Not every game title really sums up what you’re getting when you play. Rez, for instance, or Chulip, or Ni no Kuni…you know what I mean. Sometimes, though, you’re getting exactly what it says on the box. Case in point: Penny-Punching Princess, an action-RPG about a Princess who punches things and also gets involved in some financial foolery.
The titular Princess is out for revenge against the Dragoloans, a family responsible for the collapse of her kingdom. She’ll achieve this revenge through a finely honed mix of punching the crap out of things and bribing the crap out of things. Sometimes you don’t really need to be subtle. Punch things, bribe things, continue until you’re satisfied. That’s video games, folks.
The punching bit’s straightforward enough – beat the hell out of anything that’s in your way until it stops moving. Since money makes the world go round, you might want to take a second once an enemy’s half-dead and shake some funds out of them as well. Bribery, though, is a little more interesting. The Princess has a magic calculator that can be used to make bribe offers to enemies using your accumulated gold. Successfully bribed enemies can be summoned to attack their former allies in a fashion somewhat similar to how Kirby’s power-copying works.
You can bribe more than just enemies, though. If there’s a particularly nasty trap in your way, well, why not bribe that too, then order it to take out your enemies instead? If you’re getting low on health, why not bribe a restoration spot or an enemy healer? What’s more, pretty much everything you bribe ends up joining your kingdom, allowing you to put them to work crafting new gear and upgrades. It’s a hilarious and fascinating mechanic that does a lot to make Penny-Punching Princess a little more than just a button-masher.
This isn’t a full-on AAA masterpiece, of course. The pixel graphics are charming enough for what they are, but they don’t especially deviate from the norm; the closest comparison would be NIS’ own Cladun games. Likewise, sound and music aren’t especially memorable, though there’s something to be said for the thwacks and cracks of beating the crap out of enemies.
Penny-Punching Princess isn’t priced like a AAA masterpiece, but still makes for a pretty unique RPG that’s well-suited on the Switch’s handheld format. Fans of classic top-down or side-scrolling brawlers who are willing to experiment with the bribery mechanic ought to get a kick – or a punch – out of Penny-Punching Princess. Just make sure to stay out of trouble in the real world.