Fans of the Disgaea series might recognize these cuddly flightless demons as prinnies in a minor role but this time, they get the spotlight in a side-scrolling platformer. All the typical prinny hijinks in an inane adventure that will appeal to new fans as well as seasoned veterans of the series. So, how many prinnies will you burn through?
While fans of Disgaea may be shocked at the change from the main series, it is a welcome change for newcomers like myself. Tactical RPGs often have enthusiastic fan bases that will defend their favorite series with a fervor that other genres just don’t, so they may turn their nose up at a goody platformer full of demonic penguin cannon-fodder but both games were quite enjoyable to play.
First and foremost, both entries are essentially identical. They share enemies, combat systems and even flaws. Combat consists of a mixture of Super Mario bonk-your-enemy-on-the-head strategy with the endless hacking of all too many forgettable indie games and while it is a little dreary against normal enemies, the boss battles are actually quite fun.
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Sadly, the platforming aspect is a bit annoying: jumps are so imprecise and clunky that you’ll find yourself with many questionable deaths because you’ll double jump over the next platform and be unable to adjust in midair like in most platformers. This is a small thing but it was an annoyance throughout the entire experience.
The levels are pretty run of the mill for the most part, and entirely linear. There are some additions in Prinny 2 that successfully shake things up a bit, but overall these games are average in terms of level design. There are some annoying points in the game where enemies will get in your way and you’ll die because of the way prinnies react to being hit. Filling platforms with stationary enemies makes for some annoying areas.
Story / Personality
The story for Prinny and Prinny 2 reminds me a lot of Kirby games: something small and insignificant has been stolen (cake and panties respectively) and the titular prinnies must retrieve it at all costs. I’m a bit relieved they didn’t try to overwhelm what is at heart a casual spin-off with some Miltonian mind numbing narrative. This game is about explosive penguins that say “dood” in every sentence and have a Minion-esque charm about them – and that’s really all they need.
Graphics / Art Direction
The graphics make some wonderful choices. The majority of the stages are ugly 3D blocks arranged just so and believe it or not, that’s a good thing because the sprites are beautifully done and dynamic. Instead of focusing on some bell and whistle background, they give the prinnies the attention they deserve. They are adorable and emote hilariously.
Final Score: 60%
Prinny and Prinny 2 have all the makings of a cult classic: hit and miss gameplay in a wonderfully quirky package. Fans of the original series may be alienated but if cute and funny beta-protagonists is enough to amass two sequels and a spin-off for Despicable Me, I can see an audience for these flawed yet enjoyable games.
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