Giant Bomb Review

37 Comments

Fat Princess Review

4
  • PS3N

The madcap cartoon warfare in this team-based online game is a lot of fun, provided your team knows how to work together.


Can't you little cartoon people just learn to get along?
In the grand tradition of games like The Wind Waker and Ninjatown, Fat Princess is another one of those kiddy-looking games made for serious game players. It takes a lot of first-person shooter tropes like large teams, player classes, flag captures, and seizable control points and drops them into a silly but ultra-violent cartoon world played from the overhead perspective. There's a lot more to the gameplay here than the cartoony art style might indicate, which is so common these days it's practically a cliché.

Speaking of clichés, Fat Princess initially had significant issues with connectivity and lag, just like a lot of other high profile online games lately. It took about a week for developer Titan Studios to issue a patch that, fortunately, has made it much easier to get into online games--and smoother to play once you join them. If you've been waiting for the online issues to clear up before jumping in, they've cleared up. Now the only barrier to having fun in Fat Princess is making sure your teamwork is up to snuff.

There's a lot of things happening in a typical Fat Princess match. The game uses a basic capture-the-flag framework, except the flag you're capturing is actually your kidnapped princess being held in the enemy's base. But you're also holding their princess hostage, and you can stuff her face with cake to fatten her up and make her harder for the enemy forces to carry back to their base--assuming they can breach yours in the first place. Each side's base is well-fortified with walls and other defenses, so just getting in there is a task in itself.

There's a great variety of nice-looking maps in here. 
There are five character classes--warrior, ranger, priest, mage, and worker--each with one upgrade level that increases that class's offensive abilities. The worker is also responsible for collecting wood and stone resources that you'll need to upgrade your classes and also build special structures. For instance, there's a catapult you can build inside your own base that will launch several teammates across the map, and ladders you can quickly construct that will let you quickly scale the walls of your enemy's base. These additions contribute heavily to your team's mobility and chances of winning.

You can dump gathered resources into any of multiple outposts on each map, but only if your team holds a given outpost. So there's a level of strategy not just in deciding which upgrades and structures to spend your own resources on, but also in trying to hold the right outposts to deny the other team the crucial resources they need to build their own add-ons and upgrades. Keeping the upper hand on that front can make a big difference to your chances of victory, and luckily, after over a week of release, the player base in my experience is learning the value of such strategic moves.

If the flow of Fat Princess' matches is pretty tactical, the in-your-face combat is anything but. The game has a 16-versus-16 player limit, and that makes for a lot of little cartoon dudes and dudettes frantically flailing at each other on your screen. Throw in buckets of animated blood and flashy area-of-effect magic spells and it can be a little tough to keep up with where your own character is and what's happening at all times. The game is almost too chaotic for its own good, but you'll likely become skilled enough with the lock-on, strafing, and charge attack abilities to get a handle on the fighting after a few sessions. The fighting classes each fill different necessary roles--melee and ranged attacking, simple crowd control, and healing--and you'll probably want to get good at using all of them, since your team will need every class at one time or another in a given match.

Controlling resources is a big part of winning matches. 
For $15, Fat Princess is nicely stocked with content. Most importantly, the game has a solid collection of nine regular maps with varied layouts and distinctly different art styles. There's a tropical map where your base is a pirate ship run ashore, and a rocky volcanic map where lava rises periodically to cut off access to certain resources. The game looks absolutely fantastic, too; it combines cel-shading with an exaggerated style of animation to produce an effect that's strikingly like a really well-made cartoon.
 
The core and best part of the game is the CTF-style princess-grabbing mode, but you can also play reduced rule sets like a conquest mode and simple team deathmatch on them as well. There's even a marginally entertaining soccer-field map that lets you play a version of the sport with all the player classes mixed in, as well as offline modes that give you a very basic story-mode-slash-tutorial and a series of gladiator-style arena challenges for each class. Finally, you can unlock a stack of new colors and hairstyles to customize your cartoony little combatant as you rank up in the online mode. There are hooks built into the game for future DLC, but the basic package feels like a good value already.

Despite its early growing pains, Fat Princess manages to walk a pretty straight path between frenzied combat and larger-scale tactics. It's a unique take on team-based multiplayer with a lot of personality and charm--and, with any luck, a lot of staying power on the PlayStation Network.    
37 Comments
Posted by gingertastic_10

I love this game. I have gotten into some great fights. Good review.

