Kidnap the princess. The sometimes fat, sometimes thin princess. Fat Princess is a new take on the multiplayer favorite, capture the flag. With cake.
Developed by Titan Studios, the emphasis is team-based multiplayer — something that seems perfect fodder for a downloadable title like Fat Princess. There are five classes (mage, warrior, worker, archer and priest), and, ideally, players work together for the good of the group as they play through the game's various online modes in 16 vs. 16 matches. While the game even offers extras like a gladiator mode where players slay a stream of enemies in an arena, the core mechanic is capturing the princess. The twist is that players can feed the princess cake to make her fat and difficult to carry. And who doesn't love cake?
But is Fat Princess a delectable desert or just empty calories?
Delicious Presentation: Fat Princess is pure, delicious eye candy. The cute character design is adorable — something that is only heightened when blood and bodies splatter about. And the basic concept of capturing a flag that can be fattened up with cake? Love it.
So Filling: Five classes (with upgrades) does offer deep gameplay. The classes are job specific, but those jobs — most notably the worker who can throw bombs — offer some satisfying upgrades. Class specific jobs do, at the game's best, promote team work, and there is something satisfying about that. There are some balance issues. For example, it is hard sometimes to get everyone working for the good of the team, but when Fat Princess works, it's great.
Single player For a game that attempts to offer so much with multiplayer and has the lofty hopes of 16 players working together as a team, the single player did nothing but leave a bad taste in our mouths. Your teammate bots are often useless, and you find yourself not playing as a team, but trying to sneak past your rival bots to capture the princess. Some of the single player chapters are prone to gridlock, and the games can drag on for nearly an hour. It's clear that much attention was paid to the game's visual style; however, that same attention doesn't seem like it was showered on the single player experience. Each episode (or chapter) begins with a cute storybook story — which then often has little or no connection to the gameplay that follows it. (I thought we were supposed to sneak under the cover of darkness? That's what the story said. Why is it daytime now?)
Fat Princess is an ambitious PSN title that's attempting to revamp capture the flag gameplay in a new and inventive package. But, you can't help wondering if Titan Studios' eyes were bigger than its stomach. Do we really need all these extra gameplay modes and even all these maps? You've got to admire the developer for trying to deliver value-for-money, even if the end result sometimes lacks focus and even discipline.
We'd love to dine with Fat Princess again. Though, instead of a million different appetizers, we'd rather have a meal that sticks — even if it's a slice of cake.
Fat Princess was developed by Titan Studios, released on July 30 for the PlayStation Network. Retails for US$15. Played single player and multiplayer for between 8 and 10 hours.
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