One of the struggles of doing any review, or for that matter hundreds of them, is figuring out where the lines are. Dynasty Warriors might be simple and hollow but it’s fun and enjoyable in a mindless way. Likewise, there are a number of games that are simple to a fault. What makes it hard isn’t figuring out how deep the hole is, but rather, how wide is that hole. Penny-Punching Princessdid a lot with very little, so now that we have The Princess Guide trying to do the same is certainly interesting. With multiple characters, several stories and plenty to see, is it a winning combo or was the first time a fluke?
The Princess Guide is an odd combination of quirky characters and vague storytelling, which eventually leads to an actual story. Like a lot of these games, each princess is really defined by one or two traits and most of their interactions are related to these traits. Alpana is religious, Monomaria has anxiety, Liliartie is a glutton and Veronica is a brat. It leads to some amusing interactions, such as Liliartie’s most notable soldier is called Cue Card, who functions like a cue card, but it can’t sustain anyone’s interest for a long period of time.
Thankfully, The Princess Guiderealizes this and quickly shifts the focus to a looming threat. The girls need to take what they learned from you, work together and defeat them for everyone’s wellbeing. It never really hits a point where it’s extremely interesting but it does at least move past one dimensional characters that repeat the same jokes, even if that persists throughout.
Even if that holds the story back, it doesn’t stop gameplay from being fun. For the most part, players are have one or two attacks and the rest comes down to tactics. The idea is, you go into battle with a couple allies and they have a special attack and a team attack. These can stun enemies and aid you in battle, so you need to use them at the right time. Players can also take over relics, similar to what bribing was in Penny-Punching Princess, and then use these items to take out enemies.
It never becomes a super complicated strategy or tactic heavy experience but it’s just deep enough to be fun, with it being simple enough to be enjoyable. In a lot of ways it’s like Cladunwithout the floor traps or endless grinding. Despite not relying on these things, they still exist in The Princess Guide.
Doing specific tasks will allow you to ‘train’ your princess and that will give you skill points. Leveling a princess unlocks new allies, abilities and in one case a mini-game mode to further train them, giving players a sense of progression. There are also weapons you can find and enhance, allowing you to have some control over how your built or what the hero/princesses excel at.
In a lot of ways the side mechanics are not terribly important. As long as you have decent skill and remember to change your great, there will only be a slight difference in overall power. It isn’t enough to result in failure, but not enough to make it essential for anyone uninterested in the side mechanics.
There is also a praise/punish system that seems to have little impact on the overall flow of things. Both decisions have advantages and disadvantages, though they seem to just offer different randomized buffs and slight changes in dialogue. There might be more to it on a macro level, but on the micro level it’s largely irrelevant. On a high note, this means you can actually train your princess however you want, you just don’t get the satisfaction of it really changing their outcome.
Regardless of how simple The Princess Guide might appear, it’s fun enough to enjoy. In a lot of ways, it seems like the perfect game for the Switch. Players can pick it up and have fun, change up their tactic or see what different units have to offer. The only real downside is the story, though the dialogue is often fun enough to get past it. Combine that with a fair amount of challenges, cute monsters and more and it’s easy to have a blast with The Princess Guide.