Posted by Double0hFor

if only i had a PS3 :(

Posted by Legend

This might be worth a buy.

Posted by TestamentUK

Good review, pretty much sums up my opinion of the game. One thing to note though is that last time I checked the patch was still not live in the UK (and presumably the rest of Europe). The estimated release for that here is 'some time this week'.

Posted by Kohe321

Great review! I'm going to buy this.

Posted by DerekDanahy

Good review Brad.

Posted by Manachild
@TestamentUK:  
Yep i think thats definatly the case, its not live in australia yet either. And i think sony counts all of the pal region into account with that stuff so i'd imagine thats why.
Posted by DragoonKain1687

The Football mini game is amazing with friends xD

Posted by egads

I dont see how this game could possibly receive a 4.  Not only was online broken at launch, but the game wasn't even tested properly.  Here is a selection of the fixes for the first patch:

  • Ice Mage and Dark Priest AoE scoring has been adjusted from 10 points to 2 points per enemy affected.
  • Non-worker resource return has been reduced from 20 points to 10 points.
  • Feeding the princess has been reduced from 20 points to 15 points.
  • Castle door hit points have been reduced slightly from 30 to 25.
  • The Princess’ calorie burn has been increased at weight stage 2, 3, and 4.  Calorie burn was previously 2 per second at all stages.  Stage 2 is now 4 per second, stage 3 is 8 per second, and stage 4 is 12 per second.

Here are the problems that Titan listed as requiring patching:
  • AoE Scoring Exploits
  • Stalemates
  • Missing Princess (on certain levels)
  • Dead Hat Machines
  • Scoreboard Issues (only top 1000 scores shown)
  • Ranking System Problems
 
So, if you didnt notice, most of the problems have not been addressed (but even though some are, why did they happen in the first place?).  Specifically, reports are coming in from all over that if you are on an experienced team and playing against an experienced team, it is almost impossible for anyone to win (the stalemate problem they mention).  This is what we call a broken game, and, as the above list notes, Titan realizes this.  More reasons this game is broken: the ability of hosts to drop without punishment so they rank quicker and the ability to switch to winning teams manually, leaving the adversary with a bunch of Ai which invariably leads to losing (both of which come straight from Titan's website).  So, basically, you are paying to be Titan's game testers.  Im sorry Brad, but you clearly have not played this game enough.
Posted by eznark

I'm playing with friends using headsets egads and I've got about 14 hours in.  The game is an absolute blast. 

Posted by LtColJaxson
@egads said:
" I dont see how this game could possibly receive a 4.  Not only was online broken at launch, but the game wasn't even tested properly.  Here is a selection of the fixes for the first patch:
  Im sorry Brad, but you clearly have not played this game enough. "
 I'm sorry, but you clearly do not understand the point of a review. It is someone's opinion that is not yours. Most of the things you listed are minor problems, things that can be easily updated in patches.
 
Most games have problems right from launch, and this is no different. However the minor glitches that are present can usually be fixed quickly from feedback, so it is unfair to review a game lower just because of these problems. Games should be rated lower if the actually gameplay sucks and is not a matter of it being glitchy, but rather that it is poorly designed and just not fun.
Posted by killdave

Like most recent Arcade games, its good for 15mins and then you'll forget about it.
 
Sadly this arcade title only held my attention for 10mins ...

Posted by Pkshields

I wish I could live this game, but I haven't been able to get into a stable match at all, and the patch isn't even out in Europe yet. The unbalanced classes and stalemates on single player makes it frustrating to even play with the dumb bots.
I love the premise of this game, and even the game itself most of the time, but the pure frustration makes it almost unplayable sometimes. Hope that patch comes out here soon. Maybe the online is better, then it is worth the 4 star review.
 
 
This comment looks too skewed for that last sentence, but even with the problems, it is worth picking up.

Posted by RHCPfan24

Cool review, Brad. I am honestly not as drawn into getting this game as I was with Trash Panic or Flower. I might pass for the time being.

Edited by Crono

This game is worth the price, you will get more out of this game over time than you will most stand alone titles you buy at full retail.  It is an excellent value for an excellent game.  It is nearly good enough to be a 5-star game IMO, but the review was rather spot on either way you look at it.  Basically it comes down to this:  If you enjoy competitive multiplayer games, then you will enjoy Fat Princess,  if you like single player games, and enjoy "Playing with yourself" as the game puts it, then this is not for you in any shape or form.

