A lot can be made about the game's difficulty. I bring it up as both a warning to gamers who frustrate easy and as a challenge to anybody who fancies themselves to be a master of old school games. I found that the game ramps up the difficulty nicely, giving you a chance to figure everything out in the first couple of levels and then turning into the maddening frustration-fest that it becomes. But don't get me wrong, while I use the word "frustration" to describe Prinny's adventure, I never felt like the challenge was too much to bear. I found this game to be significantly less unfair than Capcom's recent Mega Man 9, a game that seems dead set on making you break your control in anger.
Yes these levels certainly are difficult, but they aren't impossible. But Prinny does a couple of smart things to minimize the anger you'll have from constantly dying. For one thing, each level features check points that are close together. This splits up the levels rather nicely, allowing you to focus on only one tough platforming exercise at a time. Another reason is the fact that you start with 1,000 lives. Sure it sucks to miss a platform or get hit too many times, but it's not as bad when you know that you still have hundreds of lives and can try it until you get it right. These two things turn this insanely difficult game into a manageable affair.
When we're not talking about the game's extreme difficulty we're talking about how good it looks. This is, bar none, Nippon Ichi Software's best looking PSP game. Not only are each of the game's levels unique, but they're full of tiny details that give every inch of this game a personal touch. And it's not just the levels; the various enemies are also full of details and expressive animations. I was also impressed with the different bosses, which come in all shapes and sizes. These boss battles feel like they dropped right out of the 1980s, they are full of patterns that you will have to memorize. From beginning to end, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? is full of amazing production value.
What really sells this game is the game's sense of humor. All of the different Prinnies speak at a high over-the-top octave, while constantly calling people "dood". They yell their lines and have expressive emotions. They have ludicrous conversations with the different bosses and cower in terror at every given opportunity. Prinny is a deeply flawed character, but you can't help but love him. It's on the fiftieth or so "dood" reference that I really started to love the guy, and that was only a few minutes into the game. Needless to say, Prinny is an endearing character that you really want to see succeed in his quest to become a hero.
On top of just being an incredibly fun 2D action game, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? comes with a the CD soundtrack and exclusive Penny Arcade comic. The soundtrack is nice, and really helps to remind me how good the music was throughout the game. On a side note, this is the second portable game I've played this month to come with the CD soundtrack (the other being Legacy of Y's: Books I & II on the Nintendo DS). I really hope that this is a continuing trend.
Music aside, Prinny is a phenomenal action game that manages to channel the best of the 1980s platforming games in one spectacular PSP game. Yes the game is hard, but with a thousand lives you should be able to make each and every one of the levels. With so many different paths this game is full of replay, and that's what you want in a portable game. I really had a great time with Prinny and hope that he's here to stay, dood.
Hey dood, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? proves to be one of the best 2D action games on the PSP. It's an action game full of great characters, funny writing and plenty of floating platforms. Throw in some devilishly clever level designs and a non-linear story, and you have a game that you'll want to replay over and over again!
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