The penguin demon mascots of the Disgaea series return do the bidding of their masters and return in an updated version on the Nintendo Switch.
+These games are tough, bordering on unforgiving, but play into the overall aspect of the game
+The graphical representation and the music these titles is without a doubt a spin-off which stays true to the original material
+There is a massive amount of replayability to these games
-While the games are largely fair in their difficulty, there are points where it genuinely feels as if you are punished for trying to speed through
-Moreso in the first title than the second, certain bosses have such massive health pools that on top of needing to perfectly dodge all of their attacks, you’ll be down to the last few seconds on the timer when you beat them.
P: You know it, dood!
As always, I would like to start this article to inform readers of which difficulty I chose for the playthrough of these particular titles for reasons of transparency. For my initial playthrough of Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? And Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! I chose to play through on the Normal difficulty.
For the sake of comparison in Prinny 2, I also took a look at the included Baby difficulty setting. Due to this being a remaster of two separate titles, I will be handling this review as a single article.
From Zero to Prinny Hero
Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? and Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! carry themselves with the charm and humor which the Disgaea series is well known for. Anyone who knows the Disgaea series, knows that within the series a Prinny is the absolute weakest Demon in any Netherworld.
They have unstable human souls which cause them to explode if they are thrown or collide with any surface with sufficient force. Thanks to the intervention of the Demon Lord Etna, however, self-destruction from jumping too high is the least of the worries for our heroes: All one thousand of them.
The developers knew, back when these games were first made for the PSP, that the players would lose many lives. So they decided to give us one thousand per playthrough. We must use these one thousand lives in Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero to recreate Etna’s current prized possession, a limited edition treat called the Ultra Dessert. A delicacy which has gone missing, and our poor penguins have been elected to gather the ingredients required to make one anew.
In typical Disgaea fashion, these ingredients need not be edible items at all. While in Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! – the Prinnies are once again coerced by Etna into retrieving an item. Namely her undergarments which were stolen by the Phantom Thief.
For this adventure you will travel across the Netherworld to obtain Rare Items in an effort to lure in the Phantom Thief and reclaim Etna’s undergarments. Once given your task, you are also presented with a hard time limit of ten hours.
999 Prinnies On The Wall
Both games in the Exploded and Reloaded Collection play remarkably similar, in fact they are more alike than different. Depending on an individual’s point of view, the Combo Meter difference between the titles is either a blessing or a burden. In Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? the combo meter fills when you kill enemies or successfully hit them with a ground slam until they become stunned.
Filling this meter will reward you with point granting sweets and extra capes if playing on Normal Mode. In Prinny 2 however, the Combo Meter instead grants a damage boost to the Prinny’s attacks so long as you maintain it and don’t take a hit.
To me, this is a blessing as I had issues with how much of a damage sponge some bosses were in the first title. Prinny 2 allows you to refill your capes; or in the case of Baby Mode, diapers, with pickups found across the stage. Much like a Panic Dive in Monster Hunter, the Prinnies at your disposal have access to a dive as another option of the Prinny Spin you use to access the Prinny Dash.
Traversing across the various stages can be precarious at points, especially depending on what time you enter. As the game progresses, the difficulty of every stage increases. This can add a bit of strategy to how you approach the games. Tackling the more difficult stages first means they won’t be as hellish further down the line. However, handling these stages last can also be an excellent test of your abilities.
You may find yourself using the Prinny’s dash ability to cross large gaps and then chain it into a ground slam to bounce on an enemy’s head. This will give you a bit more distance, as well as dropping said enemy into the void so they can’t pursue you.
That brings me to one of the major issues I have with the game. Momentum is extremely important. You need just the right amount to follow through with a jump. Using a Prinny Dash may give you that extra speed you need to clear a gap, but if you don’t hit the ledge just right you simply bounce off and fall to your death.
If you don’t build up enough speed, or build up too much, you’ll miss your landing point entirely. These are the areas where the game truly shines with its difficulty. But at the same time it can make it feel less like the game has ramped up, and more that it wants to punish a player for not being cautious enough.
The Calm After The Rage
I must admit. I didn’t handle these games very well. I will be the first to admit that in some areas I’m not the most skilled gamer. But particularly so I don’t handle frustration very well. That said, despite the frustration I felt from these games I kept coming back. I had to take a break for a few days to get off that catecholamine high to sit down and write my thoughts.
I won’t say I love these games, but I also can’t say I hate them. They trigger an addiction that puts me into a sadomasochistic spiral aimed solely at the Prinnies and their enemies. The driving force of “I have to get past this checkpoint” is amazing. With that said, however, these games could use a bit more polish. These games are a shining example of being difficult for the sake of being difficult, but that also doesn’t make them horrible.
I played through both games twice, and attempted Hell’s Finest once. It goes without saying that I abandoned my Hell’s Finest run. I am nowhere near skilled enough to beat it, at least not now. As I keep playing that may change. The playthrough I found most telling however, was playing through Prinny 2 on Baby Mode.
Baby Mode truly makes the games much easier. But because of that, it isn’t anywhere near as satisfying. With the overall challenge reduced, and the risk of certain obstacles essentially null. The endorphin rush simply wasn’t there for me. I felt as if I was robbed of some grand achievement.
This strikes me as odd however, because at other points I wished it was easier. Yet once it became easier, I felt empty. Prinny 2 offers a few interesting mechanics, such as enemies in specific stages being able to attack from the background.
The stages also show a more immediate difficulty increase from the first title. Yet in spite of all this, due to experiencing Baby Mode, I found myself going back to Prinny 1 instead. In a way, these games are so similar that you don’t necessarily need to play both unless you are one who enjoys the challenge.
My final thoughts on this collection are – for what they are they’re great. The updated art is great, and to my memory, these are the same games I played back on the PSP (though I never beat them back then).
Prinny 1∙2 Exploded and Reloaded
Platforms Available: Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software Inc
Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software America
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $59.99 (Just Desserts Edition)
I believe there’s a solid foundation present which can be used as a springboard to make another Disgaea themed platformer title featuring our favorite demon mascots.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game for review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Kennard Daniel Prim isn’t just your average gamer, he’s a die-hard fan of the single-player genre, specializing in imported games from Japan as well as his love for everything RPG related.