Posted by Alex_V

I'm having a very good time with the game. Whatever its faults, it is 'different', and that is a quality that I don't think gamers treasure enough. I would rather play this than 100 bland multiplayer FPSs. In fact I am doing :)

Posted by egads
@LtColJaxson: RE: "Most games have problems from launch."  What in god's name are you talking about?  It is only within the last couple years that developers even had the ABILITY to patch games on consoles.  Moreover, most games are NOT released with game breaking features, and if they are, they are given bad reviews.  
 
Have you ever seen a Nintendo game released that requires significant patches before it works properly?  Sure, they are a big developer, but think of other arcade games that came out recently, Splosion Man, Shatter, Battlefield 1943.  None of these games needed extensive patching before they were playable, and certainly none of the patches that were implemented were for unbalanced gameplay.  Take another game that WAS patched, L4D, which may be evidence for your claim that "most games require patching".  But if you look at what was patched, it was elements in the game that the developers could not have foreseen, like invisible platform jumping and "closeting" problems, not game breaking balancing issues.   
 
I think that the hype of this game and its art style have blinded people to its obvious flaws.  It is a great concept, but it is implemented very poorly. 
Posted by DragoonKain1687
@egads: How about the Tomb Raider edition for the Wii. 
So, why dont you go slowly back to your wii, and start playing some crappy Conduit matches online -.-
Posted by Insti2tionalized

Great review. I have this game and it's killing me that I haven't had time to play it.

Posted by egads
@DragoonKain1687: Great work.  Not only did you fail to realize that one example of a game requiring a patch post-release is insignificant given my point, but you picked an awful game that received poor reviews and is from Eidos.  As I said, if games are released that require patching, they (generally) receive bad reviews, Tomb Raider is evidence of this.  And, I asked whether Nintendo had released games that require patching, not Eidos.  So why dont you go back to huffing glue or whatever it is you did that made you such an idiot, the measly amount of brain cells you have left aren't worth anything anyway.
Posted by Damian
@egads
I see your point about paying to be a BETA tester. And that kinda burns my ass (even though I will probably never own this game).
But I think you're being unfair, still. First, this review is out after connection issues have been dealt with (within the area this review was written, of course), and that allowed Brad (by the only standards he knows ... his own) to properly judge the game. He only sees what everyone else does. And from what I see most everyone else agrees, so he seems to have his thumb on the pulse on that front. 
As for the rest, well, it's all his opinion, and can't really be argued. 
If you think he wrote the review too early still, as you feel it's still an unfinished product, actually, I would be tempted to agree. But if dude's having 4 stars worth of fun with a title ... what can ya do?
Posted by fox01313

Game looks awesome, needs a pc or xbox 360 release though to be beyond awesome.
Posted by egads
@Damian: Ya, I mean, that's fair.  But, like I said, I just dont think that, given how many people have complained about balancing issues and stalemates, that Brad played the game long enough.  I mean, if he had 4 stars AND commented on the problems, that would be fine, but it just seems kind of lazy not to even address them.
Posted by spankingaddict

why dont they ever give games a 3 and a half or 4 and a half......

Posted by DarkKitchen

I want this on xbox so bad

Posted by Damian
@egads: I'll take your word for it. I probably wouldn't notice those issues myself as I'm not that experienced with competitive multiplayer. But I'm saving that cash for Trine, anyway. Hopefully the delays there mean they get it right the first time!
Edited by DragoonKain1687
@egads: Soo, what about the multiple bugs in Gears of War online? Or the multiple bugs in games as Assassins Creed (last I checked it scored well over 8 and needed a really big patch due to hangings).
Infamous? Last I checked, you can fall from the floor.
Or how about Oblivion and Fallout 3, you find a glitch every 2 steps, specially on the PS3 version of Fallout 3.
 
And lets not mention the first S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Critically, it received great scores, and technically? Well, lets say that once every 2 boots, you would have the game crash your system. 
 
You clearly dont have any idea of what you are talking about. But nice try, get a little look outside, last I checked, it was still summer in the USA.
Once you can answer me back, you can come back kiddo.
 
