Prinnies are frequently looked down upon in Disgaea because of their low tier status. They’re normally represented as minions serving a powerful master. Their numbers are plentiful, so it’s unlikely for anyone to care if one happens to go missing. With the release of Prinny 1, the Prinnies are finally putting their foot down, but how well does the game fare as its own title, dood?
Someone stole Etna’s ultra dessert and her anger is being quenched with the abuse of the Prinnies. All the Prinnies must now band together to collect the dessert’s ingredients and figure out a way to make it. With a red scarf to hold back a Prinny’s explosive nature, the penguin-looking beings stand a slightly higher chance at achieving their goal.
Although the level of comedy is nowhere near that of the Disgaea games, Prinny 1 still has its hilarious moments. Even if you weren’t a fan of Prinnies during your time with the Disgaea games, Prinny 1 helps make you appreciate their kind with a better perspective of the life of a Prinny. Fans who consider the Prinny as one of their favorite characters will be right at home with this game.
Prinny 1 is a 2D side-scrolling game where a Prinny finally gets the screen time it so ever deserves. You’ll play as none other than the famous Prinny, wearing a red scarf to be distinguished from the rest. There will be a lot of enemies trying to hinder your progression. You’ll have to overcome these foes with two blades, a non-lethal hip pound, a dodge spin, and a dash.
The basics are learned right from the beginning with two stages to practice without retributions; not that it’s needed because the game generously provides you with a massive number of lives (1,000). This number can quickly reduce and it’s clearly seen while playing; however, it may never hit dead zero with the level of content the game offers.
The game follows a 10-hour clock that ticks down with each completed stage. The first 6 stages of the game can be chosen at your leisure. As the clock changes, the stages do as well. A stage you may have had no problem clearing could be shifted to a hell-like difficulty, fitting for the atmosphere of the game. Sometimes the obstacles that block your passage may be portrayed as impossible to overcome; however, you’ll have to prove that sometimes the impossible can be made possible using the skills the Prinny possesses up its sleeve.
Checkpoints help make progression manageable. The game doesn’t take too kindly to the players who rush to them with the idea of sacrificing their hit count. You’ll have to fight the enemies that get in your way and carefully avoid the others. Enemy attacks will knock you back and sometimes it can get annoying when they make you fall off the stage. The various foes you’ll encounter use different methods of attacks, but nothing you won’t be able to handle.
There isn’t a lot of levels, but the different time-based variations add to the game’s replay value. Each of the game’s starting levels has six variations you can attempt. These variations are based on the order you play the stages in as the clock counts down. It encourages multiple playthroughs of the game to unlock them all, drastically increasing the time you may spend playing Prinny 1. Additionally, collectibles can be obtained throughout the stages that unlock even more content.
Similar to stages, the bosses you encounter depend on the in-game time when you attempt the stage. It’s like rolling a dice to determine how strong the enemy is. If they’re too tough, you’re given the option of not seeing the fight through. Instead, you can retreat and pick a different stage to complete. Unless you’re at the 6th stage, returning at a later time will likely prompt a different boss to fight.
Each stage has a boss waiting for you at the end. Fans of the Disgaea series will find returning faces they’ll once again have to engage in battle. The bosses in the game all have their own unique combat style. The first stage’s boss is the weakest and its attacks are underwhelming, but this takes a turn for the better with later bosses.
It’s easy to learn their patterns with the low number of skills they display; however, matching their pace may take time with many deaths to come. Rematches skip the introduction cutscene, allowing you to jump straight into the action after death without wasting a moment. As the hero of the story, you’ll have to utilize your most effective moves to subdue each challenger.
The further you get, the tougher the bosses will likely be. Every opening the enemy displays will make you wonder how much of their HP you’re capable of shaving off. Dealing the finishing blow has its own satisfaction and you’ll finally be able to rest easy knowing those Prinnies did not die in vain. The harder bosses will shoot frustration levels to the extreme, promoting short breaks to ease the pain the difficulty has caused.
The game has two difficulties — a standard mode and a hell mode. The standard mode lets each Prinny take a maximum of three hits, while its hell mode reduces that number to one. The game isn’t a walk in the park; a lot of Prinnies will go down for the sake of making a dessert. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the 1,000 Prinny count depletes as you struggle to make your way through the stages.
Hell mode is intended for those seeking a serious challenge. Newbies trying out the platforming game for the first time should stay clear of this difficulty, as it’ll further add to the frustration the game will already provide. If you happen to choose the unintended difficulty at the beginning, rest easy knowing that it can be changed through a switch of a setting.
The game has its fair share of secrets. Uncovering them unlocks cool rewards and additional levels to play. The possibility of missing these hidden items is high and you can go your entire playthrough without discovering many. Taking optional routes you may not have dared to try because of the merciless difficulty can take you one step further to figuring out a piece of the puzzle. Asagi Mode is the most notable of these unlocks. It features an alternate story in which Asagi tries to overthrow your glory as the boss of each stage.
Prinny 1•2: Exploded and Reloaded will be available as a physical release for $59.99 US. In addition to the two games, the package includes a collector’s box, a fan-voted ‘Pringaea: Hours of Sleep, Dood’ reverse cover sheet design, an art book (Prinny’s Scrapbook of Memories), a one-disc official soundtrack loaded with tunes from the games, a Prinny building block set, and a 1-sided Asagi Wars EX Alpha Championship edition poster.
If you don’t want to pay a pretty penny for the bundle, or generally prefer purchasing games digitally, both games will be sold individually on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $19.99 each. The physical version’s higher price tag comes from the additional items you will receive. The amount of added content you get seems abundant for the extra you’ll have to pay.
Graphics and Soundtrack
The art style and character design closely resemble that of the Disgaea games, just as if they were in 2D. Prinny will often switch to a 3D view when using its aerial attack; this can also open up specific views that weren’t previously available to help you decide how to progress. The environments you’ll travel through may not be the best sight to be seen, but they work well enough for a budget 2D game.
The tunes played throughout the game greatly fit the underworld theme. Many Prinnies will perish and repeatedly dying at the same checkpoint without making it too far replays the same song. It can become irritating hearing the same opening song on repeat combined with the frustration of trying to advance. It’s also not always a case about knowing how to make it through an obstacle, but also how you execute your actions.
The majority of dialogue has English voice acting. Even the Prinny NPCs in the Hub Area won’t abandon the purpose of your ear. All of the voice acting in the game perfectly aligns with the characters. The Prinnies sound and feel exactly like they are in the Disgaea games. Etna’s voice mostly sounds enraged and fits the attitude she presents during her moments of screen time.
Hero Prinny even mutters several words when respawning. These words are thrown into a rotation so they never seem too repetitive. This addition gives the Prinnies more personality but can be a double-edged blade at times. Some stages in the game are known for their difficulty and your Prinnies will likely perish in the silliest of ways. Hearing their motivational pep talk after each death may slightly add to your bitterness.
Prinny 1 greatly demonstrates how hard of a life the weakest losers of the netherworld have it. There will be a lot of struggling through the low number of levels you’ll go up against and the variety of bosses that gatekeep your progression. The game encourages multiple runs by altering level designs and the bosses you’ll encounter, boosting replay value. The story can be lacking but the humor is there. The attacks aren’t innovative but the beauty of playing comes from overcoming the many obstacles stages and bosses that are thrown at you.
Prinny 1: Can I Really Be The Hero? gets a 7/10.