Posted by Tim on August 6, 2009

Fat Princess Review: A Game Caked with Depth

Post Rating

Fat Princess

Developer: Titan Studios

PSN Exclusive

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Have you ever had a great day, only to have it ruined by one silly, stupid thing? Say you got that job you’ve been trying so hard to get, only to be pulled over for a speeding ticket on your way home. Ever had something like that happen to you? If you have, then you know that small things can make big changes in the real world, and unfortunately, the same can be said for the new PSN exclusive, Fat Princess. What you have in Fat Princess is the video game equivalent of a “great day,” and the silly stupid thing that ruins your great day is, you guessed it, server issues. Titan Studios delivered a fantastic game full of diversity, strategy, and innovation. Unfortunately, you’ll more often find yourself yelling out in frustration, rather than glee, due to the bugs and connection issues. Nonetheless, underneath all the dirt lays a gem of a game, or should we say, a three-tiered cake of a game, complete with a cherry on top.

I will admit up front that these server issues will eventually get patched, thus rendering this review out of date and less than accurate. When that happens, go ahead and give the score a bump up, because that really is the only major flaw with this game. However, I’m reviewing the copy I have, and right now the bugs are too rampant and frequent to be ignored. It really is a shame since it is a very good game, so I’ll just get the bad out of the way so we can get to the good (er, cake?).

The game offers an online and single player mode, and the online mode is where all the issues come up. It takes a long time to connect to a game, and often times you won’t be able to connect even after multiple attempts. If you are patient enough and you actually do connect to a game, half of the time there is lag waiting to greet you. And just because you are in a game doesn’t guarantee you’ll see it to the end, as sometimes you’ll get kicked out. There are other random and weird issues as well. In one game I played, the other team was on the brink of winning, with only a couple seconds left till they won, when randomly the game ends and declares my team the winner. While I was happy about that one, I bet the guys on the other side weren’t too thrilled. I’m not sure what the issue was there, as I doubt lag caused the sudden declaration of victory to my side.

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On days when you get a speeding ticket, you just have to forget about it and move on. That is exactly what you should do with this game for the lag issues, since it is just too good to not play. There are no issues in the single player mode, with the only negative being that it is very easy and very short. However, it is a PSN only game, and one that is geared towards the online play. To be honest, I was surprised there even was a campaign mode. It is worth a play through though, especially if you are learning to play the game, since the game play is unique and the learning curve is pretty steep.

The game lets you control one of 16 members of a medieval army as you fight against the enemy army in one of four different game modes. Rescue the Princess is essentially capture the flag with the added dimension of having to hold both princesses in your castle for 30 seconds; Snatch ‘n Grab is the same as rescue the princess except you don’t have to hold the princess in your castle, but, you have to snatch the enemy princess 3 times (in both of these games you can feed the captive princess cake to make her fat and more difficult to carry away); Team Death Match where you have a certain number of reinforcements that are depleted as you and your teammates die; and finally there is a capture and hold type game called Invasion, where you have to control more than 50% of the outposts throughout the map to slowly deplete your enemy’s morale. While the four modes aren’t really anything knew, the way you go about playing them is what makes this game innovative.

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When starting a game, you start in your own castle as just a regular “dude,” with only two health hearts. You basically are very susceptible to death, and you only have a weak slap attack to help defend yourself (note to trophy whores, there is a trophy associated with slapping). Luckily, there are 5 different hat machines that you can pick from, and when you put on a hat, you transform into one of 5 different classes: warrior, mage, priest, ranger and worker. Each class has different strengths and attacks, and each is very essential to winning a game.

The warrior is your basic front line grunt, with high attack power and high health. The mage can burn or freeze enemies in their place. The priest can heal friends or suck the life out of foes. The ranger is a long distance specialist, and the worker builds objects and harvests resources. If your team lacks any one of these classes, then you will find yourself loosing a lot of games quickly. Each class not only plays an essential part in victory, but also adds a ton of variety and strategy to the game.

On top of the classes, there are several other elements in the game to spice things up. There are magic potions which change enemies into chickens, bombs used to kill large groups of people to break down walls. Outposts are placed all around and can be captured by standing near one for an amount of time. These outposts are important because not only are they places where you can heal yourself if injured, but they serve as quick outlets to store resources you harvest. Additionally, each map has some unique features which change up the way you attack your enemy. All these features create a deep strategy based game with a lot of variety to keep you coming back for more.

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One very important thing to mention is that while the single player game is very easy, the online game is very hard. Not only is the game hard to learn and get accustom to the controls, each class’ skills, and the strategy for each map, it is hard because of how team based the game really is. At first you may think you can go it alone and James Bond your way to victory, but you will soon learn that if you don’t team up, you will be about as successful as that silly rabbit who tries to steal kid’s tasty Trix.

How you go about forming teams is up to you. People with clans will have the biggest advantage, but for the rest of us, we have to do our best to get our inconversant teammates to work together. Rushing by yourself almost always proves futile, but a successful rush with several of your teammates is deadly.

