The Princess Guide for the Nintendo Switch Review
The Princess Guide
Reviewed by: @micramanic for
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Released Date: 26/03/2019
Published by: NIS America
You are a battle-hardened Master Knight and you’ve been tasked with mentoring four Princesses in the art of warfare so as they can better protect their kingdoms and help their people.
Liliartie – The hungry yet joyful Princess that must save her kingdom from famine.
Veronica – The tactical yet smart-mouthed Witch Princess who seeks glory and dominance.
Monomaria – Help The Rose Princess clear her family debt and bring an end to poverty.
Alpana- The nomadic Dragon Princess who endeavours to spread peace and religious teachings.
Choose any princess you like to begin your quest with and watch their individual stories unfold and develop before your eyes.
Described as an Action, Role-Playing Strategy game The Princess Guide certainly covers all these genres – if sometimes a little lightly.
Once you’ve created your Master Knight (played by yourself) you’re given the choice of a starting Princess – but don’t worry you’ll get to help all four eventually.
There are a lot of different mechanics in this game that some – including myself – may find overwhelming, sadly the very quick fire tutorial does little to alleviate this.
Battles come in the form of hack ‘n’ slash sequences that take part on what appear to be procedurally generated arenas. Missions will usually consist of; clear all enemies, defeat the boss, get to the end within the time limit and so forth.
Herein lies the rub however. Many of the missions can get repetitive pretty quickly as they all play out virtually the same.
You do take a handful of troops with you which you can issue commands and change formations on-the-fly to add a little tactical flare.
Missions are selected from an overworld map to which you navigate your various squads to, much like a board game. Unlike a board game you will encounter enemy hazards every few hours (in-game).
Yes that’s right, The Princess Guide plays with a time system. While your units travel across the map time ticks down – very important to note – for those time-sensitive missions.
Each squad also has an allotted amount of AP which depletes the more you move. This highlights the importance of squad management. You can either build more squads to better cover the map or “withdraw” your squad to replenish health and AP.
Everything runs at a silky smooth 60fps with a crisp resolution in both docked and handheld modes. Though I personally found that the action was a little too fast for handheld and some of the text was a bit too small.
As you progress with the numerous battles you obtain “Teaching Materia” which you use to level up your Princess stats and gain additional benefits. The Master Knight on the other hand is more like a traditional RPG, using “upgrade points” you’ve acquired to increase strength and defense. Leveling up stats isn’t your only option though, you can pick up weapons from treasure chests along the way which can be given to the Princess and Knight alike.
On the battlefield you attack with Y, dash with B and issue commands with X and A. The latter of which can be selected from bringing up the command menu by holding L.
Aside from the basic hack ‘n’ slash mode you have the option to toggle “battle mode” by holding ZL.
In this mode the camera zooms in on your character and your troops break off to fight freely. This also opens up new combat controls. Apart from your basic attack you can unleash some pretty devastating special attacks with with A and B.
The overworld map is handled more like a point and click game. Once you’ve dispatched your chosen squads they can be selected by clicking on them with A then click on your destination. Menus can be brought up with the X button.
As with many of NIS America games The Princess Guide uses some very charming Anime inspired high resolution sprites. Each of the Princess’s have a very distinct look despite a lot of the animations only consisting of a handful of frames.
Enemy designs are nice and varied, ranging from human knights, zombies, blobs to name but a few, though they do appear often, adding to the repetition.
The map screen as mentioned before is presented like a board game, complete with settlement icons and roads linking them. Each area of the map is themed, such as desert, forest, caves etc.
The backgrounds have a pleasant water painting aesthetic, adding a visual novel look to proceedings.
The game is fully voice acted in Japanese only from what I could find. Music ranges from Chillstep/Dance beats whilst in the menus or during conversations and changes to your typical J-Rock/Metal during battles for added drama.
Sound effects are sufficient enough while fighting, with clashing swords and unique special attacks.
You get a satisfying fanfare everytime you claim a relic and very amusing Pikmin style whistle every time you issue a command.
However there seems to be an almost complete lack of monster noises (outside of the cutscenes) which I found a little strange. This broke the immersion somewhat for me and left the battle sequences a little flat.
I went into this game not knowing what to expect. As mentioned earlier the campaign is split into four smaller campaigns which can be played in any order. Each of the Princess’s questlines can be cleared in one sitting and I managed to do all four in around 5 – 6 hours.
Initially I felt a little deflated at the prospect of a completion so quickly, however I felt more optimistic once I learnt that the game doesn’t end there. Once you complete the first round of quests you are called back in to help the Princess’s again. This is essentially a form of New Game+ given you more missions to complete at a higher difficulty.
For this reason I can see dozens of hours of play, though for me the repetition had already set in after my first completion. Structuring the game this way does have it’s purposes though as this is how you continue to level your characters.
It’s been noted in the past that NIS America value their IP’s and The Princess Guide is no exception. Coming in at a hefty $39.99 I can see this price point putting a lot of people off. With that said I’ve played quite a few of their games now and they are all made to a high standard and run well.
Another high quality title from NIS which oozes their signature colourful charm. If you can cope with the repetitive mission structure and enjoy grinding for upgrades then this is a no-brainer.
Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch by Micramanic. Game provided by NISAmerica.