Fat Princess Beta – The Hands-On-Cake PS3A Preview
Skip ahead to April 2009 and the free Episode 11 of Qore featured a developer interview with the creators.Â It was then where we saw her in motion for the first time.Â We were already sold on the game, now we were in love…
We had to have her.Â And the cake.Â The princess must be ours.Â Her cake too.Â But who among us was fit for a princess of such girth stature?Â A bloody internal battle ensued; mind games, booby traps and poisoned caked were the norm in the Attitude Towers until he prevailed.Â He who had prevailed before so long ago.
But after plenty of time with the beta, is there still love for Fat Princess or has our early affair become something completely different?Â Join me as I bury my face into some delicious Fat Princess Beta cake, shunning the humble pie the rest of the PS3A team sent me.
Our story begins, as these stories often do, with an unnamed and rather bland looking protagonist.Â You are a villager in her royal fatness’ castle, sworn to protect your princess at any cost necessary.
Before you get to do any protecting/rescuing/killing in the name of honor and cake, you should probably get fabulous first.Â At the beginning there are very few options to get fabulous, which is a nice way to say ‘customize your cartoon persona’.Â First you choose your skin and eye color and select a male or female voice; more on that later. Pick your favorite hairstyle/facial hair combination, choose a hair color and you are set.
As you progress through the game and gain ranks, new ways to get fabulous are unlocked.Â If you can’t quite create a look that suits you, the game can do it for you.Â Select the Randomize! button to get your very own blue-eyed purple dude with green pigtails and a handle-bar moustache.Â Terrific.
So you got the looks, but do you have the brains?Â After being slaughtered mercilessly and wandering about the game map without a clue, looking fabulous of course, I decided to let the game know exactly how I felt.Â By selecting the I’m Confused? button you will arm yourself with the deadliest weapon of all: knowledge.
Although Fat Princess is full of in-game tips, I found out that reading instructions on how to play without someone stabbing you repeatedly in the head while calling you a ‘noob’ does wonders for the learning process.Â For example, did you know that by pressing the leftÂ or right directional buttons you can taunt your enemies with clever one liners?Â One of my favorite taunts belongs to the Ranger class: “Boom! Headshot!”.Â Classic.
There are six classes in total, you always start as a Villager and then pick your preferred class from hat machines located inside your castle or from battlefield:
- The Villager – starter class, fastest runner
- The Warrior – massive attack and health
- The Mage – limited ranged and area attack spells
- The Priest – limited ranged and area healing spells
- The Ranger – longest ranged attacks, decent health
- The Worker – collects resources, upgrades and builds
You can switch classes on the fly just by picking up a different hat and presto!Â That wimpy Worker is now a deadly Warrior.Â This makes for interesting back and forthÂ battles since everyone can pick the right class for any given situation.Â As Workers collect resources, the hat machines can be upgraded to unlock new abilities for each class and build siege weapons.Â Once upgraded, the Priest can drain enemies health and the Worker gains bombs to destroy structures.Â Catapults and ladders can be built to gain access to the enemy castle.Â This is where Fat Princess really blew my mind.
Don’t be fooled by the cute cartoon art style, the funny premise and its hilarious moments.Â Fat Princess is a deep multiplayer game with layers upon layers of tactics mixed in.Â It will take you a good number of matches to see all the offensive and defensive possibilities for one map alone.
After hours of online multiplayer matches logged in with many different opponents and teammates, I have yet to feel like I was playing the same game over and over despite the one beta map that has been made available.Â Use your USB or Bluetooth compatible headset to maximize your experience by communicating with others to devise a winning strategy.Â Fat Princess is deceptively simple at first and yet so cleverly dynamic and complex in motion.
By now you should all be familiar with the capture the flag type of gameplay that the Rescue The Princess multiplayer mode is.Â You start with the enemy princess in your dungeon and must defend her while rescuing your own princess.Â Keep both princesses in your castle for a set amount of time, and you are victorious.
But what if you were only interested in blood and carnage?Â Then the Team Deathmatch mode is for you.Â Both teams start with a set number of lives, reduce the number of enemy lives to zero for the win; plain and simple yet complex and fun.
Other game types not available for play in the beta include Snatch ‘N Grab, where you must kidnap the enemy’s princess and bring her to your dungeon to score points and win the game; and Invasion, capture and hold outposts and then eliminate the enemy team to win.
You can also take the lonely road and go Play With Yourself as the game suggests.Â There you will find three game modes:Â Legend of the Fat Princess serves as the main single player game mode. In Mess About you can play a multiplayer game with bots and lastly the Gladiate mode seems to be a challenge room for each class to compete for top scores.Â Only the Mess About single player mode is available in the current beta.
And how is the current beta coming along?Â Sadly this is where the cake turns a little bit sour.Â As is the norm with every PS3 beta in recent memory, Fat Princess Beta is plagued by connection issues and game ending bugs and glitches.Â To be honest game ending is not the proper term.Â Never ending game bugs and glitches is a bit more accurate.
A princess sometimes disappears from the game world completely, which makes finishing the match an impossibility.Â As I was writing this, I logged in an online multiplayer Rescue The Princess match, only to have her disappear after I was killed carrying her (just a few steps away from my own castle).Â The map shows her position, but she is not there.Â The in-game HUD shows the princess in the enemy dungeon but she is not there either.Â Time to quit and find another game.Â At least Team Deathmatch does not suffer from such a glitch.
Yes, sometimes you won’t be able to connect to an online game at all.Â Yes, once you do connect there is a big chance the game may glitch forcing you to quit or play forever.Â Yes, there is only one map.Â But yet here I am playing it almost every night and writing a rather positive review.Â This should speak volumes on what a great game I think Fat Princess is and will be once the beta issues are dealt with and the feedback is addressed.Â After all, I’m the person who wrote this.
Finally I will leave you all with a little gem I recently found out while browsing the Bragging Rights section.
Here you will have two options, check out the Fat Princess online leaderboards under World’s Greatest or see all the intricacies that are the Fat Princess statistics under Why I’m Awesome.Â If you are lucky enough to be in the beta, don’t take my word for it; go to the World’s Greatest leaderboards and see who is the World’s Greatest Invasion player of all time*.Â And if you are not in the beta, remember that a picture is worth a thousand words:
Never mind the fact that the Invasion game mode is not playable in the beta.Â If Fat Princess says I’m the best invader she’s ever had then so it shall be.Â You don’t argue with royalty; that’s a one way ticket to the guillotine.
I can’t wait for Fat Princess to arrive this Spring, and neither can the rest of the PS3A team.Â We know what to do next in any case; send delicious magical cake to Titan Studios and Sony Santa Monica in hopes that Fat Princess rolls out smoothly.
*As of April 24th 2009.