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Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? (PSP) Review

Well can I?

Or, to give it it’s original title “プリニー ~オレが主人公でイイんスか” which literally means “Prinny: Is it Okay if I’m the Main Character, Dood?”. This gives you some appreciation of the overal tone of the game!

Prinny’s are loveable yet intensely dumb creatures. Their biggest dawn fall though is not their lack of brain, no their biggest issue is that the slightest tap makes them explode – not such a good quality for sure! Drawn from the regular Disgea universe this time around the loveable penguins are not in a strategy grind-fest, oh no sir, they are in a 2D old “as hell” skool platformer.

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You play as the “Chosen” Prinny, well chosen for now anyways, who’s name is.. well. Prinny – go figure! Prinny, along with his brother Prinnys, have been called to the throne room of their master Etna. Etna is mega pissed that someone who looked awfully “Prinny Like” was seen disappearing in to the distance when she went to get her food. Now, in a bid to make it up to her, the prinnys must seek out and make “The Ultimate Dessert” – yeah, this game is kinda nuts btw! As Etna’s chosen one you are given a special red scarf that protects you against exploding at first impact. You must set forth and retrieve the un-retrieveable ingredients for the dessert in question. And if you fail? Well let us just say that the next Prinny in line will get themselves a new, but slightly charred, scarf. Actually to be honest the idea is that there is no main character to Prinny, but I will explain that more later.

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Graphically Prinny is gorgeous. The 2D world is realised in beautifully colourful glory. The sprite work is as only the Japanese can do and the odd ball characters and animations are fantastic. The 2D backgrounds are all actually 3D just viewed from the side – ala Splosion Man, Worms etc. The 3D employed in the levels is top notch for the most part – the odd rough edge creeps in but never spoils the overall look and feel of the title. The palette is awash with a plethora of colour yet it still manages to convey many a sinister environment along the way. There really are very few platformers that look this good, on any systems, let alone the PSP. As mentioned before the character animations are fantastic and convey the loveable and completely stupid nature of the Prinnys with great finesse.

Sound wise the game is also an absolute barn-stormer. The music in the game is somewhere between your typical JRPG and your not so typical Japanese platformer. Plenty of sweeping scores and jazzed up sequences keep the musical quality top notch and the variety of tunes on display is fantastic. The sample quality as well is super clear and the whole audio is just so clean. The in game bells and whistles are a plenty with spot effects well placed, timed and used. There is also a large amount of speech in this title, mainly for cut scenes or when you are talking to characters during level breaks etc. There are also speech sequences during the Boss Fights at the end of each level (told you it was Old Skool). These are a great distraction as you die over and over – I might not of mentioned it yet but – Prinny is a VERY hard game. The dialogue in the sequences is pretty sharp and funny and voice acting for the Prinny race as a whole is great. Every time a Prinny calls someone “Dood” I just can;t help but smile. Every last sentence basically end “Dood” so you get the idea.

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The game breaks down in to six levels. Nethergrasslands, High Tome Forrest, Death’s Watchtower, Demon Sea Aria, Magma Hideout & Moab Fortress. You can tackle any of these levels in any order you see fit. When Etna sets your quest she tells you that her dessert MUST be completed in 10 hours – or else! Now remember about Prinny being teh main character? Well I kinda lied. ‘A’ Prinny is the main charcter, but what Etna does is send out a horde of 1000 Prinnys. Each time one dies the scarf is handed on. So with this in mind the game works differently to your regular game. Instead of have 5 or 8 lives to start with and then trying to make them last or gain more as you progress; Prinny gives you 1000 to start with. The real kicker is that’s it! No more lives are coming your way. Lose 500 on the first 2 levels and you are seriously screwed my friend.

Control of prinny is a fairly simple affair. D-Pad moves him around, one button to jump/double jump another so attack using Prinnys deadly blades (oh yeah Prinny’s are bad asses!) and then the should to look around. You can also do a Mario style head bounce by pressing down during a jump. As you progress through you’ll gather orbs that unlock different characters that stand around at Prinny HQ near Etna’s chambers. These characters will offer you access to shed loads of unlockables, like info on the game’s monsters, access to your battle data, soundtrack tweaking and special prizes that can be won by finding and submitting Lucky Dolls — hidden creatures scattered throughout each level.

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The other aspect is that each level will alter in difficulty depending on the “hour” you tackle it in. My advice? Tackle the later levels first! I didn’t and they were seriously PSP smashingly hard – yet fun. This is one of the issues with Prinny and this will really split the audience. You will have seen the score by now right? 8 is pretty damn good by any count but I had this as a 10, then a 9, then an 8 then a 9 and so on. This is due to the fact that the game is hard, not just a little hard, really fucking hard. Nosebleed hard! That said it is also such a joy to play I just can not help myself. This taps stright in to the main vein of “One more try”. If you liked your platformers back in the day before they went all soft and “user friendly” then this is so your game. I mean these jumps don’t just have to be right, some have to be pixel perfect and timed to perfection amidst utter chaos. If instead you have been reared on the more forgiving platformers of modern times then this will frustrate you like mad, you will still love the presentation and the game but lament the controls and frustrating later difficulty. So after much thought I gave it a 9.. I mean an 8 – damn! I’m pretty good at platformers (my chosen topic along with Point & Click!) and even I had used 200 lives by 1/3rd of the way through. By the end I was dwindling towards the lower 100’s at around 344 lives left. The good news? Well that was playing on “normal” mode. If you like a real challenge you can make it so the Prinny’s don’t get any protection from the scarf and explode on impact – I’m not that much of a sadist!

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Longevity wise this game is a cracker. Each level took me around 30 – 50 minutes to complete. Total play through weighed in at just under 8 hours – although I had plenty of breaks in between for the safety of my and my PSP’s health! Once you have completed the game you can then go back and try the harder mode (no thanks!) and also play each level in different order. There are collectibles galore to lay your flippers on as well. Add to this that Nippon Ichi Software have release 3 additional levels via the PSP WiFi connection and you have a great little title bursting with character, comedy, longevity and the ability to give you a stroke.

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Final Thoughts: Fairly short and sweet my thoughts on this one – Get It! If you like platformers pick it up. If you love platformers, especially the old ones, this will give you a serious gaming wood. It’s cute, funny, crazier than a bag of cats and a welcome relief to someone in need of a good platformer. If a sequel is made and they tone down the difficulty and relax the anal nature of the platforming then this will be a total 10 from any platform gamer (although I will miss the old skool nature of the hardness level) – actually fuck it, it’s perfect as it is.. I wanna change my score.. waddayameannogoddamit!!


About Zeth

Zeth
Zeth is our EU Senior Editor and has been writing about video games since he joined BG back in 2008. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.

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