Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake Hands-On
We take a look at the PlayStation Portable edition of Fat Princess.
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The original Fat Princess was a humorous and jarringly brutal take on the classic capture-the-flag game mode. Fistful of Cake is developer Super Villain's attempt to squeeze the same tug-of-war-style gameplay onto the PlayStation Portable, complete with local and online multiplayer.
Fat Princess tells the tale of two foolish heiresses who discover a comically large slice of cake growing in the forest. Unable to resist the delectable treat or identify the potential danger a giant slice of cake in a forest might pose, they indulge their sweet tooth and devour the mysterious cake in its entirety. The two princesses soon find themselves cursed with an insatiable appetite for cake that can only be broken by a prince. It falls to you to protect the royal lady from being kidnapped while abducting the opposition princess to guarantee your team's advantage.
Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake features many of the same gameplay modes as found in the PlayStation 3 original. The core gameplay is a variation on the classic capture-the-flag game mode, with some tweaks to the class-based roles and an overweight cake-demanding princess replacing the flag. Players must mount an assault on the opposing team's castle and recover their princess while preventing their prisoner from being rescued. If you do manage to sneak the princess from the opposing team's dungeon, she must then be carried back to your castle and placed on her throne. Because a heavier princess is harder to move, you're encouraged to stuff your own princess full of cake to make it more difficult for the opposing team to steal her. The princess is blessed with a remarkable metabolism and quickly loses weight, though, so you're required to keep her well fed to ensure the opposition has a hard time moving her.
You have six different classes to choose from and can switch among them by putting on the hat identified with the class type. Hats can be taken from dead soldiers on the battlefield or from dispensers located in your castle. Players start off as a villager--a weak but nimble average Joe. Sporting the appropriate hat will change your role to either the blade-wielding warrior or the fire-throwing mage for offense, the priest for healing, or the ranger for defence. The worker is not a combat-oriented role but is nevertheless vital because workers gather resources to upgrade classes, bolster defences, and create siege equipment, such as catapults. Class upgrades provide you with additional skills; warriors gain a dash attack, while mages gain access to a freezing ability. The priest gains a life-draining skill, the ranger receives a shotgun, and the worker accesses bombs to deal damage to multiple enemies.
The stylised art of the PS3 original has been preserved and looks great on the PSP's screen. The contrast between colourful environments and bloody combat is as aesthetically pleasing as ever. The most noticeable difference between the two versions is the increased focus on story, as Fistful of Cake tells the story of the fat princesses in far greater detail. The single-player portion of the game is titled "The Legend of the Fat Princess" and is narrated by a man with a suitably pompous English accent. Although it is used primarily to introduce you to the combat mechanics and gameplay rules, it also weaves in the story. The Legend of the Fat Princess is presented in a story-book style that is split into 15 chapters, each with a short opening and closing cinematic to provide context for the outlandish objectives. Though it's not particularly exciting, the story makes use of the odd premise and presents a number of entertaining characters.
The second big addition is the Grim Reaper mode, which is similar to King of the Hill mode. Donning the grim reaper helmet transforms you into a scythe-wielding demon that can dispatch enemies in a single strike and provides you with a life-draining attack similar to the mage's attack. Each kill adds to your point total, and once the limit is reached, the game ends. The strength of the reaper, coupled with his ability to regain health, means you have to work as a team to bring him down. Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is available now in the UK and scheduled for an April 27 release in North America.