It’s not very often that I feel as undecided about a title as I have with Fat Princess Adventures. Having not played it’s predecessor, I had no bias on the game and after playing through it left me not sure on my total feelings for the experience. On one hand there is plenty to appreciate, but it has a number of detractors cooked into the raw gameplay elements that never truly reach their full potential.
I’ll start with the presentation, which is easily the best part of the game. While graphically not the most powerful or groundbreaking, it has a rather unique and cartoon like style. Everything in Fat Princess is colourful and bold in it’s stylistic appeal, from architecture of buildings, to the wide open forests full of strange creatures and bustling (sometimes dangerous) plant life, to its characters having an almost chibi appearance, with large heads and beady eyes and short stumpy bodies. This is juxtaposed against the copious amounts of blood you will spill as you carve your way to victory, which to those unaware of this games gory nature, such as myself, it is quite the surprise seeing these cute little figures dying in pools of their own crimson liquid life source. This is a positive in the presentation department.
The population that inhabits Great Bitten (one of many of the games silly puns) and beyond, be it good or bad are practically bursting with personality. They stand out for the background and while you may encounter hordes of similar enemies, their cutesy and interesting design aid in keeping the game from feeling stale at times, particularly with Bosses. The large titular figures often break up sections of the story and at times have an actual threatening presence, due to their large size and twisting of mechanics to defeat them. Again not groundbreaking by any means, but it certainly keeps you entertained and on your feet when an enormous, seemingly unbeatable creature comes thundering towards your minuscule fighter in a pinned area.
The writing here also works both tremendously well as a strength and a somewhat hindrance against the game. When creating your character, there is several voice options available, each of which has its own quirk and a fully voiced script of dialogue for every single voice and the cast itself includes some big voice acting names such as Nolan North and Tara Strong, which adds a good bit of charm to the game, especially what feels like quite an a large amount of riffing being done by the actors. Numerous times throughout the game spoken lines are a lot longer than the words given in the dialogue box, really giving the impression they were having fun with their roles. However, that’s the problem, they never shut up.
No one is more guilty of this than your character, spouting out one liners at an alarmingly infuriating rate and often repeating the same thing over and over, taking any amount of joy you might have gotten from the phrase initially. It almost becomes a blessing every time you happen upon a cut-scene when they finally have something more to utter instead of, “OH MAMMY, I SMASHED A THING.” It’s actually quite a shame to as the performance, (at least from my evil voiced protagonist) was actually great and I found plenty of joy in hearing him yell out things for the first few hours of play.
As for the story itself, there really isn’t anything much to it. You play as the hero of this tale as you venture out to protect the (Pleasantly Plump) Princess of Great Bitten and beyond from the evil Bitter Queen in her plot to take over the world. Really nothing we haven’t seen before and mostly serving as some sort of justification for murdering goblins and various other creatures, the story never really grips you with anything particularly interesting, save for a reason to hear odd jokes that either hit the nail worthy of a chuckle or completely fall flat in their execution and allow us to hear the cast just play around with their craft. It’s not spectacular but it still has a quality of enjoyment to it.
And it is this exact sentiment that carries over into gameplay and pretty much defines the entire experience; Not spectacular but has a quality of enjoyment to it. Dipping its feet into Diablo-esque, hack-and-slash territory, this boils down to a very simple style of game with some notable quirks. A huge positive in keeping things fresh is the ability to switch classes at every checkpoint. Just as things feel like they might be dragging, you have the option of switching to a different play style between Warrior, Archer, Mage and Engineer, each having different ways of attacking, strengths, weakness etc. And the huge amounts of loot scattered amongst the land encourage you to mix it up between methods of attack, particularly when you acquire an effect driven weapon (such as the Flame sword) making things a lot more fun to traverse through. Even the addition of 4 player local or online drop in/out multiplayer is a rather nice touch and retains a good casual element to it.
But this isn’t enough to stave away the staleness that creeps up the longer you play. With only two attack button, both chargeable, you quickly find there really isn’t much to your arsenal of weaponry. Fighting grows mundane as you face newer enemies that don’t do much in the way of creating new tactics for you to overcome, many choosing to simply run at you and punch. It certainly retains the DNA of a good hack-and-slash for a few hours of the game but once you sampled all the classes have the offer, the taste quickly drains away and feels undercooked.
Fat Princess Adventures is by no means a bad game, far from it in fact. I had plenty of fun and enjoyed a reasonable amount of the game up to a point, but after awhile I found myself wanting to play something else, something more engaging and exhilarating. I would recommend it to those looking for a game to play in short bursts and for those with a taste for gory slice ’em ups with plenty of style. However those looking for something more engaging should look for games with more icing and decoration than this