PD: How about the stupid online in SSBB?? Huh? You dont even know if you are even fighting a real guy until you finish the round and check your stats. The online in 99% of Wii games is just non-existant due to stupid community design.
Posted by DannyJ

I think a 4's pretty good, like they said most of your fun depends on having a good team. This is alot like Team Fortress 2, which I consider one of the best PC games currently. If you have a crappy team, you hate it, but when your team knows what they're doing it's a ton of fun (especially when both teams know what they're doing). The 5th star depends on this in my opinion. Some games it's there, others not so much.

Posted by egads
@DragoonKain1687: As I said, these are glitches, not game breaking balance issues.  If I had a problem with glitches, I would post a tirade about every game. Furthermore, for some games, even glitches are warranted.  Oblivion and Fallout 3 are vast open world games, so it is no wonder that with miles and miles of 3D environments to build, designers are going to miss something (I mean, the ambition of a game like Fallout 3 is phenomenal, and should obviously be taken into consideration).  But, as I said, not game breaking issues.  As for Assassin's Creed, it was a nice tech demo, but that is about it.  Releasing a game that has you redo the same shit over and over again, to the point where the game is an 1 hour loop should disqualify it from getting a top score.  I know it was rated decently, but maybe some people enjoy mind-numbing boredom.

GoW online was busted, but of course GoW isn't going to get low scores (and, it isnt a balance issue, the gameplay was fine).  And, besides, there is no way to "test" whether your servers are going to be able to handle the load, or if your network code will work with millions of people signing on simultaneously.  But making some matches a battle of attrition like in FP?  Ya, you can test that.
 
Here come some ad hominem attacks because for some reason you can't speak respectfully to people. 
 
Last I heard, posting 371 images on a site that shows your anime nerdom for zero money is embarassing, regardless of whether or not its summer.  And anyone (its you, by the way, who wrote this shit and posted it on the site) who writes the following non-sensical trash should have their head checked for trauma:
 
"Times change, time makes thing change, evolve, get destroyed, moved. As the time moves on, some places stop being what they used to be, and they go in 2 different ways. They either evolve into a much better place, or they devolve, into a mere shadow of their former self. (I love that phrase from Resident Evil).  As time advanced, a place that many of us shared in common was lost. First it lost its credibility with dubious articles, comments and reviews, then it started losing its staff in shady moves. Finally, it started to loose its community. I remember how users of such site abandoned ship on one fateful day, running faster than whores from a cabaret on fire. "
 
How could time "make things get destroyed"?  That makes no fucking sense.  Bombs destroy shit, hammers destroy shit, rust destroys shit, have you ever seen time destroy anything?  And it is obviously false that the only two things a place can change into is an evolution of what it was (whatever the fuck it means to say that a place "evolves". Animals evolve, places? Not so much.), or a shadow of what they were.  They could stay the same, or change just a bit.  It is a predilection of the intellectually stunted to think that everything is a fucking epic dichotomy.  And "whores from a cabaret fire"?  Could you have thought of a more obtuse, sexist metaphor?
 
Stop being such a condescending asshole and I'll stop humiliating you.
Posted by thecleric
@spankingaddict: 
 
because it's 1/5, not 1/10, half would make it two.
 
The 5 system works, don't change it.
Posted by Ironknight
@egads: The game isn't as broken as your trying to make it seem also battlefield did have major problems at launch with getting into games but no one gave it a bad score based on connection issues. Fat Princess is a great game no its not perfect but the game is fairly balanced once you know what your doing also you shouldn't be so disrespectful to the other commenters .
Posted by egads
@Ironknight: I would have been respectful of him/her, if she/he had been at the start.  It seems that every time I post something, some asshole comes along and instead of engaging in a respectful debate, attacks me for no other reason than because I disagree with them.  I am starting to get sick of it, and unfortunately dragoon happened to insult me on a day when I was at my wit's end.
Edited by Media_Master

Looks neat but I have to pass since I have a cap on my internet                                    

Posted by Th3_James

man, i'm loving the aesthetic look of this game. If i get this then my ps3 will get some use, it's been awhile since i have actually sat down and played something on my ps3, infamous was the last game i played on it

Posted by caryrabbit

I'm loving the game when i am able to get into one. The stalemates are getting annoying, if anyone wants to form a Giant bomb clan send me a message.  All my friends own only 360 so its kind of lame having to play with a bunch of random noobs.

Posted by kagekage
@egads: I've read plently of reviews from this game, and none of them actually mention the problems you've listed above, except the network issues, but that's about it.