Be ready to die a lot, dood!
Do you like dying in a game over and over in order to reach a goal? If that's the case, I got the game for you! Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! once again brings the poor, suffering, but ultimately lovable Prinnies from the Disgaea series into the spotlight, in an action platformer totally not for the faint of heart.
[image1]Panties are reason the Prinnies are in trouble again. Their boss, Demon Lord Etna, has had her favorite pair of panties stolen by a famous thief and has tasked the Prinnies with getting them back. The story and characters are super over-the-top and for the most part are funny and full of personality.
The Prinny franchise's main feature - some might call it their draw - is that you don't play through the game as the same character. Well... you do play as the same type of character, in a sense. The Prinnies are numerous but are incredibly weak. If they take a certain number of hits, they die in a burst of smoke and another little guy take its place. You have 1000 of these poor souls to finish the mission. If they run out, it's game over.
These cute little minions aren't defenseless, though. They're armed with a saber and they're darn good with it. Attacks can be chained together into combos, which fill a bar at the bottom of the screen. Once that reaches maximum, our little friend becomes even stronger and is able to do even more devastating attacks and use a spinning dash that comes in handy in tight spots.
Sadly, the controls are anywhere from being good. Granted, your Prinny is nimble for someone with such stubby legs on the ground, but on the other hand (or fin, I don't know how they hold those swords!!) when you take things to the air, there's an infuriating lack of mid-jump adjusting that leads into a lot of cheap deaths. The game is also inconsistent in regards to hit detection; sometimes you are hit just by touching an enemy, and sometimes you're not.
[image2]Levels are mostly side-scrolling, with a generous share of vertical scrolling as well. You will look to activate respawn checkpoints to make progress, because you will die a lot. There's a reason NIS gives you 1000 lives - the game is incredibly unforgiving and difficult. Depending on the difficulty setting, your Prinny might die with a single hit, warping your progress back to whatever last checkpoint you hit.
Skill and a fair amount of memorization are vital in this game, since the enemy placement is always the same. Some enemies are really resilient to attacks, and if you're not careful, they can chase you around the stage endlessly, making most of these seem really cheap, lending a lot to the notion of how unforgiving the game is.
At the end of each stage, you'll find a boss fight as usual, but this is the part of Prinny 2 that shines the most. Most of these bosses don't really know what's going on with the Prinnies and sometimes they don't even have a reason to fight you, but do so anyway. These fights are pretty much the pattern-based bouts you're used to seeing and they require a lot of skill. Unfortunately, that's mostly due to the aforementioned controls.
The hub world in Prinny is the place you will explore most of the game. There's a lot of hidden upgrades and items hidden just about everywhere, as well as a lot of characters to speak to. Due to the nature of their boss's business, the Prinnies have a bunch of lost souls to talk to and these bits of dialogue are hilarious. A few of the NPCs try to throw you a bone and give gameplay tips.
[image3]It's worth noting that there's a lot of voice acting in Prinny 2 and to their credit they're really well done. What might drive you insane, though, is the constant babble that comes from the Prinnies during gameplay, which loops and repeats constantly every time you are hit, killed, and revived at a checkpoint, with no option of turning them off.
If you've played any of NIS's previous games, like Grim Grimoire, you know they make gorgeous-looking 2D games. Prinny 2's characters are full of charm and personality. There is a lot of polygonal backgrounds too, but the game rarely strays from the 2D plane. The music is okay, nothing incredibly catchy but nothing as annoying as the repeating voice samples. Sadly, the majority of the common enemy designs are recycled from the previous game.
Even on its lowest difficulty setting, Prinny 2 can be a beast. If you decide to pick this up, be ready for a huge challenge. Like most challenges, Prinny 2 can be ridiculously rewarding if you conquer it. The unlockables and secrets make for the replayability and are numerous enough to warrant exploration and skill during your gameplay. Some situations are relatively frustrating and annoying, but buried under these parts is a rewarding game. The Prinnies are counting on you!