventually, your clothes will explode and you’ll be able to slap away at your enemies. Customization is also a big part of Fat Princess Adventures, starting even from the beginning of the game. You can pick your gender, class, and personality.
Personalities run the gamut of styles like hero, evil genius, clown, emo, and more (each with their own voice actors). Personalities will also affect the length of the game, and what kind of interactions you’ll experience, as each voice actor brings a different performance to each personality.
Team cooperation felt like a big part of the game, as when Cody and I worked together, we really needed the two random people to work with us at times – otherwise things could be challenging. I’m sure that enemy difficulty scales with the number of players in game, however, a full party of four did bring on a fun, yet refreshing challenge. Enemies felt just aggressive enough, yet not to the point where they’re simply annoying and tiresome.
The princesses are no longer completely helpless figureheads to be force-fed cake and hauled away by the opposing team. While their role isn’t quite clear in regards to the new story, the princesses will follow you around, give you tips, and even fight with you. We played through a level that was described as something like you’d see in the Normandy Invasion scene of Saving Private Ryan, only it’s a lot less grim, but still quite bloody.
Overall, level progression felt good, although there were some hiccups when all four of us weren’t quite moving together as a team. If someone dies, you can easily revive them by just standing over their corpse. From what I could tell, there wasn’t really a penalty to repeatedly dying, so long as someone remains to revive their party members. We got through the entire level without having a total wipe, although this changed once we got to the boss. There were a few occasions when it wasn’t clear how we should progress, but after poking around a bit we figured out how to proceed.
The boss was something of a tank with lots of hit points – it kind of felt like a raid boss you’d find in an MMORPG – we were just slogging away at the guy as he kept chugging a potion that made him stronger. The key was balancing our use of that same potion, while avoiding his big attacks. Overall I’d say the entire level combined with the boss fight took us around 20-30 minutes to complete, although I’m sure if you memorize stage layouts and enemy placement, you could speedrun through them quickly.
Overall I was quite happy with the game, I wasn’t sure what to expect walking up to the demo and hearing next to nothing for it since its reveal last year. Fat Princess Adventures felt just as fun as the previous games in the series, and the switch to a story-driven adventure was a lot more fun than I thought. I have concerns regarding the game’s length and playability outside of its cooperative multiplayer, as well as its level progression, but everything else felt solid. The humor is there, the buckets of cartoon-y blood pour out at every opportunity, and the enemies felt just right.
For those fans hoping to see a multiplayer component similar to previous games – we had a SCE Santa Monica representative give us a tease in saying it wasn’t out of the question.
Fun Bits said that Fat Princess Adventures will be shipping later this year, although a specific release date wasn’t confirmed to us.