Battle Princess of Arcadias is a plucky look at what happens when you combine the sensibilities of traditional fairy tales with adorable anime-styled characters. Hailing from Nippon Ichi Software, it’s a bit of a different departure from the usual dungeon-crawling and turn-based affairs you may be used to from within the publisher’s ilk, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not worth playing. In fact, Battle Princess of Arcadias is very much still an engaging play, even if it’s not as polished as it could be. It’s a breath of fresh air to see something different from the publisher, so I’m looking forward to an even better game the next time around.
I’d actually call Battle Princess of Arcadias a cute-’em-up, given the fact that everything in your immediate vicinity is actually super adorable. Everything is vivid and colorful, the type of world you want to live in ripped straight out of an anime. Even the monsters are too cute to want to punish justly, but you do it anyway since that’s the name of the game. You’re basically going out to keep the kingdom safe as princess Plume, since the prince himself is now a goose who’s unable to do any actual fighting. Plume is tasked with keeping the kingdom safe in this fairy tale that turns convention on its head.
In fact, most of the innocence of a fairy tale shines through in Plume’s story, and while there is the occasional breast joke here and there it’s actually quite surprisingly tame, which makes it even more suitable for younger, curious gamers looking for something a little more mature, yet still lighthearted.
But what of the meat of the game? This is an action-packed brawler at its heart, where you’ll take a small group of heroes through a range of different, colorful areas as they engage in 2D brawls with the monsters around them. Each character is given their own weapon specialty, and various combos to unleash. It’s all fairly standard brawler fare, mash buttons until you clear the screen of enemies, until you get to the boss battles.
These boss encounters are easily the most intriguing part of the game, since you’re given a host of allies (150 to be exact) who will attack the larger boss while you can attack or defend at will. The goal is to slowly wear away at the boss without expending many units, which can be quite difficult, but that’s the beauty of it. If you find your reserves slipping, you can always order them to retreat so you can whittle away the boss’s health on your own, then bring them back to finish out the fight. It’s a neat and rather innovative feature that I haven’t seen before, so I’m hoping it’s a feature that others tend to follow in the future.
Of course, there’s no disguising the fact that this game can be punishingly difficult. So difficult, in fact, that it disrupts the flow of the game. For such a cutesy and accessible game, I’m not quite sure why tossing players into such a nuanced combat system was a good idea, especially since a flurry of combos will never work quite as well as well-timed blocks and defense. I would recommend the game to intermediate brawler fans as a result, because it is needlessly frustrating at times.
Overall, however, this is an exciting departure from the typical strategy RPG games you may be used to from the publisher, and it’s very much worth picking up for something a little different. Just don’t be surprised if you end up having to take a break here and there after being sucked in by the cuteness. It’s definitely a common mistake being made on such an innocuous-looking game.