Review – Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!
Developer: NIS America
Platform: Playstation Portable (PSP)
Genre: Action Side-Scroller
Rating: T – Teen
ESRB Descriptors: Language, Mild Fantasy Violence, and Suggestive Themes
Purchase from: Amazon.com
Official Webiste: http://nisamerica.com/games/prinny2/
The Scoop: NIS serves up more of its delightfully madcap humor and challenging gameplay in this sequel to its 2009 side-scroller Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?.
The Setup: In this sequel to NIS’s Disgaea spin-off, you are once more placed in the shoes (pegged legs?) of the Netherworld’s low-man-on-the-totem-pole, the Prinny (or rather, Prinnies). In Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!, the young succubus, Master Etna, is still in charge of the Netherworld. A demon who collects rare items breaks into the castle and steals her panties, and she charges the Prinny Squad with retrieving them. Failure to do so will result in a new line of Prinny-skin undergarments made from any survivors of the Prinny Squad. However, the thief who stole the aforementioned lingerie has a rule – he only steals Rare items, and never steals from the same person twice. So, in order to lure him out, the Prinny Squad decides to obtain some Rare Items from other denizens of the Netherworld. Unfortunately for the Prinnies, most of these demons will not part very willingly with what they have.
And so begins another round of double-entendre and innuendo-laced humor and Prinny-bashing. At the start of Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!, you are given a ten hour time limit to retrieve the burgled unmentionables and one thousand Prinnies at your disposal. Now, the biggest problem with Prinnies is that they explode if tossed. Or kicked. Or punched. Basically, any sort of impact will cause the Prinnies to detonate. In order to make her troops a bit less ineffectual, Etna bestows them with a scarf that allows the Prinny wearing it to take a bit more damage before they flamboyantly expire. So, the “Hero Prinny” that you play isn’t necessarily the same character throughout the whole game, though the voice remains the same. Now, ten hours and a thousand Prinnies might sound like more than enough to get any job done, unless you’ve played the first game, or know someone who has. The earmark of these two games is their difficulty. Even the most tenacious platform-loving gamer will find this game demanding if not downright frustratingly difficult.
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! does have a few upgrades, as it were, in comparison with its predecessor. For one, the difficulty level can be adjusted between three variations – Baby Mode, Standard Mode and Hell’s Finest. Baby Mode is the “Easiest”, with three hits before expiration and extra blocks over some gaps or in places where a landing spot in only one block. The hit counters in the upper left of the screen also look like diapers. In Standard Mode, the two hits that can be withstood are represented by Prinny scarves. And in Hell’s Finest, there are NO hit counters. One shot and your Prinny is cooked. The art style used is a mix of 2D sprites and 3D environments, which has become the standard in many of NIS’s games. The sprite animations are fluid and detailed and expressive to a hilarious degree.
All in all, Prinny 2 is fun, especially to fans of 2D platforming games. However, this is no mere run’n‘slash game where speed and blindly assaulting the enemy win the day. Oh, no. You need to be aware of your surroundings, as there are some enemies that fly just at the edge of sight above you, waiting to assault with thrown weapons or bombs. And there is one level where an enemy machine fires at you FROM THE BACKGROUND. Thankfully, warning signs pop up to show where the shots will land, giving you a few precious moments to get to a clear spot. Prinny’s arsenal of moves hasn’t changed too much from the first game – he can rapid slash with his daggers from the ground, or jump and slash for ranged damage, flinging scything blades of energy at distanced foes. There is also a Hip Pound, used to activate checkpoint and action switches and to stun enemies. When stunned, the Prinny can choose to pick up and fling his victims, or merely hack them into oblivion. This strategy is especially effective in boss fights, as the bosses are not immune to this attack. Also, there is the Prinny Spin, which in normal form just serves as a charge up to Dash. If you spin too long, though, Prinny will get dizzy and be stuck in place until his head clears, leaving open to attack.
“Now hold on a moment,” you might be saying, “is that it?” Why no, it’s not! Aside from the difficulty settings, Prinny 2 has another modification – a Combo bar. This bar is filled by landing consecutive hits on enemies, though it depletes between attacks, and by eating sweets all around the level. Apparently, Prinnies are powered by violence and cheesecake. At any rate, once the bar is filled, a bolt of purple lightning hits the Prinny, who cries “Break!” as he enters – you guessed it – Break mode. In this mode, all the moves are powered up, so slashes deal more damage and the aerial slashes have increased range. The Hip Pound stuns for longer and hits harder as well, and the Prinny Spin can be used to mow down and stun enemies aside from its usual Dash charge. However, Break mode adds another attack to Prinny’s repertoire – the Prinnykaze. Entering the command in the air causes the Prinny to lunge downward and shoot along the ground, decimating anything in his path. This depletes the Combo bar completely, returning the Prinny to normal. There is also a split-second of vulnerability as the move ends, so if you are ANYWHERE near an enemy – kiss a hit counter good-bye.
Most of the boss fights are fairly straightforward – stun the boss, slash him like it’s going out of style, get away when he wakes up, rinse, repeat. As dull and easy as that may sound, it does require some work, as these Bosses aren’t about to take things lying down. Quick wits and quicker reflexes are needed to put bosses down in a timely manner. Oh, one thing that seems to have slipped by in the confusion – each level (prior to the boss) has an eight-minute time limit. Exceeding this limit before reaching the boss results in the loss of a Prinny. Don’t fret though, because if a Prinny dies, the counter resets to eight minutes, as well as for boss fights. However, losing large number of Prinnies and taking too long to finish a level will lower your end of level ranking.
Now, that I’ve laid out the basics and what I enjoyed about this game, here’s where I mention what I didn’t like. I think my biggest complaint for this game would be the controls. In most platformers, when a character is mid-air from jumping or falling, you can control the direction they are falling (or jumping in). Not so here. If you want Prinny to jump forward, you need to be moving when you hit the jump. Otherwise, he just goes straight up, then straight back down. This can make navigating small platforms or moving platforms particularly frustrating to navigate, especially if you are focused on trying to clear you landing spot of enemies or are being chased by projectiles. Whether NIS intended this as part of the game or it is merely a design flaw is hard to say, but it does put a crimp on things. As for the aforementioned projectiles (which are sometimes enemies that just leap from the ground!), the uncanny knack they have for homing in on your character, even after leaving the screen, can be just as annoying. And with the stiff jumping, they are nearly impossible to dodge if you are caught in the open.
What’s Hot: A beautiful looking mesh of 2D sprites and 3D worlds, Prinny 2 is a solid platformer with plenty of action and enough humor to keep things interesting as the hero(es) battle on to complete their quest. Attacks are easy to learn and combo, boss fights are just the right mix of challenge and ease and there are always more than enough enemies to keep Prinny’s blades sharp.
What’s Not: A somewhat boggy jump control makes platform navigation tricky at best, frustrating at worst. Also, this game is not for the easily annoyed or impatient – projectiles and enemies can be tricky to avoid, which is only added to by the dodgy jump mechanics.
Final Verdict: When you get down to it, Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! is not for the faint of heart. It is a wonderfully fun and somewhat addictive game. If you are a die-hard platform gamer with some spare time and some patience (and an appreciation for innuendo and slightly risqué humor), you will love this game. And even if you aren’t a die-hard, give it a spin. Perhaps the tenacity of these daring little powder kegs will win you over and urge you to help them complete their quest.Review - Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!,