Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Princess Debut (DS)

Title: Princess Debut
System: DS
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1

If you read my post about gaming that segued into a post about my bizarre love of otome games, you remember me mentioning Princess Debut, the otome game about the girl who swaps places with the princess from a fantasy land that looks just like her. She then goes on to spend the next month in this fantasy land, learning to dance and looking for a prince to act as her dance partner, all the while trying to pose as the real princess. Oh, and the princes all look like the cute guys from her school in the real world.

Yeah, I know. The story kind of sucks. But this is an otome game, where the only thing that really matters is the boys.

Above: The only thing that matters in an otome game. (Minus furry.)

So, you have six boys to pick from, not including Tony (the rabbit) up there, though he does get an ending of his own. The sixth guy never actually shows up until your second playthrough. But those guys up there, from left to right, are: Prince Luciano, Prince Liam, Prince Klaus, Prince Cesar, and Prince Vince (lol, rhymes.) The last prince, tastefully clad in purple, is Prince Kiefer. Each of these guys falls into one (or more) of the stereotypical otome game male categories: the doting big brother (Liam, or "the ridiculously kind one who likes plants" in the "real" world), the "perfect" one (Klaus, or the basketball star in the real world), the aloof one (Luciano, or the childhood friend in the real world), the flamboyant flirt (Cesar, or the playboy in the real world), the bookworm (Kiefer, who's still the bookworm), and the mischievous one (Vince, who's still the mischievous one).

The point of the game is to get a partner and wow the crowd at an important ball at the end of the month. The gameplay is a decently-implemented rhythm game, Ouendan-style. (Or, Elite Beat Agents, if you have no idea what "Ouendan" is.) The game gets progressively tougher as it advences throughout the month, and gameplay is pretty fun. The synthesized tracks are annoying from the get-go, and don't really get any less annoying, but they're not annoying enough to make me put it down. However, the game isn't without its downsides.

First, if you're not using a DS lite or a DSi (this doesn't include the XL; I'm getting to that), the game doesn't always register your tap as an accurate tap, and marks you points off (if it even credits you at all for it.) We have at least one of every DS incarnation in my house, and I've noticed that songs that I've gotten perfect scores on countless times always come up short on the 3DS and on the DSiXL. I'm not sure why that is, but I'd wager that it has something to do with the increased touch screen size on both. Second of all are, unsurprisingly, the guys. Well, not them specifically, but the dating cutscenes tend to drag out and could be cut by three or four rounds of conversation and still get the point across. Not only that, but one of the boys is frustratingly hard to get: Prince Luciano takes off about halfway through the game. If you're already dating him, and don't answer his questionnaire just right, he won't come back at the end of the month, and if you're single before he leaves and don't answer his questionnaire just right - you guessed it - he won't come back at the end of the month. And, given his personality type is tough to figure out what a "right" and "wrong" answer is, there's going to be a lot of rebooting and cursing on your end.

Bottom Line: Typical otome game story line, with a pretty decently implemented rhythm game embedded into it. Oh, and Luciano is a douche, but that doesn't really affect points.

Final Score: 7/10

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