Nippon Ichi Software aka NIS American have been on a roll lately with releasing gem after gem after gem when it comes to niche Japanese games and localizing and or developing them for the west. We’ve had gems come out such as The Lost Child, Fallen Legion, God Wars, Labrynth of Refrain, and even the recent Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana and now we have another game in the form of The Princess Guide and in this review we will delve into what makes this game special and If it is another hit tittle under NIS America’s belt or if it is a lackluster title that just doesn’t hit the mark. Let’s dive in and find out!
The game kicks off with you creating the main character and selecting their personality, looks, voice and more which leads into the main character being one of the greatest combat masters of all time and you are looking to help aid the four relic lands and the four princesses that inhabit these lands as you seek to end strife in the world/pursue world conquest and much much more. The game gets started by asking you a few questions and based on what you choose will decide will select which of the 4 princesses that you will be starting with which the following are:
The Warrior Princess of the Alixon Kingdom and Captain of the Kingsguard
The Witch Princess and Prodigal Tyrant of the most powerful guild
The Rose Princess and fallen Duchess of the Yudaria Family
The Dragon Princess and 64th descendant of the dragon priests that are advocates of the North Kamara Faith.
You don’t have to worry about missing out by picking one princess over another as once you finish with one princess you will begin with another as each princess has their own threat that you will face and ultimately you will see how their stories will bleed into one another leading to them all being together.
The Princess Guide is a Strategy Action JRPG, the gameplay is a mix match of many things from action hack n slash to issuing commands in RTS fashion to map traversal and soldier recruiting ala tactical RPG style with focus on deployment of teams: the mix mash does a lot to keep the game fresh and engaging especially once you get to using each of the princesses as each one plays very differently from one another with Monomaria utilizing a gatling gun and being able to dish out damage , Alpana being both a heavy hitter and nimble, Liliarte having wide range when attacking, and Veronica being able to fling destructive spells without mercy so there’s no feeling of repetition amongst the princesses.
There’s the recruitment system within your base of operations that allows you to recruit various fighters and or contraptions to both fight along side you as well as to fight as since you will need to cover ground as you will have access to multiple squads lead by not only you the protagonist and whichever princess that you are assisting but also one of your recruits and whatever class that they happen to be. The map traversal reminds me a lot of Fire Emblem in how you need to go to key locations to trigger events. There are also tower defense or defend the base style situations that require you to take out all enemies within a time frame while defending your base.
Typical gameplay when encountering enemies has your running around a level where you are blocked in an area and have to rely on defeat all enemies within the confines of where you are, there are not only enemies but also environmental traps of which you can take control of and use against enemies such as statue heads that shoot laser beams and buzzsaw traps as well as there being statues that you can activate to heal yourself and your squad (Spoiler: Lure enemies towards the healing statue and let loose on them and while you heal).
You have options in the middle of battle where you can make several commands from healing yourself to changing up your formation to various attacks from both yourself and your team of soldiers. There is also a “Scold” and “Praise” mechanic that allows you to attribute various buffs to your princesses that allow them to increase their stats as well as learn new abilities for teach of your princesses. You should have a heads up in knowing that each of the princesses will eventually fall in love with you so you have to pick one that you want to make as your Waifu (that’s probably the hardest part of the game in my opinion). You’re also able to make purchases from your base of operations to buy new weapons and items and it also allows you to train your Princesses and improve their stats.
So you’ve spoken about the good and great aspects of the game but what are the bad aspects of it? Well the only complaint that I personally have is that it can take several hours to get accustomed to everything that the game throws at you as there’s countless dialog and so much thrown at you that it can become overwhelming at times and the other thing I can see people bothered with that I don’t mind is that there is a lot of talking and since the game is in Japanese you’ll spend a lot of time reading and while I don’t mind reading and watching the exaggerated movements of the princesses and the other characters I can see people taking issue with not wanting to take the time to sit through all the dialogue and. Other than those two things I don’t have any issues with the game at all.
Wrapping this all up, The Princess Guide is a fun Strategy Action JRPG that is fun both in long playthroughs as well as in short playthrough bursts especially on the Nintendo Switch where portability is a benefit of its form factor. The game has a very fun and engaging if nonsensical story where the characters themselves take center stage over the plot and due to the characters having so much personality I don’t mind that at all. If you’re interested in a whimsical adventure with a great artstyle, story, and gameplay, then The Princess Guide is right up your alley.
This game is KASANOVA APPROVED!