Like most games published by Nippon Ichi Software, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? was not a game for everybody. It was hopelessly difficult, full of frustrating platforming challenges and had a very specific sense of humor. But I didn't care that it made me want to throw my PSP to the ground and stomp on it, because I loved that quirky 2009 action game. So why is it that I'm not feeling the love from Prinny2?
Ask anybody about Prinny and the first thing they'll mention is the insane difficulty. This is a hard series, full of maddening obstacles and cheap deaths. But in 2009 that is exactly what I needed. To say that modern games are too easy is an understatement, so dealing with the brutal challenge of Prinny was a breath of fresh air. This sequel carries on the tradition, but is overshadowed by other difficult platformers (including Super Meat Boy and VVVVVVV).
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! is a near carbon copy of the original, offering the same style of gameplay and level structure. You play Prinny, the adorable (yet disposable) scene stealer from the Disgaea franchise, who is on a quest to rescue the evil Etna's stolen panties. Etna fears that if somebody sniffs them, it will bring about the end of the world as we know it. Yes, you read that correctly. This set-up is just the start to a wild adventure full of funny moments and silly dialog.
Before you start writing me letters complaining that this game goes over the lines, it's worth noting that there's nothing offensive about Prinny 2. Oh sure, the set-up may sound controversial, but the whole thing is dealt with in a fun (albeit juvenile) manner. The jokes are crude and there's nothing about the game that can be described as particularly clever or witty. But, like the first game, the writing is fun and the whole thing gets so silly that it's hard not to have a good time.
Fans of the 2009 game will feel right at home with this sequel. From the start you have one thousand lives, which (in theory) should be enough to help get you to the final boss battle. You'll definitely need all the help you can get, as the game relishes the idea of being as hard as possible. From the very first level on, Prinny is confronted by frustrating platforming puzzles and annoying (often cheap) enemies. But don't let Prinny get hit more than two times or he'll explode and you're back to square one.
Thankfully each level comes with a heavy helping of checkpoints. The idea isn't to get through each stage without dying, but rather to tackle a small chunk of the level at a time until you locate the boss. This is easier said than done, especially as you near the later chapters in the game. Of course, none of this will come as a surprise to those who played through the first installment.
The fact that so much feels identical to the first game is a real problem. I was hoping for some original gameplay ideas or maybe a few more moves, but alas this feels like nothing more than an expansion pack. Worse yet, none of the levels are as interesting as those found in the 2009 original. I do love how popular Disgaea creatures show up along the way, but that's not enough to keep me from being disappointed in this ill-conceived sequel.
Prinny 2 has the makings of another great side-scrolling action game, but is marred by crummy controls and overly difficult level designs. The incredible boss battles aren't enough to keep this light-hearted sequel from being the first big disappointment of 2011!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!