Nearly a year has passed since Fat Princess graced the PS3 and all the kings’ men have been gathered once again to reclaim their beloved princess. Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is the PSP version of last summer’s PS3 hit, Fat Princess, and it packs in some new extra content to boot.
For the uninitiated, Fat Princess is an online multiplayer game that is much like playing Capture the Flag… but with a tasty twist. Two rival teams are holding each other’s princesses captured and the objective is to rescue your team’s princess while keeping the enemy’s princess imprisoned. The catch? Well it is that each team can feed the imprisoned princess cake which makes her fat and thus, harder for the opposing team to carry back to their castle. Add in five classes to choose from and the ability to fortify castles and you have a sure recipe for a fun, chaotic online battlefield.
Seeing that Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is largely an updated port of the PS3 version, comparisons will be made to its bigger brother (or should that be big sister?). Though fret not, new players, for this review will cover all that you’ll need to know. With that being said, let’s take a look at the HOTs and NOTs of the game:
Charming Presentation. Now with 30% more internet memes!
From the cartoonish visual style to the sound effects, Fistful of Cake retains all the details that made the PS3 version so charming and lovable to its fans. Aside from more jaggies likely due to the PSP’s hardware limitations, the game has transitioned very well in terms of graphical quality – it’s exactly what you would expect Fat Princess to look like on a smaller screen. The cute character voice-overs teeming with several references to other games, films, and internet memes also return so expect to hear lines like “Prepare to be pwned!”, “Boom! Headshot!” and my personal favorite “You tattering flack-dragon!” The English narrator does get some extra lines notably for the expanded story and added game modes which is always welcome. Overall, the audio is great, although I only wish there was a bit more variety to the background tunes in stages.
Much like the PS3 version, the single player campaign serves as an introduction to the online multiplayer portion. The story, Legend of the Fat Princess is expanded and now features fifteen chapters instead of seven, and rightly so as it showcases the several new features and modes added to this version. Combined with the wonderful narration and told in a story book fashion, the story is very amusing and well told.
Ignoring my personal dislike for the PSP’s analog nub (which is the cause of occasional thumb slippage), the controls for this game are simply wonderful. They’re exactly identical to the PS3 version’s dual shock 3 controls sans the L2 and R2 triggers of course. The controls as a whole just “feel” right for me and there is also an option to change button layouts for those with different preferences. Character animations and movement are precise and responsive with no lag even when multiple characters explode into bloody puddles at the same time. I did find that viewing the map causes a short pause which slightly interrupts the gameplay, but other than that, the flow of the game is very fluid whether your forces may be attacking, defending, or simply harvesting resources. The character classes are well balanced and the single player missions have a lot of variety which makes learning the new gameplay concepts all the more interesting.
Provides a Decent Challenge
Even as a preparation for the online portion, the story mode is by no means a piece of cake (pun intended). I found myself having to restart a few missions knowing the battle is a “lost cause.” It’s designed to mimic what a normal online game would play out as. So yes, even with your allies, you WILL have to contribute to the effort in order to win. Sometimes, teams will be at a stalemate unless you take the initiative to do something cunning or bold. Just make sure not to charge the enemy’s castle gates alone. This applies to the multiplayer aspect as well, except more of the challenge comes from outsmarting your opponents rather than just gathering a large force to try to overwhelm the enemy. Often, the difference between victory and defeat could just be an upgraded class or a certain outpost that your team decided to ignore.
Plentiful and Substantial Extras
Aside from the aforementioned expanded storyline, Fistful of Cake features six new maps in addition to all the maps found on the PS3 version, five of which are showcased in the story mode. The sixth map is exclusive to the new Grim Reaper mode where seven players team up against the player playing as the powerful Grim Reaper who then tries to get as much kills as he can before he is slain. New play modes have also been added including Demolition where each team races to deliver a bomb to the enemy team’s throne first; Dilapidated mode starts each team’s hat machines broken with both teams racing to fix them all; Decoy mode adds a fake princess that explodes upon enemy contact; and Jailbreak mode where each team compete for outposts to bolster their spawn count. These additions do a terrific job at spicing up both the single player and multiplayer experiences.
As with the PS3 version, the real meat of the game is the online portion and Fistful of Cake does a great job at supporting both Adhoc and Infrastructure play. Online multiplayer is handled a bit differently in that it supports up to 8 human players and the AI controlled players fill in the extra spots for a total of up to 16 players on Adhoc and Infrastructure play. Like with most online multiplayer games, you’ll be spending time on the online multiplayer long after the single player is done and it’s really the bulk of its replay value. A good online community would further raise the longevity of the online component. Offline play also gives you the ability to “Mess Around” and play any mode with your own settings for up to 24 players total. Gladiator mode and the Soccer game type also return to add to an already good package.
Games Can Really Drag On…
Matches can often drag on to the point of almost saying this is unreasonable. A swift victory is rare especially when playing with experienced players who know better by concentrating on buffing their fortifications and upgrading classes first. When both opposing teams are especially good, games that normally would be a ten minute battle easily turns into a thirty minute war of attrition. Rescue the Princess games are especially notorious for either being very short or very long with most games leaning toward the latter. While not necessarily a bad thing, if you’re looking to play a quick game online on your PSP you may be disappointed to find out the matches here can take a while to finish.
Lack of Communication; Some AI Issues
Being for the PSP, the lack of voice communication may be understandable, but it still hurts the multiplayer experience quite a bit. While it’s possible to gather a few AI controlled players to follow you, nothing quite beats being able to stage a coordinated attack with fellow players or plan certain divide and conquer tactics to outmaneuver the enemy. This was an important element in the PS3 version and the absence of it here is disappointing. Perhaps dedicating the whole directional pad for commands such as Full Assault, Defense, or Harvest Resources that can be alerted to other players (and followed by the AI) would have helped. Also, while both friendly and enemy AI are largely competent, there are times when they would get stuck running towards a wall or corner when they’re following you. You can also sometimes spot some of them just standing still, literally doing nothing (not even capturing an outpost).
SuperVillain Studios has put together a great package for anyone looking for an enjoyable team based game for the PSP. While not without flaws, its extra features and nearly flawless transition to a portable platform is commendable and sure to please both fans of the PS3 version and newcomers a like. So take up your arms and get ready to look for a slice of that delicious cake, this is a princess worth rescuing folks.Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake Review,