Prinny 1-2: Exploded and Reloaded
Publisher: NIS America
Release Dates: October 13, 2020 (NA) / October 16, 2020 (EU) / October 23, 2020 (ANZ)
Nippon Ichi Software is probably one of my favourite game developers of all time, yet I passed up the original releases of these great platformers when they were originally released on the PSP. Luckily, NIS has seen it fit to rerelease Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero and Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! On the Nintendo Switch.
For the uninitiated, Prinnies are demons, reincarnated souls of criminals, they are the lowest of the low in the pecking order of the netherworld. Prinnies originate from the Disgaea series of games, and these two platformers are set in the same universe which features a lot of cameos from characters from the Disgaea series. You’ll notice that Prinnies also have a proclivity for finishing their sentences with the word, Dood!
Prinny 1: Can I Really Be the Hero?
The game opens with Etna, the master of the Prinnies, furious. Someone has snuck in and eaten her dessert! She gives her servant Prinnies 10 hours to bring her the Ultra dessert, to help them she gives one Prinny the heroes scarf, you see Prinnies tend to explode when thrown or falling. This will allow one Prinny to jump about and fall without instantly perishing.
Etna sends out 1000 of her Prinnies to track down and collect ingredients for the Ultra Dessert, which are scattered through the game’s levels.
At their core, Prinny 1 & 2 are 2.5D action platformers with a lot of familiar enemies from the Disgaea series. The 1000 Prinnies you start with function as extra lives, your Prinny can take a few hits before they perish from which point you will start from the last checkpoint with a new Prinny. 1000 Prinnies may sound generous and it really does feel that way until the later levels, where numbers will dramatically start to decrease.
Both games have a hub world of sorts where you can unlock various citizens, but the main function is to allow you to choose what level you would like to tackle. The game is somewhat like Mega man in this regards, quite open-ended and you can tackle most levels in any order you wish, they do however include a star rating that indicates the difficulty of the level.
Each level is broken up into roughly 5 sections denoted by checkpoints, which our hero Prinny, must ground pound to activate followed by an end of level boss. Most levels are straight forward side-scrollers but as you continue through the game levels begin to become somewhat more difficult with added verticality.
To get through each level you must make good use of our Prinnies move set which includes the standard attack with two knives, Prinnies butt-stomp which can be used to daze enemies, an aerial attack, a dash jump for clearing long distances and a double jump. This double jump is the most infuriating thing in the game and it persists in Operation Panties also. If you have ever played Super Ghouls n Ghost you will know exactly the type of jump I am talking about, there no Mario-style mid-air correction here, once you jump you are committed in that direction.
Jumping is very ridged and takes a little while to get used to, once you have it down it does become second nature, eventually!
The level design is top-notch and some enemy placements make you want to scream, but the difficulty curve is great, provided you follow the recommended order from the hub world. There will be certain areas where the developers have put an enemy just out of sight at the end of the small platform and it feels like they are actually trolling you, I guess that’s why you have 1000 Prinnies after all, and I have to admit, it felt great figuring out and finally working my way around these ‘Puzzles’.
The end of level bosses also reminds me heavily of Mega Man, each has a pattern that can be learned and I’ve seen a couple of people online taking no damage at all, when I was losing Prinnies left, right and centre. The bosses are a lot of fun once you figure out what you are doing and some of the later ones will have you losing a LOT of your Prinnies. Upon beating the end of level boss you will be ranked which is based on the time taken to complete the level, number of Prinnies lost and how many of three lucky dolls you found and defeated on that stage. This ranking system adds some replayability, especially when you get an ‘A’ and you are sure you should have got an ‘S’ for a particularly stellar performance.
Like all good Disgaea games, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? Has quite a few unlockables and extras, if you collect 70 of the lucky dolls scattered through each stage you’ll unlock the cave of ordeals, a super difficult extra stage, collecting 100 dolls will allow you to face off against Etna herself. You may also notice; between missions, you can complete jumping puzzles in the overworld rewarding you with torn letters. Collect all the torn letters and you will unlock a whole new game mode which revolves around Asagi from the Disgaea series.
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! Starts much like the 1st game, except this time Etna has not lost her dessert, instead, some pervert has broken in and stolen her beloved panties. She gives her 1000 strong Prinny army until the morning to track down her precious underwear, or else she’ll skin them and turn them into banana hammocks for Orcs, Yikes!
Prinny 2 plays almost identical to the first game, except this time the game has been expanded on slightly, there are more levels, more to unlock and the game looks a little sharper than the first game.
Level design seems a little more varied this time and on the whole, levels seem a little more colourful. The biggest change in this game comes with how our Prinnies ‘combo’ meter works. In the first game, the combo meter merely served as a way to gain a higher score and the occasional extra Prinny, whereas in Operation Panties it can be used to enter a powered-up mode where our Prinny attacks stronger and has access to some additional moves such as a kamikaze dive attack and an even more hard hiding butt-stomp move.
Performance and Presentation
How does Prinny 1 & 2 Run of The Switch?
I am happy to say both games run at a smooth 60 frames per second at a resolution of 1920x1080p docked. I’m not too sure of the resolution while handheld, but they look and play great with no slowdown at all.
The one issue I have with the presentation is the game seems to have a somewhat ‘soft’ look. This is to be expected as both games are ports from the PSP version of each game which ran at a resolution of 480x272p so the game is effectively being upscaled to 4 times its original resolution. This is by no means a deal-breaker and the game still looks great, just some of the text and button prompts can look a little pixelated.
In conclusion, Both the Prinny games are a must-have for anyone who enjoys challenging platformers. They will not hold your hand but they both have the perfect difficulty curve and some of the best 2D level design I have seen in a long time.
Each game will take you around 8 hours to beat with a lot of replayability in both, I can highly recommend them!