The 3DS has been out for a while now, but it is still hard to pick up a game that has any form of staying power. Sure there are the odd titles, normally directly from Nintendo, that manage to entertain for a while—none of them have that must buy feeling. That was, of course, until Code of Princess came out.
The gameplay is simple enough, 2D beat ‘em up with basic RPG elements, but the nuances that really make the difference. It might be easy enough to mash the B button and power through the larger chunk of the story missions, but it is when playing through the challenges that the game really starts to require the player to learn the depth of the controls. Hidden underneath is something akin to fighting game controls, from each character knowing a slew of different combos and special attacks to balancing the right time to use the characters magic to do double damage. It might not seem like much at first but the deeper into the game one delves the easier it is to see just how much fun it really can be.
Also, as an interesting note, the game allows the players to unlock almost every single sprite that is used in the game as a playable character in the bonus modes. Playing through the game with the main character that is clearly destined to save the world is all well and good, but beating the last boss on the hardest difficulty with an eight year-old girl is nothing short of designed bragging rights. What ends up coming out is hidden depths of the game that seem to be willing to reward the player the more that they want to invest in it.
On a side note it should be pointed out that the music in the game is oddly addictive, and one of the only true complaints is that the soundtrack that comes with the game simply isn’t full enough. It is an odd experience when I had to bring my 3DS over to a friend’s apartment simply to play the shop music so he could fully understand why I couldn’t get it out of my brain. While that might be the most catchy tune it does set the rest of the soundtrack up, and is helped along the way by a fully voice acted story.
Sometimes there is exactly the right game at exactly the right time, for me that was Code of Princess. While on the surface it might look like a standard 2D beat ‘em up that takes heavy influence from Guardian Heroes it ends up feeling like so much more. For a system that was starving for something that fitted the format almost perfectly, Code of Princess is closer to a saving grace than most people will give it credit for. Sadly it seems to be such an obscure genre and contain such a niche appeal it might be looked over by most people.