Hands-On Preview: Penny-Punching Princess

It’s gonna be a hit… get it? We’ll show ourselves out…

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 03/30/2018 08:25 Comment on this     ShareThis

NIS America has an interesting game up its sleeve in the form of Penny-Punching Princess. For starters, it’s a pleasant departure from the norm with a female protagonist. Even more pleasing is the notion that this is a princess with bite, as she spends the entire game pummeling her enemies into submission. While PPP is indeed an RPG, it’s more of an action-RPG, meaning there are no turn-based battles. Instead, combat is real-time and delivered via flurries of punches and other attacks.

As I sat and played through the first mission of the game, I was engrossed by every minute of the experience. The nominal lead is out to save her kingdom, something many an RPG fan will be used to doing, but there’s a clever spin on the usual end-game goal that fans are so familiar with. Princess isn’t just smooshing her foes into dust as she goes about her adventure, she’s also bribing them into joining her on her quest.

Penny-Punching Princess is all about the Benjamins. Money rules everything in this game, to the point that while out on the playing field, it’s possible to avoid conflict with certain foes entirely and instead offer them cash to switch sides. Even things like gates require a certain amount of coinage in order to open! It’s a hilarious mechanic, but it also adds some spice to what would otherwise be fairly stock brawling. When I found myself outclassed by an enemy, I knew that I could also weigh utilizing some of the money in my coffers to pay them off as opposed to getting killed. What’s more, bribed allies join Princess in the game world, following her around and helping fight enemies.

If I made it sound like the actual fighting is mundane, that wasn’t my intention, as it’s legitimately fun to fight in PPP. There are a variety of different combos that can be executed along with some special attacks. What I sampled of the game was also tough as nails; PPP is not for lightweights. I died at least twice, once from being an idiot and trying to bull my way through some hazards, the other just from being overwhelmed and not having a sound battle strategy. One gripe I had during my playtime was that death means going way back in some cases and being forced to replay massive chunks of a given level. It sucked, but it’s a grievance I’m willing to try to come to terms with once I have my hands on the final build.

PPP employs a pixel art style that I thought lent itself well to the action. There’s a frenetic, zany feeling to the game alongside its funny dialogue, so the pop that the art style has is a great fit. Admittedly, I’m sort of reaching my fill of pixel-based graphics that skew towards the simplistic side as it’s becoming a very worn design choice, but PPP differentiates itself enough with some really cool character designs, so I’m not overly concerned.

I was also impressed with the ability to customize Princess’s attacks and armor. Players can put together different armor sets for Princess that also customize the different attack abilities she has at her disposal. There are also Zenigami statues that can be built in order to gain skill points in order to boost Princess even further. It’s a great upgrade system that felt rewarding to invest in for the brief time I got to play with it. There seems to be a good variety of armors to get hold of, to boot.

Switch has no shortage of excellent games already out and waiting in the wings, but don’t let that distract you from giving Penny-Punching Princess the attention it deserves. Its mix of brawling and RPG elements is a winner, and if the full game can capture the sense of fun and adventure I felt with my preview session, it’ll be a must-own for Switch owners. It’s out on April 3, so be ready for the full review soon!

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