The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince

The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince

Reviewed by: @micramanic for
@AnyDayReveiws

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 12/02/2019
Price: £19.99/$19.99
Developed/
Published by: NIS America

Story

The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince is an enchanting tale about the relationship between a wolf and a young prince.

Each night the lonely wolf would sit atop a high cliff ledge in the forest and sing, her voice so beautiful that one night it caught the prince’s ear.

The prince would often sit and listen to these captivating melodies through the night sky until the song had finished then he’d applaud.
The wolf, hearing the distant applause was overcome with joy that someone, somewhere appreciated her singing.

Until one day the applause stopped. The wolf sat confused motionless wondering what had happened. Then suddenly she could hear someone trying to climb the cliff on which she was sat.
Startled she peered over the side to see a small boy attempting to scour the cliff.

The prince eventually reached the top.
The wolf, scared of what would happen if the prince had laid eyes on her, panicked. She raised a huge paw to try and cover his eyes so as not to see her monstrous form but instead she accidentally clawed his eyes out, blinding him.

The prince stumbled from the cliff top back down to the forest where a soldier recovered him and returned him back to his castle.

The wolf racked with guilt was determined to set things right!
She would take the prince to see the great witch that ruled the dark forest as she knew she had the power to heal the prince’s eyes. However there was no way the prince would ever trust a monster as she. So the wolf set off firstly to see the witch and ask her to make her human (and a princess) so that she could escort the prince to the witch.

This is where your adventure begins!

Gameplay

The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince is a story driven 2D side scrolling platform puzzle game.
There is also some light combat in the game just to keep you on your toes and which is handled by the wolf.

The puzzles whilst fairly frequent are not too difficult and basically come down to logic or timing as opposed to luck, which is a good thing in my book.

As mentioned this is primarily a story driven solo experience so it doesn’t contain any form of multiplayer or co-op features, nor does it have any RPG elements such as character/equipment leveling or lives/stamina systems. Though it does contain basic trophy style achievements and collectables in the form of golden leaves and flowers. All these combined allow you to unlock bite size bits of lore and even concept art for the game which I thought was a nice touch.

Controls

Controls are kept very simple here. As the escort to said blind Prince you have to hold his hand by approaching him and holding the Y button. With the prince now in tow it’s your responsibility and worth noting that you solely control the princess/wolf.

There are some combat elements in the game, though these like the platforming and puzzle sections are kept fairly brief as the fairytale esque story rightfully takes front and centre.

Combat is always handled by the wolf who is able to run faster, jump higher and is impervious to any kind of fall damage. She also doesn’t receive damage from enemies (some of which outright cower from her) and can exchange fury swipes by mashing the Y button.

To switch between the wolf and the princess is a simple case pressing X. You’ll be doing this a lot throughout the game as you’ll need the wolf to run ahead to clear hazards/enemies or simply to reach higher platforms or switches.

It’s also worth noting that as humans both of you are vulnerable. There are a lot of things that can kill you in the dark forest. Enemies need only attack either of you once and it’s all over. Though fret not as the game is very liberal with it’s checkpoints so you’ll never lose too much progress.
Falling from heights will also lead to insta-death leaving many jumps/drops feeling like leaps of faith. Fortunately the fantastic level design means that most of the areas you are required to drop from will have a mushroom at the bottom to cushion your fall.

Speaking of level design NIS America have really outdone themselves with this one. One minute you are running hand in hand through the forest the next you are become separated or come across puzzles that require the pair to work together to solve.
This is achieved by a clever command system that the princess picks up early in the game in which you hold the prince’s hand then tap either left, right, up or down on the DPad to tell the prince to walk or pick something up.
This is especially useful for the more awkward puzzles where you are unable to move the prince to a switch yourself.

As you progress further into the game you’ll find yourself completely cut off from the prince. But fear not, your command ability also receives an upgrade in which you can now issue commands from afar, so long as you’re in earshot of the prince.

Graphics

The visual style for me was one of many stand out features of the game. Rather than adopting the usual cell shaded or pixel style (which are a dime a dozen at this point) NIS have instead plumped for a far more traditional style.

Sitting somewhere between a Japanese Anime and something lifted straight from the pages of a Roald Dahl book, it really does immerse you into the fairytale environment of the story. Couple this with the understated colour pallette and the pencil shaded textures and you really do get a feel for the mood the story is setting for you.

I am pleased to say this all runs silky smooth in both handheld and docked mode with no loss of frame rate or resolution from what I could see.

Sound

The sound design is another stand out feature here. For the most part it is comprised of piano, flutes, pipes and bongo drums. All of which lend themselves to convey a very natural and organic feel to the game, which is very fitting since you’ll spend most of the time traversing the dark forest.
Dank caverns have a suitably eerie score whilst glacial sections have a much more airier feel to them.

While it’s worth mentioning that none of the characters or NPC’s in the game talk, all the story cutscenes are voice narrated in Japanese with English subtitles and have accompanying still images of each scene. I did look to see if there was an option for English narration but there wasn’t one.

Combat sound effects feel satisfyingly visceral with each swipe of the wolf’s claws. As the enemies are designed to loosely resemble real life animals and critters, the sounds they make when struck by the wolf are very accurate. Attack a charging boar and you get a meaty, guttural grunt. Hit a more insectile looking creature and you get a frantic buzzing followed by a “squish.”

Value

It took me around 5 hours to complete The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince. While some may find this a little on the short side I personally didn’t mind the length too much. As is often the case with story heavy narrative games like this, I’d much rather it be a shorter experience and enjoy every minute of it rather than the developers trying to drag the campaign out over an extended period just for the sake of longevity.

There are lots of collectables in this game so if there are those looking for any added challenge then there is always the option to go back and attempt a 100% completion by finding them all.

Personally for me value is always graded on how much enjoyment I have playing it and how well the game is built rather than game length or price. That said at £19.99 or $19.99 it does sit more towards the premium side of the indie market, not to mention the obvious lack of any kind of exchange rate between British pounds and US Dollars which I’ll never quite understand.

Verdict

I think The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince is a superb game and I had a lot of fun playing it. It has a great story almost worthy of the classic Disney stories from yesteryear. It’s easy to see that the developers have put a lot of time and dedication into this game judging by how well optimised everything is.

This is especially noticeable in the attention to detail. For example when the prince and princess separate they have a rather concerned look on their faces, however when you join hands again their expressions change to an ear to ear smile.

Whether you’re after a great little tale, sublime visuals, a haunting soundtrack or simply after some tight platforming there really is something for everyone here.

Some may have an issue with the pricing of this one particularly the UK version being technically more expensive, though if you do happen to pick it up then you’re in for a great time.

Highly Recommended

Pros.
Great story
Fantastic art and sound design
Unlockables & achievements
Very well optimised for the Switch

Cons.
Some may find the price a little premium
Could be a little short for some

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Reviewed by micramanic on the Nintendo Switch, game provided by NIS America.