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Fat Princess Adventures

Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Fun Bits Interactive
Release Date: Dec. 5, 2015

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


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PS4 Review - 'Fat Princess Adventures'

by Brian Dumlao on Dec. 22, 2015 @ 1:30 a.m. PST

Fat Princess Adventures is a co-op adventure that serves up a generous helping of cheeky lighthearted humor. Up to four friends can team up to slay monsters, steal loot, rescue princesses, gobble cake, and defeat the evil queen.

Now that there are three games to its name, one could rightfully give Fat Princess the series tagline — though the series doesn't stick to one genre. The original title was a multiplayer-only hybrid of an action game and real-time strategy title where 32 players fought against one another while the titular rotund princesses were used in place of objects to steal or protect. The second title, Fat Princess: Piece of Cake, was a mobile title later ported to the Vita that took on the form of a match-three puzzle game with action elements, much like Puzzle Quest and its imitators. Fat Princess Adventures, a game that was first announced two years ago, marks the third game in the series, and like its predecessors, it's a different genre. It's also a very good game.

The kingdoms of Blue and Red have made peace and joined to form the kingdom of Great Bitten. Though the peace between the two former adversaries has lasted a while, it is interrupted when the Bitter Queen shows up with her army of monsters and kidnaps both princesses. As a relatively unnamed adventurer, you arrive in time to rescue both of them while uncovering a plot that threatens to destroy the new kingdom.

Aside from the fact that the princesses get rescued quite early on, the story is fairly pedestrian. What drives it forward is the scattershot humor. You can tell from the name of the kingdom of Great Bitten that puns, especially food-related ones, are going to be everywhere. A fourth-wall breaking narrator even comments on your menu selections and says something if you pause the game for long periods of time. References to popular culture and memes are all over the place, as some of the callbacks can be over a decade old by now. The mileage it gets from this sort of stuff depends on your tolerance for it, but it doesn't help that some of these are repeated far too often in a short amount of time.

Before you start, you have to create your character. All of the basic things are here, from skin color to hairstyle and choice of accessories. Interestingly, this is where you can see the game's love for food, since that's what is used to reference colors. You can  have someone with mango-colored hair and broccoli eyes. A few options are locked until you gain enough experience, but this also means that you can modify your character's looks between play sessions. One of the more interesting options available is your personality. It changes your character's pose every time you start up the game, but it also determines your voice and the kind of quips you'll throw around. The emo personality is more aloof and complains while the evil genius is a fun oddity since you'll embrace evil but are still a loyal soldier of the kingdom.

Once you choose your character's looks, you'll be thrown into battle, where you'll find the game following pretty standard hack-and-slash, action-RPG mechanics. You have to face your enemy to hit them, but at least you have a manual lock-on to help you out. You've got two attacks at your disposal, and you can temporarily place yourself in a special state with better defense and stronger attacks once you fill up a meter by drinking special juice or hitting enemies. Every once in a while, you'll also come across things you can use against enemies, such as bombs, potions that can freeze, shock, and set enemies on fire, and one that can turn everyone within range into a chicken. You can also jump, a rarity in this genre, though you aren't afforded any other defensive moves.

There are two mechanics unique to Fat Princess Adventures but are reminiscent of the original title, despite their genre differences. The first is the ability to turn into a fat hero. Eating cake replenishes your health, but eating at least one slice when you've got a full meter allows you to turn into a large hero who, like your overcharged state, can pummel enemies with extra damage and take on a little more damage for a limited amount of time. It's a fun mechanic that lets you do something with the various health power-ups you'd find in games like this.

The second mechanic has to do with classes. This time around, you only have four classes to work with, and their abilities are pretty limited. The warrior class uses a standard sword for attacks and a shield push. You can also use your shield as an extra defensive ability when using your lock-on, as you can block certain melee and projectile attacks. The archer is a projectile user who also happens to use a melee weapon for nearby foes. The engineer had his ax replaced with a hammer, and he can use bombs as a projectile weapon. He also happens to be the only class with the ability to defuse some traps, like mines and turrets. Finally, there's the wizard, who uses energy-based projectile attacks but can push foes away with electricity. Having different classes is nothing new, but you have the ability to change classes throughout the game. It is restricted to respawn checkpoints, but you can switch between classes as many times as you want to vary things up during a mission.

