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Make Them Eat Cake

fp_logoFat Princess is easily one of the biggest games to hit the PlayStation Network since the launch of the PS3’s downloadable service, and that’s not just because it’s been loading on the carbs. There’s been quite a bit of buzz generated about this game since its announcement, and having played it, it’s clear to see why, as it’s one of the easiest to play strategy games, and most addictive, to hit the home consoles in years.

With a Medieval-style theme, the goal of Fat Princess is simple: there are two teams, one wearing red tunics and the other wearing blue, each with their own similarly-coloured princess. The goal of the game varies depending on whether you play single-player or on-line multi-player, but both are similar: you must protect your own princess (whether that means keeping her safely ensconced in the throne room of your castle or rescuing her from your enemies) while also capturing the enemy princess and transporting her to your castle. It’s a simple enough task, but for the fact that you can feed the enemy princess cake. Predictably enough, that makes her fat, and more difficult to carry away, which can seriously mess up your plans.

fat-princess-24a311658009f8The beauty of the gameplay in Fat Princess is that it’s quite fluid and flexible, even mid-game: controlling one of the princess’ subject, your character can don one of several hats at machines around the castle, or dropped by felled warriors on the battlefield. Each of these hats gives the player several abilities, changing them into one of five classes in the game, including a mage, priest, warrior, worker and ranger. In the multi-player game, there are 32 players, 16 on each team, with no restirctions on class (want a team full of warriors? Go for it!); for the single player game, the other characters are controlled by AI. What your character can do really depends on what hat you’re wearing, and the game places an emphasis on teamwork and co-operative gameplay: the priest class, in particular, exists solely to restore health to team-mates or, by switching modes with the triangle button, become a dark-mage who drains the energy from enemies. Other classes can also be switched, like changing the mage’s speciality from ice to fire, so it’s a good idea to make sure that you have a well-rounded team before setting off on your assault on the enemy castle. But if you’re unsuccessful and meet death instead, you’ll just respawn back at the castle, where you can choose another hat and try again. For single-player, respawns are limited, but the multi-player game continues until one side is a clear winner.

The game has a simple, dungeon-crawler structure and feel to it, with a not-quite-top-down view and some sprawling multi-tiered levels. What seems like a dead end will often lead to a drop or jump that will provide a back entrance into a castle, maybe even helping your character out. There’s a cutesy look to the graphics and layout of the game, with much of the colours and design looking somewhat like a bloodier take on Animal Crossing. And there is a lot of blood!

fat-princess-24a311658009f8Despite the animated look, you can’t deny that Fat Princess is a bloody game. It’s comic violence though, and when characters die, they leave their hat and a colourful splash of blood on the landscape. There’s no dismemberment or something for parents to worry about, but it’s one of many obvious hints that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously (it’s called Fat Princess after all!) The game’s also loaded with in-jokes that gamers (or anyone who spends too much time on-line) will get: the single-player game implies that you’ll spend the time playing with yourself, and there’s even some narration informing you that “they’re in your base, stealing your princess” (and just waiting for the addition of a lolcat.)

With both the single-player and multiplayer options, it’s just a little bit too easy to get engrossed in Fat Princess, and although it’s only been on the PSN for a few days, we’ve already lost most of a bank holiday weekend. The nature of the game means it isn’t for everyone: if you’ve grown up playing Command & Conquer or even the aforementioned Animal Crossing, you’ll get into this game very easily. But let’s face it, there’s also some people that would just rather sit playing first-person shooters all day and don’t like taking the time to think about who they’re going to shoot next…unfortunately, there really is no accounting for taste and the whole strategy aspect of Fat Princess may just pass them by.

Zombie Rating: A-

Fat Princess is available for download now through PSN.

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