Prinny, for those of you who do not know, are a race of creatures initially introduced in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, and they were so popular that Nippon Ichi decided to expand their storyline by giving the Prinny their own series! The first one, Prinny: Can I Be The Hero?, did well enough, and we ended up getting a second game, Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! The two PSP games are now redone and are being packaged together on the Nintendo Switch as Prinny 1 & 2: Exploded and Reloaded.
If you have not figured it out yet, this is a pretty silly series that will equal parts make you laugh and cause you to strain thanks to its high difficulty. But don’t let that fool you! Being difficult does not automatically mean bad or inaccessible, and Prinny 1 & 2: Exploded and Reloaded teeters that fine line very well. So is this Disgaea spinoff a game worthy of your mighty dollar? Or should these little guys be kicked to the curb and explode? Let’s find out!
In Prinny 1, we find out after a quick tutorial that Master Etna is livid, because someone stole her ultimate dessert! She genuinely thinks it was one of her Prinny minions, but they all swear their innocence. Thankfully, she has a bit of mercy on them, but you are on a timer! Master Etna gives you a little extra strength and less of a chance to explode, and you are tasked to find each of the ingredients for the ultimate dessert.
It is a beyond simple story, but it is hilarious and loads of fun. The dialog between Prinny and everyone they connect with is properly funny and adds so much more to what is actually a bit shallow of a shallow concept. If the Prinny were not so goofy and charming, the story and just about everything else would suffer.
As for Prinny 2, the ante is raised tremendously, and it seems like a wiley and ballsy thief has stolen Master Etna’s panties! Of course, just like in the first game, she points all fingers at her poor Prinny minions, but they swear once again that it wasn’t them and they wouldn’t dare do something so stupid. So for the second time in a row, Etna grants the Prinny with extra strength, but this time they are tasked with getting those panties back. However will they do that?
Well, the plan is to coerce the thief to return to the area by finding a “Rare Item” and baiting the thief with it. This story had me laughing from start to finish, way more so than the first. It is an absurd premise, but the storytelling is genuinely funny and really lends a strong hand to the gameplay.
Overall, both games’ stories are the perfect kind of comedy and have the right level of intrigue about them, and the story is truly one of the best points in the games.
Prinny 1 & 2: Exploded and Reloaded is an action platformer series very similar to that of the old Ghouls and Ghosts series. Although Prinny have their own unique attacks and special abilities, the jumping, particularly the double-jump, is exactly the same as the NES/SNES CAPCOM classics, and they definitely take some getting used to (Or adjusting to, if you are a veteran). If you are unaware, the two jumps have their own trajectory, and it can both save your life if used well and kill you in the worst of ways if used poorly.
Levels in Prinny 1 & 2 are a fun mixed bag that require equal amounts of skill and patience. Players will traverse through a list of levels that are a bit randomized through multiple plays, which does add some replay value for the game. Layouts and bosses differ depending on the time of day and what order the stages are chosen, which is really cool. Stages are littered with enemies and hazards that can ruin your day in a moment, but thankfully checkpoints are placed nicely and help to bring tension down (Please do not forget to activate the checkpoints! You need to butt smash them upon arrival.).
At the end of each stage, you will be met by a boss that is in possession of one of the precious ingredients you need to make the ultimate dessert and satisfy Master Etna or a rare item to help retrieve Master Enta’s panties. The bosses are fun and varied, although some of them are significantly more difficult than others. The rhythm tends to be 1) break down the shield with butt smashes until they are vulnerable and 2) unleash an ungodly fury of attacks to whittle down their health. Rinse and repeat while staying alive.
Clearly it is easier said than done, as Prinny 1 & 2 are pretty unforgiving in their battles. Most of the time, it is a matter of good luck and praiseworthy RNG to take out bosses in a single try. Usually, you have to spend one of your many lives learning the rhythm and also getting that lucky shot. Not an ideal way to fight bosses, but the game gives you way more than enough lives to handle it.
