Princess Debut is a rhythm and dating sim otome game developed by Cave and published by Natsume. It was released on June 17, 2008 in Japan and on September 30, 2008 in the US. The game puts you in control of a young girl named Sabrina who steps through a magical portal and ends up in a fairy tale world with talking animals where she's now a princess. You have 30 days to get ready for the big ball, and will have to pick a partner from six dashing princes and master a variety of dance styles during that time. Once you have convinced a prince to be your partner in the adventure portion of the game, you can take them to the dance floor where the rhythm gameplay comes in. Similar to Ouendan, differently shaped strokes appear on screen that you will have to follow with your stylus. The game has a total of 14 possible endings, giving it lots of replay value. You are also able to unlock up to 20 outfits for Sabrina to wear.
The player takes on the role of a young girl named Sabrina who is bored of her ordinary life and who wishes to be a princess. One night a princess and her servant from a parallel world come to Sabrina's house through a magical portal that opens in her room. The Princess, who looks exactly like Sabrina, offers her the chance to take her place for the ball that is to be held in thirty days in Saint Lyon; the princess herself wishes to back out because she is a terrible dancer. Sabrina accepts her offer and enters the portal, where she begins to lead the princess's life as the princess lives her own. It doesn't take Sabrina long to realize that many of the residents of the princess's world resemble people she knows from her own.
Sabrina is walking home with a class mate named Catherine, discussing the boys in their class and comparing them to princes. After a while Sabrina and Catherine split ways and Sabrina heads for home. Once she gets home, however, a strange small flying creature with pink glasses resembling a mouse appears, accompanied by a young girl looking identical to Sabrina pop out of a portal in Sabrina's closet. The little flying creature refers to the young girl as the Princess, and they seem to be happy that they made it to the "other world" in one piece. The princess introduces herself as Sabrina and the flying creature as Kip Hamoon Stallon the 777th. They explain you that they are from a parallel world "just beyond the closet" and that they come through the portal in search for a girl looking just like the Princess to replace her at an annual ball that is to be held in 30 days. The ball is called the "Ball in Saint-Lyon." The princess was supposed to attend it, but she can't dance and decided to run away. Kip offers Sabrina to come to their world where she can live as a princess. After hesitating somewhat, Sabrina accepts their offer, and follows Kip through the portal, leaving the real princess behind in her world. However, before leaving, the princess tells you to not touch the Emerald Necklace in her room under no circumstance. On the other side of the portal, Sabrina finds herself in a beautiful fairy tale like world filled with flowers, castles, and talking animals. She doesn't have much time to appreciate the view, however, since the maids quickly enter her room and tell her to hurry and dress up for a dinner party that is to be held at the Waltz Castle.
Sabrina can't take it any more and ask Kip to take her home to her own world, but Kip tells her that in order to do so, she'll need the key to open the portal, which the real princess has with her in Sabrina's world. Having no other option, Sabrina decides to make the best of it and heads for the dinner party. At the dinner party she meets up with four princes, Prince Vince, Prince Cesar, Prince Luciano and Prince Klaus, whose appearances all bear an uncanny resemblance to the boys at her school.
The next day, Kip tells Sabrina to meet up with Tony Rabbit, her new dance instructor. From this point on it, the plot proceeds depending on the player's actions as Sabrina.
Princess Debut at its core is structured like a traditional dating sim. Depending on the day and the location, you'll encounter different NPCs to interact with, and most of the time you'll be able to choose from a dialogue tree how to interact with them. What makes Princess Debut unique is that in order to seduce one of the princes to come with you to the ball at Saint Lyon, you'll have to dance with them; the better you execute a dance, the more their love rating will go up. However, dancing costs stamina, and you only have a certain amount of stamina a day, so once your stamina runs out, you'll be unable to dance; thus you'll have to choose who if you would like to accept or not to dance with the different princes you encounter. Once you run out of stamina, your only option is to go to your room and to sleep until the next day to regain your stamina. When you dance with a prince, you also gain experience that will allow you to level up and gain up to 5 stamina units so that you'll be able to dance more dances in one day. By leveling up you also gain "technique" and "artistry" plus by leveling up you learn/unlock new dances.
