Title: Prison Princess
Release Date: January 30, 2020
Reviewed On: Switch
Genre: Puzzle Adventure
I’m always interested to see how developers grab the attention of gamers. When it comes to Prison Princess, I don’t know if I would have ever given it the time of day had it not featured two waifu princesses. Regardless, there I was playing an escape room game for 9 hours straight without a care in the world.
In the opening scene, Prison Princess will make you question how this game was released in the west. You assume the role of a hero who has fallen in battle and came back as a ghost trapped in a castle. However, you realize that you aren’t alone as soon as you open your eyes to see the upskirt of one of the two female heroines. Don’t worry either, over time you’ll be seeing those panties a lot.
Our ghost hero meets Aria and Zena, two princesses locked in a castle by the demon king who you were supposed to destroy, and yet here you three are. You are tasked with helping them escape, but alas, you can’t actually touch anything. Instead, you must instruct the two girls on what to do to get out.
This ends up working surprisingly well as the game turns into a point-and-click adventure and you must solve puzzles with the girls to open new paths. The story doesn’t really become too deep, but throughout the story, the girls do take breaks to talk about themselves, but honestly, they aren’t that interesting. Still, they are rather comical.
The actual gameplay has players do their best to escape from the castle and solve various puzzles to do so. The puzzles start easy enough but do become increasingly challenging. The latter half of the adventure gives you optional paths to take, which can change the ending that you receive. Some puzzle affects your relationships with the girls that affect the conclusion.
My only issue with the puzzles is the number of times that you have to return to previously investigated rooms. I didn’t like the idea that the only way to pick up something is after you investigated something else that required it. It causes a lot of back and forth throughout the rooms and just pads the game’s runtime.
Still, I don’t know if it was the escape room puzzles or the panties, but this game is difficult to put down. I found myself invested in setting them free and even brought out a note pad to keep track of random clues and areas. This made the adventure somewhat immersive, and I ended up having a great time.
The character CGs are revealing but detailed. If you aren’t a fan of lewd imaginary that is borderline unnecessary, then you probably should stay away from this title. However, I felt that they were all excellent, and their are plenty of secret CGs to discover across multiple playthroughs. The character illustrations were fantastic. The game features the girls in numerous poses as they search through the rooms, with some of them revealing more than they’d probably hoped.
The first playthrough will probably take about 5 hours to complete, but the game then opens different ends and additional puzzles to take on. It’s entirely possible to skip sections of the game and receive a sub-par ending, but if you’re looking to spend your life with these princesses, the game is going to test you.
This brings about the most significant criticism in that the game does a terrible job of letting you know if you are on the right track or not. Using the wrong item on something is just met with the same dialogue you’d get without the item, which becomes repetitive over time. I prefer a buzzer to let me know I’m doing something wrong. Furthermore, I wish the game utilized the Switch’s controller a bit more and let you move the cursers by points the Joy-Con. This just felt like a missed opportunity.
I rarely find myself playing escape room games for longer than an hour at a time, but Prison Princess held my attention for more than 11. The game’s intelligent design and inergetic princesses had me wishing that we could get caught in more castles together. There is a nice dose of replayability through the multiple endings, but the game does get incredibly obtuse with some of the more eye-rolling puzzle requirements. There’s one puzzle that I had to brute force my way through each time, and I still don’t know how to solve it correctly.
Still, Prison Princess provides hours of enjoyment and two of the cutest princesses you could be trapped somewhere with. I didn’t know what I was expecting when I began my adventure, but I came out of it with a more than pleasant experience. To reiterate, I don’t know if that’s because I enjoyed the puzzles or panties.
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