The ability to switch classes at almost any time does help since the game is content to go by the expected features of the genre. You'll visit some very different locales, such as a swamp overrun by pirates, a castle siege, and snowy mountaintops. You'll break loads of crates and barrels to uncover gold, which can be used to upgrade your gear (armor, headgear, primary and secondary weapons). You'll also get lots of the gear from treasure chests and major enemies, though you get stuff for all classes no matter which class you currently are. Warriors may not be able to use hats for wizards, but they can pick up those items. Thankfully, the game is kind when it comes to loot, as each piece is given to everyone playing, no matter who picks it up. Though restricted by class, it isn't restricted by level, and any duplicate gear results in instant gold instead.

Though the game is best experienced in multiplayer with any combination of online and offline players, you can certainly play solo. Part of that comes from the fact that enemies are rather dim-witted in the AI department since they prefer rushing you instead of employing a tactic. Until you reach the later stages, your deaths will come from being overwhelmed with enemies. Luckily, the game is very forgiving at checkpoints since all progress is kept after death, so dying at the same spot over and over again, while annoying, can prove to be tactically advantageous since your progress in whittling down enemies is retained.

The only area where that doesn't work is when dealing with bosses, since dying means restarting the fight from the beginning. Truthfully, it doesn't get annoying until you reach the final boss because the difficulty really spikes due to the presence of the most powerful foes in the area. Every other boss fight repeats the same pattern of you doing something to stun the enemy or power yourself up to a special state while dealing with loads of other foes. It suits the multiplayer slant since it gives other players something to do aside from ganging up on the boss, but it can get old after a while.

Aside from the enemies and bosses, you get the feeling that Fat Princess Adventures was specifically made for the more casual action-RPG fan. The enemies aren't difficult to kill, and basic hacking and slashing along with a few stun moves are enough to take out just about every enemy in the game. Levels are designed in a way to promote very limited exploration as they funnel you nicely into the areas you're supposed to go. When you break things down, there aren't lots of places to visit, so you can complete the game in a solid day. Leveling up remains a satisfying experience, but it almost feels invisible since the player can't see any stats. Also, the loot isn't plentiful, even if you are feeding into four different classes.

The short campaign means there isn't much you can do once you complete the game at Normal difficulty. There are two harder difficulty levels to try, and you'll have the advantage of taking your character and equipment with you from the previous runthrough. It feels necessary if you want to upgrade your gear to their full potential; the harder difficulty levels are the only places you can get gems to buy those upgrades. Aside from this, you have the option to enter the Grindhouse to replay stages. There are only five stages to play through, but you get random modifiers to make things feel a little different.

Graphically, Fat Princess Adventures follows in the same vein as the PS3 original with its colorful backdrops, which make each area feel rather distinct. The environments take advantage of the camera by throwing in some blur effects for nearby items and adding in some interesting details, like Melonites squirming around on hooks in the sky. Characters follow an almost chibi-style with bigger heads, but the squareness of the heads makes the style look cute. This makes for a nice contrast to the violence since almost every hit produces gallons of blood that stick to the environment and players. The game is loaded with tons of particles, and the frame rate only seems to slow down when too many particles and people are on-screen simultaneously. Some of the later cut scenes also suffer from this problem. Animations are fine, but the lack of mouth animations during cut scenes breaks you out of the game.

If you can deal with the aforementioned repetitive quips, you'll be pretty pleased with the audio. The game is loaded with top-notch voice talent, and it shows in every joke uttered in the game. The sound effects are pretty meaty, so nothing sounds out of place or muted, and it works well when you're pumping the audio through a surround system. Meanwhile, the music is rousing but fun, and the use of pirate shanties, royal ballads, and even Barry White's famous "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" give the score a little something extra to make it special.

Fat Princess Adventures is a great entry into the hack-and-slash genre for those who don't necessarily want something sprawling. The lack of deeper mechanics and loot is compensated by a fun combat system that feels good whether you're playing multiplayer or solo. The ability to change classes at any time is great for those who want variety or are undecided, and the game's length is breezy enough to feel satisfying. Overall, those looking for a fun break from the likes of Diablo III on the system will find Fat Princess Adventures to be a nice alternative.

Score: 8.0/10

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