Take control of the aristocratic demon known only as The Duke in an upwards-scrolling platformer and chase down fleeing monsters.
Let’s face it – if the title of the game “Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess” doesn’t immediately intrigue you … you need to inject more whimsy into your life.
And once you jump into the game you will find that same sense of style and whimsy pervades the entire game. You see a castle, a sleeping monster known only as The Duke who dreams only of his captive princess … and then he awakes to find that she is no longer in captivity!
So he assumes – naturally – that monsters (probably) stole his princess. And he starts out in hot pursuit of his princess!
Visually the game is colorful and evokes the style of a Saturday morning cartoon. Everything you see has a unified sense of visual style that works better than many large scale games. The characters are detailed and fully animated, and keep up with the fast paced action.
The soundtrack is simple, but again works perfectly for the straightforward style of the game. Likewise, the minimal writing is very funny – you will engage the characters and story despite the one-dimensional nature of everything.
In terms of gameplay, this is a ‘vertical platformer’. What does THAT mean? It means that when you encounter a monster, they escape upwards and you need to pursue the same way. The Duke can jump, double-jump, wall-jump, and jump-attack. The world is vertical, so you need to jump from platform to platform to pursue the monsters, and then double-jump into them to attack. Hit a monster three times and defeat it.
Helping you out is the ‘combo’ scoring. Each time you jump on a platform it ticks off a counter. The more successive platforms you jump on, the higher your combo score – but if you land on a platform twice everything is reset. The higher your score, the more powerful your jumps and attacks. Since your progress is timed against the monster ascending to the top of the area, you need to balance your score against making a rapid ascent. Wall jumps can help at times, as they will help you go faster than standard jumps.
Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess is a ‘PSP Mini’, meaning the expectations in terms of content and game play are scaled back from a full-sized game. The game is a complete blast for as long as it lasts – and that is one of the complaints: even for a Mini this is a REALLY short game. You can complete the twenty-four levels in about 20 minutes, and once you are done playing through there is little reason to replay, other than to take on score challenges. The score challenges are fun, but once again there is too little there to present a compelling long-term experience.
Another issue is the orientation. I couldn’t help but think while playing how much better the game would have played in vertical orientation on the iPad Touch. While I prefer the physical buttons, playing a vertical game on a widescreen system really makes you struggle with what is above you. While I know this is the case with any vertical game on any console, the impact of the screen-switching on the iPod Touch just makes you more aware of the possibilities.
While on the subject of comparing to the iPod Touch, the obvious price comparison comes up. At $4.99 this is not a bad deal for a PSP Mini, and I grabbed it without hesitation based on previews I’d seen (and, of course, the name!). But if this WAS on the iTunes App Store, it would cost $2.99 at MOST, and would more likely cost either $0.99 or $1.99. There is just too little content here to warrant a $5 purchase – if PSP Minis want to compete with the App Store they need to be price competitive as well.
Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess is a load of fun, but is held back by the screen orientation, price and very short gameplay with limited replayability. If you are fine paying $5 for ~30 minutes of gaming, you will definitely enjoy what the game has to offer.
Where to Buy: Playstation Store
What I Like:
+ Charming style
+ Simple and fun gameplay
+ Engaging characters
What Needs Improvement:
- Too little content
- Even though it is short it is STILL repetitive
- Priced WAY too high
Source: Personal copy