The video games industry has become a huge business over the years, and as such, less and less risks can be taken. However, should risks succeed, the rewards are generally much greater and with that in mind, Titan Studios set out to make a rather quirky and comical game called Fat Princess.
As the name implies, the game centres around a Fat Princess, although things weren't always this way. In a fantasy world, there were two kingdoms that lived peacefully until one fateful day. The princesses from each kingdom met in the forest and stumbled across a large cake, which they proceeded to feast upon. However, they became addicted to its incredible taste and continued to eat the cake, day after day. It was believed though, that a kiss from a prince would remove the curse of the cake and the story revolves around trying to manipulate affairs so that the princess from the player's kingdom is picked by the prince.
Each level in the story is prefaced by a few drawings and a summation of the story that is provided by a strictly English narrator. It all seems rather absurd and that's exactly what the developers were going for as it helps to distinguish Fat Princess from the deluge of other titles available on the market.
There are seven levels available to play in the Story Mode and they help to introduce the various game modes that are on offer. The first few levels ease the player in slowly, before the difficult ramps up and it becomes a lot more tactical. On each level in the Story Mode, the player is assisted by another 15 AI controlled players, which helps to simulate a real battle. With 16 players on the opposing team, it's easy to see how things can get quite hectic. This is where one of the few downsides to Fat Princess can be found though, as the AI isn't exactly spectacular - especially on the capturing missions. It seems as though if the AI was left to its own devices, the game would actually last forever and it's sometimes frustrating to feel that the AI isn't actually attempting to aid any attempts to complete the level. Fortunately the difficulty is such that completing the objectives almost single-handedly is achievable.
To achieve the objectives there are numerous classes at a player's disposal. The Worker class forms the foundation of the game, as they are used to collect resources. These are required to upgrade a player's castle, allowing for building defences, upgrading classes and building offensive devices. Without Workers, one side can easily find themselves fighting an uneven battle and it brings about an interesting dynamic, especially online. The other classes offer a mixture of playing styles, with melee combat, healing, and ranged attacks all catered for. Each class can also be upgraded once by spending resources appropriately, which unlocks a slightly different way to use the same class. The actual attacking is fairly straight forward, each class has a normal attack and a charge attack, with L1 allowing players to lock on to a specific target. It's effective and gets the job done.Where Fat Princess really comes into its own though, is with the online play. It allows for full 32 player matches, which can lead to instant chaos. All of the game modes can be played online, including the typical Team Deathmatch and its own unique take on Capture the Flag. In Rescue The Princess mode, the teams score by saving the Princess from the opposing castle, while keeping the princess they've held captive safely behind their own bars. However, it gains an interesting twist with the addition of cake. Players can feed the Princesses cake in order to fatten them up, which makes them harder to rescue. It adds a certain degree of responsibility as players can't just concentrate on killing enemies and attempting to rescue their princess; they need to defend their own and upgrade their own castle.
When playing online, the game also gains a whole new level of tactical awareness. No longer must the player rely on having to do everything themselves, but there must also be a sense of unity between the team. If everyone splinters off to do their own thing it will be much harder to achieve the objectives, whereas a unified front will lead to a quick victory. With eight levels available there is also lots of variety on offer, as each level poses a new challenge and even simple things like capturing outposts can turn the tides in battle. Knowing the maps will help players to learn where choke points are, as well as earmarking where the enemy's weak point might be.
The game looks very charming. Everything seems like it fits, from the different costumes, to the pieces of cake that scatter the landscape. The levels are all very unique too, with some levels even changing over time to add an extra layer of strategy. The voice work is also particularly entertaining, with lots of quips at internet humour added in as well as various jibes which can be dished out by players.
While there are hours of fun to be had with the online mode, there is also content to be enjoyed offline once the Story Mode has been completed. As well as a Skirmish Mode, there is Gladiate. This mode allows players to choose a class of their choice, and enter in a Gladiator style competition against waves of oncoming enemies. By achieving certain feats, players will also unlock items to allow them to 'Get Fabulous'. New hairstyles, facial hair and colouring can be unlocked so players can be the peon of their dreams. There is also a ton of stat tracking - 16 pages worth in fact - as well as online leader boards that will chart a player's progress.
Fat Princess is a stellar downloadable title that offers far more than expected. There is plenty to do in both an offline and online capacity - especially online - and it's easy to find hours being whittled away while enjoying the fun, yet frantic gameplay in the various modes that are available. In terms of character, Fat Princess has it in droves. The basic concept of the game is borderline ludicrous and it's fantastic! This game is definitely worth checking out if only for the comedy value.