Code of Princess is a side-scrolling action game developed by Studio Saizensen and published by Agatsuma Entertainment for the Nintendo 3DS. Monsters are attacking the kingdom and Princess Solange Blanchefleur de Luxe, equipped with a magical sword, is entrusted by her father to restore peace to the land. The game was released in Japan on April 19, 2012 and Atlus USA published the title in North America on October 9, 2012. An enhanced PC port was later released internationally by Degica Games on April 16, 2016 and eventually this version was also brought to the Nintendo Switch in the Summer of 2018 by Nicalis under the name Code of Princess EX.
The gameplay of Code of Princess is very similar to Treasure's classic brawler, Guardian Heroes. The game's levels are made up of three 2D layers between which the player characters can hop, allowing "up" on the d-pad to be used for jumping and mimicking the movement style of one-on-one fighting games. Defeating enemies gives experience points that strengthen your character and there are cooperative/competitive multiplayer modes for up to four players in local and online environments.
Each character has a weak and a strong attack, which can be chained together into combination attacks of varying length. Characters can also execute special attacks in the air and on the ground with simple down-towards, down-down, or towards-towards movements on the d-pad followed by an attack. These attacks require magic energy, which replenishes slowly over time. Juggling is also present, allowing the player to experiment to find the optimal combination of attacks that will keep the enemy helpless for the longest possible period of time.
Stages are generally broken up into "defeat all the enemies!" phases and a "defeat the boss!" phase. The vast majority of levels can be beaten in a handful of minutes (two or less). Each level is replayable should the player wish to level-up his characters. In single-player, the player will be able to replay each level with every character, effectively extending the play time required to get the most out the game (at the expense of repeating the same levels multiple times over).
In addition to experience points gained through combat, the player will also amass money and items. The player can then equip the items s/he has picked up, as well as use the money buy new ones as they become available. The items include weapons, various pieces of armor, and accessories, all of which serve to add or defend against certain elemental effects; buff stats; and add conditional improvements (e.g. greater damage against unarmored enemies). Shopping and equipping can only happen in between stages.
Code of Princess was the first original game published by Agatsuma Entertainment and a handful of notable veteran Japanese developers were contracted to created the title. Former Capcom artist Kinu Nishimura, who worked on the Street Fighter and later the Zero Escape series, designed the world and characters for Code of Princess. The game design was done by former Treasure developers HAN and Masaki Ukyo, who are both known for their work on the first Guardian Heroes. Tetsuhiko "HAN" Kikuch is credited with Code of Princess' original plan, enemy character design, and motion supervision. Masaki Ukyo worked on the game design, system programming, and player character creation.
There are four playable character in the primary story mode of Code of Princess. Additional characters are available for play in other modes.
- Solange Blanchefleur de Luxe: The princess of the land who is tasked with defeating the monsters attacking her Kingdom. Her attacks consist mainly of slower, powerful sword slashes, and her combos do relatively few hits.
- Ali-Baba: A lone thief that was once the leader of a group of bandits before being betrayed by her second-in-command. Ali is fairly quick, with combo attacks landing more hits than Solange's on average. Ali also incorporates the use of explosives while attacking, as well as special moves that has Ali darting through enemies and then delivering a finishing blow from behind.
- Allegro Nantabile Cantabile: An elf bard and trickster that fights using a guitar, primarily through loud strums. Allegro's standard combo attack will land many hits, as a single guitar strum can land multiple area-of-effect hits. Allegro can also attack by kicking or swinging his guitar, hitting enemies with the body of the instrument (as opposed to its deafening sound).
- Lady Zozo: A sorceress who turned herself undead in order to explore new forms of magic. Zozo has generally weak normal attacks but boasts beam- and wave-type special moves that keep enemies at a distance for multiple hits at a time. She can also float once airborne, keeping her off the ground for far longer after a jump than her teammates should the player wish it.