The dance mechanics in Princess Debut seems similar to Ouendan at first glance, but is actually quite different and generally easier. When the characters are dancing, the touch screen will display strokes that you will have to trace with your stylus. These strokes correspond directly to the variety of dance moves the characters will preform; the more complicated the move, the more complicated the stroke will be. Along this stroke, there will also be a rolling ball that you can follow; however, unlike in similar rhythm games like Ouendan, you aren't 't forced to follow the rolling ball, and simply have to trace the stroke before the ball reaches the end and a new stroke appears, making the game easier and more suited for its intended audience. If you opt to follow the ball anyway, you will be rewarded with bonus points. The top screen also displays the upcoming two strokes so you can prepare for them in advance. If you move your stylus outside of the stroke or don't complete it in time, you fail that particular dance move. Every new dance stroke starts at the end of where the last one ended, so you don't need to lift your stylus from the screen whilst you're dancing. However in a more advanced stage of the game you can gain more points by putting you stylus on the ball at a precise timing more in the vein of Ouendan. The game also has a combo system that tracks how many strokes you successfully perform.
Play through the game's 30 days to unlock accessories and try to achieve one of the 14 endings.
In ballroom mode you have to dance 5 songs from either the standard or the salsa selection of songs in a row and score above a minimum number of points, if you get less then the minimum you'll have to start over from the beginning. Beating ballroom mode grants you songs and outfits.
Movie mode is one of the more unique modes in Princess Debut. At first glance it is just a mode where you can choose (from the content you have unlocked in Story Mode) with whom, where, on what music, and with what dress you want your main character to dance. Once all this is chosen you can enjoy the dancing sequence without actually having to play the game while being able to freely rotate the camera, zoom in and out, play the sequence in slowmotion and make it play on repeat.
The unique thing about this mode is that there is also a option named "Steps". When activated the actual footwork of the dance being danced will be displayed allowing the player to learn the moves for ones self at a desired speed by pausing and using slowmotion.
Play any dance you've unlocked without losing mid game.
New Game Plus
A New Game Plus mode is unlocked upon beating the game for the first time. This mode allows the player to skip most of the epilogue and the initial training sequence. Also in New Game Plus, the sixth prince, Prince Keifer Bergmann, will appear in the story. Furthermore, New Game Plus uses the second, harder song list (ex: instead of beginning with the song "Nocturne" the game begins with "The Swan" and so on).
There are three areas in Princess Debut each with several locations.
The Castle Area
The City Area
The Forest Area
The soundtrack in Princess Debut is a mix of original pieces and classical songs rearranged to fit a certain musical genre.
- "Nocturne" As inspired by Frédéric Chopin (Easy)
- "The Swan" (Easy)
- "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" as inspired by Wofgang Amadeus Mozart (Medium)
- "Military March" (Medium)
- "When the saints go marching in" made famous by Louis Armstrong (Easy)
- "The Entertainer" as inspired by Scott Joplin (Easy)
- "American Patrol" as inspired by F.W. Meacham (Hard)
- "J'ai perdu le do (de ma clarinette)" (Hard)
- "Voices of Spring" as inspired by Johann Strauss II (Hard)
- "Waltz of the Flowers" as inspired by Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski (Hard)
- "Swan Lake" as inspired by Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski (Easy)
- "Polovetsian Dances" as inspired by Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin (Easy)
- "Minuet" as inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach (Medium)
- "The Dances of the Hours" as inspired by Amilcare Ponchielli (Medium)
- "Carmen" as inspired by Georges Bizet (Medium)
- "Under the Double Eagle" as inspired by Josef Wagner (Medium)
- "Funiculi funicula" as inspired by Luigi Denza (Hard)
- " Danny Boy " made famous by Frederick Edward Weatherly (Hard)
- "Turkish March" as inspired by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Hard)
- "Tico Tico" as inspired by Zequinha de Abreu (Hard)
The "Debut" in Princess Debut refers to "balle des débutantes" which is French for "Beginner's Ball". These "beginner's balls" were created so that young nobility would meet up among each other and eventually develop a relationship.
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