I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t know Code of Princess was originally released on the Nintendo 3DS back in 2012, and Studio Saizensen decided to port it to the Switch while touching up the graphics and gameplay some, leading us to Code of Princess EX. While it’s not the best side-scrolling, RPG beat-em-up I’ve played (that honor falls to Dragon’s Crown), there’s still enough interesting twists here to keep fans of the genres busy despite some issues along the way.
The story kicks off with you controlling the scantily clad Princess Solange who finds her kingdom being taken over by some powerful enemies and has to escape with a huge, powerful sword named DeLuxcalibur. It’s up to you to help Solange find a way to take back her kingdom, which in this case involves beating the stew out of numerous enemies while also making a ton of friends along the way that you’ll be able to swap between as you go on missions.
The controls are thankfully simple as you have light and heavy attacks to pull off simple yet effective combos, as well as a lock-on attack that shifts your focus to one enemy that increases damage done to it, as well as a “burst” ability to further increase your damage output when things get hairy. You’re also able to block and dodge enemies by shifting up or down planes in each stage.
You’ll want to take the time to master these skills and level up Solange and her friends as much as you can, as things tend to get pretty difficult and frustrating as the game goes on, mainly because of unfair game mechanics such as “damage sponge” enemies that take forever to go down no matter how strong you are, as well as enemies and bosses that spam cheap attacks over and over. Luckily there’s both local and online co-op to enlist some much needed and welcomed help when the going gets tough.
While the opening anime intro looked nice, the in-game graphics are good but not great. This is sadly one Switch title that actually looks better in handheld mode than it does being docked, that is if you don’t mind rough, jagged graphics taking over your TV. The audio side of things is pretty good as the original Japanese voices fit the characters nicely as do the music and sound effects.
I found Code of Princess EX to be a decent side-scrolling RPG beat-em-up, but it could be so much better with some tweaks here and there. The graphics are nice but could use some work, and thanks to annoying, artificial difficulty points, making your way through this can feel like a bit of a slog. The local and online co-op thankfully save it from being totally frustrating, but in the end you’ll want to crown this princess and be done with it.