Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero?, or Prinny: Is It Okay If I'm The Main Character, Dood? in Japan, is a spin-off title from the Disgaea series. Noted for it's sense of humor and punishing difficulty, It has been billed as an "ultimate hardcore action" game by it's developer, Nippon Ichi.
Prinnies are servants, i.e., human souls sentenced to the Neverworld to repent for their sins, which take the appearance of small penguins with peg legs. They have a tendency to spontaneously explode. Prinnies appear in many Nippon Ichi games; but only as recurring side-characters. The main character in this game is named Prinny, which can lead to some confusion.
At the beginning of the game, the Prinny reports to Master Etna, a demon and the Prinny's boss, who has had her sweets stolen. In her anger, she sends her countless minions on a search across the varied realms of The Netherworld for ingredients to make the Ultimate Dessert. To aid them with this task, they are all given magical red scarves which, for the most part, prevent them from exploding. Fans of the series will notice that some other characters and vehicles make cameo appearances, however in different roles.
The gameplay featured in Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? is very different to earlier, main-line iterations in the Disgaea franchise, which were highly complex role-playing strategy games, designed to deliver hundreds of hours of gameplay. Nippon Ichi have described it as their first action game, featuring two-dimensional, side-scrolling platforming, although it bears more similarities with the Metal Slug formula rather than the traditional Super Mario Bros. affair.
A hub world, Prinny HQ, is accessible from the main menu. This allows the player to wander around and choose which of the six areas of The Netherworld to enter, all of which have a different visual style. Collecting small hidden orbs throughout each stage will have new characters appear at Prinny HQ who will be able to unlock gameplay functionality such as reports on enemies, battle data and soundtrack customization. Special items can also be won by finding Lucky Dolls.
The six areas initially available to be completed are:
- Nethergrass: A grassy plain north of the Prinny Base. This is the home of the Gourmet Ogre.
- High Tome Forest: A forest said to be filled with countless tomes of knowledge. Two girls named Kim and Chi frequent this area under the pseudonym "The Knight Sisters".
- Death's Watchtower: A criminal execution site, the tower is haunted by souls who are eternally bound to this place. The tower abruptly changes height, and the player must beware of two skull dragons who patrol the area.
- Demon Sea Aria: A casino that floats atop the Demon Sea by night and sinks to the bottom during the day. It is owned by a zombie named Bok Choy, who has hired several guards to protect the area, including a mysterious fox girl.
- Magma Hideout: A "Hot Spot" run by a female ninja, Hoshikage. Also, Lee Shang Long, a dragon who appeared in Disgaea 2, is housed here.
- Moab Fortress: A large, complex dungeon where the Moab army makes their home.
The time of day at which you enter each world also affects its layout, enemies and bosses. Time will progress at the completion of each level, which can be done in any order. This is how difficulty is increased, and coupled with the numerical points tally, multiple playthroughs are encouraged.
The player is awarded 1,000 lives from the outset, from which the real challenge is derived. The act of jumping is also very precise; you cannot correct the jump whilst in mid-air. On the Standard difficulty, Prinny can essentially only take four hits before his untimely death, and taking just one hit will cause him to falter backwards, so if near any cliffs, that's pretty much instant death in itself. Thankfully, checkpoints are employed at several junctions in each level.
- D-pad - Movement
- Cross - Jump / Double Jump
- Square - Slashing Knife Attack
- Circle - Dash
- Triangle - Pick Things Up
You can also Hip Pound by pressing down on the D-pad whilst in the air, which will temporarily stun enemies and increase your Combo Gauge. By stringing several of these attacks together, extra points will be awarded.
In the United States, the game's pre-order bonuses include a soundtrack by Tenpei Sato, and additional Prinny comic by the authors of Penny Arcade. Additional maps and bosses are also planned for downloadable content. Players are also able to exchange replays of their play sessions via the Data Swap option, sending them to friends Ad Hoc via the PlayStation Portable's wireless functionality.
An article release in the Japanese shonan magazine Dengeki revealed that the game will be released again for 2,079 yen (approximatly $22) and a PlayStation Network release of the game for 1,500 yen on November 26th.