I’ll get this out of the way now: Code of Princess has to be one of the most ridiculous names for -ANYTHING- ever. Not just a video game, anything. However, games like Code of Princess give me a glimmer of hope for the gaming future. In a never-ending junk pile of worst-person shooters and sports titles, there might still be hope for gamers who have an idea of what makes a good game. A side-scrolling brawler with RPG elements and a fun story, Code of Princess is a unique game in so many ways. Fans of Guardian Heroes, X-Men, and Double Dragon will enjoy it but so will folks who like the character development and customization of a role-playing game. Code of Princess has a little bit of something for everyone, unless you want to look behind the barrel of a gun to blast a generic looking enemy or you wish to catch a virtual football. In that case, you can peace out.
Goodness! I sound bitter today. Anyways, Code of Princess. Yes. That. The story is a basic one where humans and monsters live separately but peacefully. In the kingdom of DeLuxia, young princess Solange is about to be thrust into the first war against the monsters. With her kingdom falling to the monster’s army and her only hope clutched in her hand, the mighty sword DeLuxcalibur, Solange races to find help and save her once prosperous kingdom. Solange will meet some fun characters along the way that come together to create a very fun and funny story. The tale is very lighthearted, so those expecting to see some noble sacrifices or religious undertones will have to look elsewhere. The story is a good time, but the real fun lies in the combat.
Like a good side-scrolling beat ‘em up, enemies of all shapes and sizes head towards you with your destruction in their heads. Code of Princess lets you move left and right, jump, dash and hop from plane to plane. Weak attacks are performed with the B button, strong attacks are performed with the A button, and you can create combos with both. With some good button pressing, you can create some nice combos that send enemies flying across the screen or up in the air. Aerial combat, something I have always enjoyed, is very fun because certain characters can double-jump and air dash. Magic attacks consume MP, and are very useful for attacking from a distance. By attacking an enemy with the Y button, the enemy will have a target around it. Attacking these locked-on enemies will cause an increase in damage, and the added benefit of having magic attacks home in on the foe. Using the shoulder buttons, you can guard and dash around. Finally, pressing the X button will increase your power substantially but drain your MP at a rapid pace. Magic can get restored by standing still and attacking foes over and over again. Health restoration can be a bit more tricky because the only way to gain more health is when enemies or destructible objects drop some food.
These are the abilities that all characters have, but each character’s different styles are what make Code of Princess so fun. Sure, Solange is the main character and her giant sword has advantages, but she lacks the agility of Ali or the crowd control ability of Allegro. During the campaign, you can only select from four characters to control. This is a minor downside because Solange meets some allies that all have unique styles. However, in the various bonus missions and free-play missions, you have a much wider selection of characters. Everyone will find someone they click best with, so experimentation is the key. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the witty thief Ali and her speedy trickery. All in all, combat is an absolute blast, but there is one shortcoming: there are times that the controls don’t feel as responsive as they should. For a game as fast-paced as Code of Princess, controls need to be exact.
When a stage ends, you’ll gain experience and money. Characters will level up when they gain enough experience points. With a level up comes the chance to use bonus points to distribute to the character’s various stats. These included attack, defense, speed and magic. Some other stats are vitality and piety. Vitality effects your maximum HP and your piety effects your maximum MP. Also, you’ll have a chance to shop for new items and equipment. All characters can equip a variety of weapon enhancements, armor, helmets, and bracers. There are many things to find and buy throughout Code of Princess, so it’s a good thing money is rarely a problem.
While Code of Princess is a simple game in theory, it shows off some complexity in terms of appearance. Aside from some impressive animated movies, Code of Princess looks great in either 2D or 3D. For the first time since I had my 3DS, I finally have no problem with a game being in 3D. The various planes on the battlefield really pop when the 3D is turned on, however the game shines just as great with it turned off. Solange and her crew will fight a plethora of unique monsters in a variety of environments. There were a few times when the screen got a bit too cluttered and it caused some slowdown, but it happened to me only a few times. The music in Code of Princess doesn’t have much worth mentioning, but I will say the few tracks in the game are done well. Anime enthusiasts will be excited to see that Laura Bailey has lent her talents for the role of Solange, and she is joined by a cast of other notable voice actors and actresses.
So, what gives? Clearly, Code of Princess has a lot going for it but it was not given a prestigious 10/10 nor a less-but-still-impressive 9/10. Aside from the screen clutter and the controls, Code of Princess isn’t very long. While there are multiple extras like bonus missions and the ability to play with friends, the main campaign feels too short for such a seemingly grand adventure. Usually, with shorter games, I prefer to wait until they go down in price before purchasing them. Since Code of Princess is likely to become rare in the future, you’re better off seeking it out now before its price skyrockets to even more than it is now. I know that a new game is pricey, but if you want to play it you might as well snatch it up while you can despite the short length. Granted, replaying levels with the various characters is fun but it doesn’t add to the main quest. All of that aside, Code of Princess is still a very fun game and absolutely worth playing. Combining girl power, big swords, RPG elements and endearing characters into an action-packed beat ‘em up game, Code of Princess shows that there is still plenty of creativity in the gaming industry. The game has a silly name, but once you overlook that and a few other flaws, you are left with a frenetic adventure that is perfect for gaming sessions both long and short.