I’ve seen many different groups form effective squads. Often times it involves a handful of priests to heal everyone else, and then a couple rangers and a couple warriors to just bash through. Other times I’ve seen a group of mages be used effectively, as they time their attacks to freeze their enemies over and over again. There is probably an endless number of ways you can form squads, but one thing is constant: if you don’t squad up you’ll end up on the losing team.

Some people might consider this a negative because it forces you to be willing to work with others. I consider it an innovative approach to online multiplayer games, as it adds an element of RTS games. It also gives you the freedom to change up your classes, so you don’t always have to be the mage, or ranger, etc.

And just like in RTS games, there are many different strategies to start a game. Your team can quickly stock pile as many resources as they can and rank up their classes, or you can try to rush the enemy with the hope that they haven’t built up any defenses, or even try and capture all the outposts first. Everything about this game is deep and expansive, which creates more strategy for this PSN exclusive title than I’ve seen in most disc games out today.

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Outside of the actual game play, there is a slew of other features that is “icing on the cake” of this cake-eating battle game. Almost every stat is tracked and reported in the game, and available for viewing in the “Bragging Rights” section. There are sixteen pages of stats which show everything from hours played to number of chickens killed. This is another feature that has more depth than most disc games offer, and adds a nice touch to the online experience.

Other than just tracking your stats, there are more features to create even more depth. There is a section where you can change the look of your character, with lots of different outfits and items you can unlock as you play the game. Also, like in most games, there is a section where you can watch the credits for the game. However, instead of just sitting back and seeing the names scroll down, you get to kill off a non-stop barrage of enemies in a gladiator ring to the music of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” The developers injected other bits of comic relief in the game as well, including a character infamously named “Prince Albert,” (something/one the princesses are certainly looking forward to meeting). The amount of detail in the game is astounding, and it simply puts it in a category beyond almost everything else available on the PSN, and even trumps most disc games.

There are other negatives other than just lag issues to this game, however. There is a ranking system in the game that is very confusing and feels pretty much pointless the way it is administered. I haven’t quite exactly figured it out (which is saying something right there considering how long I’ve played the game so far), but from what I can gather you are ranked based off each game’s performance. The rankings are traditional armed forces ranks of private, general, corporal, etc. The confusing part of it is that your ranking can go up or down within each match, and there isn’t too much there to let you know exactly why your rank changes. While its cool to have the little “General” title by your name, not knowing why its there and not knowing why it disappears renders the whole thing practically useless.

Additionally, many of the games can be very long, as it is generally difficult to successfully steal the princess out of the enemy dungeon. This makes it daunting to pick up the game, unless you know you have a good amount of time to devote to playing. Of course, you could just stick with Team Death Match which usually is a quickie. While the lag issues is something that will eventually get fixed, these things most likely won’t go away, but they are small enough to not take too much away from the overall game.

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Other than the great strategy and expansive depth available in this game, the atmosphere is right on, which rounds out the overall game play experience. The cartoony look combined with the story-book style clashes well with the bloody violence and oh-so-obvious frivolity of war (you fight to capture an overly obese oligarch). Throw in the comic relief of feeding princesses cake to squander your enemy’s attempts to rescue her (as well as all the other funny tidbits), and you have an all-together delightful atmosphere that feels very fresh and fun.

It is truly unfortunate the server issues exist for this game, because that is the only real obstacle keeping this game from being one of the best we’ve seen on the PSN. The level of diversity and strategy blows almost everything else out of the water, and I’m including disc games. While teamwork is essential, it will prove innovative and a refreshing change to online multiplayer games. The amount of depth to the game is astounding, from the game play down to simple features like stat tracking. While the ranking system and lengthy games bring this title down slightly, there is too much going on to keep it down. Forget the star rating on this one, server issues aside this is a four to five piece of cake title easily. The $15 price tag may discourage some people from buying the game, but it is an experience almost everyone should try out.

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3 Responses to “Fat Princess Review: A Game Caked with Depth”

  1. Mike says:

    Loved the Beta, but haven’t jumped ship to the real thing yet. Too many other games to play. Though I really think blu-clan would have fun with this.

  2. Horhay says:

    oh I see server issues there….I hated those back in the beta! so I’ll just wait until they fix them.

  3. JQQQ says:

    To be honest I was very skeptical of this game. I kept hearing that it was a really good game and the gameplay itself really inticed me. I said well i have 15 bucks to spend, do I buy marvel vs capcom 2, which i have played countless times and love the game, or do I buy fat princess and try something new. I decided to buy fat princess and what helped make the desicion was the fact that every PSN game I have bought is original and awesome, PSN games are the best forget LIVE’s ARCADE games. And i am happy with the purchase this game is really fun and it does take a while to learn everytrhing. What the author of this post is saying is very true if you dont work as a team your just gonna keep dying. This game forces you to work as a team. And whats cool is that even if you dont have a mic most of the people I have played with have figured this point out and everyone already seems to know to work as a team. I recommend this game to anybody its a really original experience and has lots of replayability. I am still gonna buy Marvel VS. Capcom 2 though.

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