With the incredible amount of competition in the App Store, a strong first impression can make a big difference. When we first saw the screenshots for Sad Princess, we couldn’t wait to play what looked like a frantic anime-inspired action game. Sadly, we were wrong.
Sad Princess is a beat ‘em up with an anime art style, but the action is hardly frantic. It’s slow and plodding, possibly due to the depressed state of the game’s heroine. You play as Princess Clover, one of four playing card-themed princesses who receive a love letter from Prince Mosorlak. But it turns out the Prince prefers getting spanked by Queen Seedania, which makes Clover sad.
Looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys!
The story doesn’t make much sense, and it has basically no impact on the game at all. After a clever comic-book style introduction, you’re left to beat up random enemies like slimes, boars, wolves, and orcs as you seek revenge on Queen Seedania. You can move left and right, jump, dash, and attack, but it’s all at a snail’s pace and seems about half a second behind each button press.
The levels are attractive, but also very small, and enemies will pour in until a warp portal tells you that you’re done. Our favorite enemies were the war machines like flamethrowers and watchtowers, since they required us to jump around, while other enemies let us just stand still and mash the attack button.
How To Brain Your Dragon.
Sad Princess looks like it’s about to get more interesting when it introduces three shopkeepers between rounds. Here, you can buy new items, weapons, and even a pet creature to summon as your familiar. However, these RPG elements don’t improve the action one bit, and the creatures you can summon are practically useless in battle.
While most of the game is snooze-inducing, we did enjoy the four boss battles. In these showdowns, you have to concentrate your attacks on one giant creature while also avoiding its minions. If the rest of the game matched the thrill of these boss fights, we’d be more impressed, but every other level in the game is slow and uneventful.
Sad Princess has a great art style, and we just wish there was a quality game to back it up. It’s an important lesson to learn: Don’t judge an app by its cover.