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Destructoid review: Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero?

2:00 PM on 03.06.2009 // 8BitBrian

Dood! So, like, there's this game, dood, where you get to play as the Prinnies! They're, like, the heroes, dood! I guess that's because they have to be, otherwise Master Etna will kill them...

So, I hear you like side-scrollers on your PSP, dood. Well, dood, this one should be interesting for you to try. I mean, Master Etna doesn't really care about our safety, so she's made this extra hard. The health benefits for being a Prinny really suck too, dood.

Alright, I'll stop. Today, we've got NIS' side-scrolling adventure that's a spinoff from everyone's favorite RPG, Disgaea. Follow me after the jump to see how ball-bustingly hard this game can be, and whether or not it's worth your hard-earned cash.


Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? (PSP)
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software
Released: February 10, 2009
MSRP: $39.99

Etna is a demanding bitch. She's always bossing around Laharl and the Prinnies, and in this case, it's no different. Someone has eaten her ultimate dessert, and now the Prinnies need to go out and find all the ingredients -- otherwise she'll kill them all. What is a Prinny to do?

Don the magical scarf and try to collect the ingredients, no doubt! Etna, in her infinite wisdom, gave the Prinnies a scarf that saves them from dying instantly when hit -- instead they go a whole three hits before dying! "But what happens when the Prinny dies," you might be asking. Well, the answer is simple: they just pass it on to the next one.

In preparation for battle, the game puts a thousand Prinnies at your disposal. And trust me, you need them. Prinny is notoriously hard -- a combination of Mega Man and Ghosts 'n Goblins.

The levels are designed simply enough: run through a platforming adventure while dodging enemies at every corner, and try to collect some secret items for the hell of it before facing off at the boss. Now, what makes this game oh so special is that the enemies are some of the most frustrating things in existance. Typically, while you're in the middle of platforming, an enemy will appear on the edge and attack you in mid-air, sending you falling to your death.

Oftentimes, the enemy placements are put there just to punish you for not having the foresight to predict that they would be there. So, the game sends you back to one of the several checkpoints and has you do it over and over again. Now, I know that I'm not very good at this type of game, but as the levels went on, I would lose upwards of 40 lives on a single stage. And then get to the boss fight.

The boss fights make you want to chuck your PSP at the wall -- simple as that. They have attack patterns, sure, but there's a lot of fluidity in there and it very often results in you losing half your health within the first few seconds. More often than not, the boss fights ran me about a half hour long and caused me to lose anywhere from three to thirty lives in the process -- many of those from just blowing myself up in frustration.

One of the more irritating things is that you have to be quick at it, seeing as you've only got three minutes to complete a boss battle. Stages are given eight minutes, and when you die, the clock is reset, even if you're at a later checkpoint, which is nice. Oftentimes the stages are fun, especially when you're trying to rack up combos by stunning enemies and earning prizes like extra HP or points bonuses.

Sitting back and thinking about the game, it can be fun. It really can. But when you sit and play it? It fluctuates very frequently between fun and painfully irritating. Too often the game would just punish me, like I mentioned earlier, for not having the divine wisdom to see ahead of me on the stage. I would be mid-air, and I'd land right into an enemy, sending me back into a pit. It probably wouldn't be so bad if the game let you adjust your landing mid-jump.

So, is Prinny worth it? Perhaps if you're into this hard-to-be-hard sort of thing. You masochist. But for the rest of us, the game is going to be too much of a pain to really enjoy.

Score: 3.5 -- Poor (3s went wrong somewhere along the line. The original idea might have promise, but in practice the game has failed. Threatens to be interesting sometimes, but rarely.)

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