Code of Princess EX (Switch) Review – Not a Royal Experience
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Studio Saizensen
Release: 31st July 2018
Code of Princess, a game released on the 3DS in 2012, then ported to PC and now on the Switch in an enhanced version. However, when one looks at the Steam page, he might wonder why Nicalis though it would be okay to ask for 15 dollars more than the original price. Well, after playing it, I can confirm, that I too don´t know why but had some fun nonetheless.
As the name suggests, we follow princess Solange of DeLuxia on her quest to save the world from evil monsters. Equipped with the sword Deluxcalibur (I´m not joking) and accompanied by an ever-growing cast of support characters, she sets out to defeat the demons in the most cliché tale you can think of. Frankly, Code of Princess EX does pretty much nothing truly interesting or new in its story. Unfortunately, despite the generic tale, the game spends quite a lot of time in dialogues and what-not with dozens of lines of texts, without ever telling something different. Except throwing hundreds of confusing names at you, establishing a useless-seeming throne legacy and other complicated things.
So the main focus is clearly the 2D hack´n slash combat in every way. The base is formed by a pretty classic approach, you have your two attack buttons, lock-on and some special attacks. The whole action happens in classic “lane” levels, where enemies and the princess switch between the different layers to be killed or kill. What many games in this genre fail to accomplish though is a healthy balance between the number of enemies and the ability of the player to actually handle all of them with the clunky system.
Luckily Code of Princess EX handles it extremely well, mainly due to the really responsive combat, featuring almost no animation priority, while having quite a huge array of combos through the combination of the two buttons. Additionally the so-called “bursts” grant you some pretty badass feeling temporal attack boosts when the enemies overwhelm you. Overall, the whole thing is super easy to learn but has enough depth and cool things to keep it going over the campaign.
Otherwise, there isn´t a whole lot of unique stuff here. Every level plays and feels the same, only altered by the character we play as and if they have a different weapon. Sadly, most of those other characters don´t really feel totally different, more like someone just changed one or two attacks. The equipments also may seem like a great place to infuse ideas into the mix but ends up as a generic system mainly used to fake progression, since no hack´n slash really gains anything from little damage buffs. Even tiny alterations to the overall mission structure aren´t here, making the whole game rely on the combat.
What´s even more baffling are the untouched graphics for double the price. While the sprites still look nice, the whole experience suffers from the low resolution expected from a 3DS title from 2012, becoming even more visible on a bigger screen like the Switch. Especially without a great soundtrack, art direction or anything else setting its visual presentation apart from others, the flaws become more and more evident. Honestly, I hoped for a little more in this department when it´s called EX. Though the animated cutscenes are quite nice.
Code of Princess EX is nothing special, in any regard. It´s what anyone would expect from a 2D hack´n slash game, with a slightly better combat system. Be it the presentation, story or mission design, there is no reason to play this one over other contesters, except this one, is on the Switch for a pretty high price. Maybe if the game was actually remastered, I could´ve seen where Nicalis was coming from.
[A Review Code was provided by Nicalis]