Prinny 2, the follow up to 2008’s epically difficult platformer Prinny: Can I Really be the Hero?, is an exercise in frustration and comic relief, but that would be the point now, wouldn’t it? Back in 2008, Nippon Ichi set out to take the prinny characters from the Disgaea titles and branch them off into their own non-RPG franchise, which ended up being a platformer. I absolutely adore platformers…most of the time. I never played the original Prinny title and was quite looking forward to this one, yet what I felt when all was said and done was a mixed bag.
I absolutely love Nippon Ichi’s sense of humor from their original titles. The Disgaea franchise, Z.H.P. – they’re all great in that department. Prinny 2 definitely follows suit, mostly because of the outrageous plot device – the entire purpose of the prinny in this game is to find Etna’s panties. She wears panties? I always pictured her as going commando, but I guess that thought has been debunked.
Yes, Etna’s panties get stolen and the hoard of prinny servants are called on to find them and return them to her – or bad things will happen. What could be worse than being sent to the afterlife as a prinny is beyond me, but apparently Etna can get pretty crazy sometimes. So, the prinny hatch a plan to find out who was perverted enough to steal Etna’s panties, and, of course, take them back.
For a PSP game, this is a rather visually stunning title. The character sprites are well drawn, as are the little anime portraits. The backgrounds are very detailed and nicely illustrated, as well, and the foreground carnage pops off the screen in and over-the-top manner that is a joy to behold. It’s pretty fun waltzing through a stage kicking butt as a penguin-like prinny. As clueless as they are, they sure know how to handle a panty-retrieving operation. I found myself smiling several times as how gorgeous the game looks. Of course, the sprite-based visuals work well on the PSP, as evidenced by many previous Nippon Ichi titles, as well as others.
The audio is spot on, as well. The voice acting is what you’d expect from NISA, but what really gets me is the dialog – perhaps combined with the inflections of the actors. That stuff just cracks me up. Not quite as much as in Z.H.P., but still enough to make me smile, even though I’m replaying a stage countless times just to get through it without a scratch.
Prinny 2 has a couple conditions to winning the game – on any difficulty. You have 1000 lives or eight hours, whichever comes first, to get through 10 stages. If you begin a stage, returning to your little base camp – which you learn about after the first tutorial stages – will consume an hour of time. It definitely behooves you to finish a stage in one fell swoop, but the difficulty sometimes just makes you want to give up. Either that, or toss your PSP across the room at Mach 24 and watch it shatter into a million pieces so you never have to worry about playing Prinny 2 again.
“Normal” difficulty, which I consider one of the lower difficulties, allows your prinny to take just three hits before dying. While it is nice that there are checkpoints throughout a stage, so you don’t necessarily have to repeat the whole thing if you die, the trial and error is still a huge factor here. You can blow 20 lives between checkpoints easy and 100 lives or more per stage (especially learning boss fights). So, you can definitely see how that 1000 lives is barely enough to get through the entire game. Checkpoints don’t much matter aside from not having to repeat the entire stage if you die, because you can still die quite a lot between them.
The thing that gets me here is the jumping, which is obviously a crucial element to any platformer. When you jump from a dead stop, you jump straight up, you can’t direct your jump when you do this. This requires you to be moving in either direction when you jump, if you want to propel yourself over an enemy to stomp down on its head, for example. So, basically your prinny has to be moving at all times to perform anything worth doing, unless you want to sit in one spot and let a patrolling enemy come to you (which might get you killed, anyway).
There is also what I’ll term a “domino effect” that happens way too frequently. Of course, this is only a problem if you’re playing on one of the easier difficulties (including Normal) and are allowed to be hit more than once, but it seems if you get hit once, you are going to get hit multiple times. Getting hit just seems to domino into running yourself into another enemy, then even another. It’s that lame knock-back effect that you get when you’re hit. This could also send you down a pit or into a dozen other traps that litter the stages. It seems like the majority of my deaths were because getting hit once just threw me off guard, and sometimes the enemies are so close together that making one mistake is akin to making multiple mistakes, all in succession. See, this was always my issue with 2D platformers of the past, as well. Not that they aren’t great games – the likes of Mega Man and such – but the consequences of making one single mistake seem to be too high sometimes, and that carries over into Prinny 2, as well.
Don’t get me wrong, the controls seem to be smooth and actually fairly easy to handle (although, still, after playing through the entire game, I have issues doing that spin attack), but that still doesn’t eliminate how punishing making a single mistake is. And, perhaps that is the point – this is supposed to be a difficult platformer. But, even on the easier difficulties the game is still fairly punishing – and therein lies my biggest issue with it. In being so punishing in the lower difficulties, it almost feels like that is put in there to somehow artificially inflate the difficulty, and you know me, I’m not too big on difficult situations put in games just for the sake of making it difficult.
Yet, that difficulty oddly, at times, leads to addiction. You do definitely get that “just one more try” feeling while playing through it, and that’s a great feeling to have. But, on numerous occasions I played a stage “just one more time” and it broke me and I shut the game off in frustration. There’s a fine line to walk between having the feeling like you can’t put the game down, and feeling like you want to never play it again, and unfortunately I think Prinny 2 crossed that line by a long shot. There is a lot of replayability here, partly because of this fact, but seriously…are you masochistic or something? Do you really want to torture yourself by playing through this title again, regardless of how great the visuals, music and voice acting is?
All that aside, I think the game is a quirky, fun title that will make you run the gamut of emotions from literally laughing out loud at the dialog, to being utterly dumbfounded at the absurdity of the plot, to wanting to throw your PSP across the room because of the bloody difficult nature of the whole thing. If you haven’t figured it out by now, this game is downright brutal. I would go so far as to say the easier difficulties are still very difficult. This isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you did enjoy that 8-bit platformer “challenge”, you will likely enjoy Prinny 2. But, above all, just remember guys (and, I mean “guys” as in the males playing this title), you’re searching for PANTIES, it can’t get any better than that, right?
- Game: Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!
- Platform Reviewed: PSP
- Developer: Nippon Ichi
- Publisher: NIS America
- Release Date: 1.11.2011
- MSRP: $29.99
- Review copy info: A copy of this title was provided to DualShockers, Inc. by the publisher for the purpose of this review.