But I do need to pause on that note, because the difficulty settings in these games are insane. In Prinny 1, there are only two options, one that gives you three points of health and the hellish difficulty that is single-hit deaths, similar to the Contra series. As for Prinny 2, those same two options are available, but thankfully they added a baby difficulty for those who need to wear diapers and take a lot of extra hits. The differing difficulties offer a lot for players looking for an extreme challenge, but for those looking for a casual platforming experience, even baby mode is not going to hold your hand much.
One complaint that exists in the first game and was rectified in the second was saving. In the first game, there is no real explanation about how to save the game, and it was a pain to figure out. Basically, you need to collect a blue orb from a boss and then talk to a blue-colored ghost in the main village that will turn back into a Prinny and allow you to save. Yeah. You had to find a way to save, and it was not explained at all. In Prinny 2, you still need to bring that blue orb to the village, but it is given to you in the tutorial stage at the beginning of the game. Why it is done this way is beyond me.
Speaking of the orbs, there are many more of these spread out around the levels that serve the purpose of reviving fallen villagers back at the main village. Like the save Prinny, these other NPCs offer you tons of unlockables, such as detailed reports on monsters, an extensive record of your personal stats, and soundtrack tweaking to name a few. On top of these orbs, stages also have hidden Lucky Dolls which can be submitted for a chance to win special prices. This means that the stages you play hide a whole lot more than what you initially see, and those secondary missions to find the orbs and Lucky Dolls adds so much more to the experience.
Prinny 1 & 2: Exploded and Reloaded are two tough as nails games. It is oftentimes unforgiving and painfully frustrating, but there is a certain charm about how it handles itself that keeps the player committed and wanting more. Each passing failure inspired me to try again instead of giving up, and that alone should speak for the quality of the gameplay.
Since this is a Disgaea spinoff series, Prinny 1 & 2: Exploded and Reloaded is chock full with great music! The variety across the many stages is incredible and appreciated. Never once did I feel like I was listening to the same songs over and over, and I also never had a feeling of dislike for any song that came my way.
But the highlight of the audio is absolutely the voice acting. The Prinny, Master Enta, and the many bosses and NPCs are so wonderfully executed, and the amount of times I laughed at the conversations the Prinny were having because of the perfect timing of jokes and the excellent use of nuance was too much to count. I can praise the writing team all day long, but a story poorly told can be damning. This is absolutely not the case for Prinny 1 & 2.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE
Since these games were both initially released on the PSP, the graphics are nothing to write home about. Sure, they are improved from the original games, but they still very much look and feel like PSP games. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but some of the enemy models and areas in stages look like they suffer from the limitations of the console they were initially made for. The sprites for the main characters definitely look cute, but as you play the games, you can definitely sense the age by its visuals.
And this may be because of the limitations, but both games perform flawlessly. I did not notice any latency or bugs in my entire playthroughs.
In regard to value, this is honestly a very difficult part to review, because pricing for this is a bit bizarre. If you buy the physical copy that contains both games, it will cost you $59.99, a top-tier new release price tag. However, if you buy these individually on the eShop, they will cost you $19.99 each. As I was playing and reviewing the games, a $20 price tag for each sounded perfect, so I thought the retail price for both games would be $39.99. Unfortunately, to my surprise, this is one of those circumstances where buying the games separately is by far the better option.
I would also advise those on the fence to buy one of them and try it out. It is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, and I think a $20 price tag is a great entry price to see if this Prinny series is for you.
For $20, both Prinny 1 & 2 offer a ton of game, lots of replay value, loads of secrets and things to find, and hilarious stories that will entertain from beginning to end. Clearly these games are for a niche market, but if you are a fan of action platformers and Disgaea, then look no further. Prinny 1 & 2: Exploded and Reloaded has your back.
Prinny 1 & 2: Exploded and Reloaded Review provided by NintendoLink
Review also available on OpenCritic
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Engine Software, Nippon Ichi Software
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Price: $59.99 (Or $19.99 each), £17.99 each, €19.99 each
Game Size: 826 MB & 1.2 GB
Hilarious stories that do a great job carrying a bizarre premise
Fun, varied, and challenging boss battles
Great soundtrack and even better voice acting
Jumping mechanics can be a pain
Difficulty can be unforgiving, even at easiest difficulty
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.