|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SuperVillain Studios / Titan Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 4, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Fat Princess for PS3 is one of my favorite PSN titles. The well-balanced, 16-player team-based multiplayer, hilarious presentation and concept, and simple gameplay mechanics made it a rather fun title. Unfortunately, Fat Princess did suffer mightily from one major issue: multiplayer games are drag-out brawls; more tests of endurance than strategic ability. Though Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake for PSP has even more content, this fundamental flaw has not been ameliorated. Additionally, a lack of voice chat, slow, unpredictable connections, and ho-hum single-player offerings take the shine off what otherwise is a quite robust portable package.
Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is essentially identical to its console predecessor; if you really enjoyed what was on offer on the PS3, you'll be happy to know that the portable version is practically its equal. Rather than changing up the formula substantially, the development team simply ported over the first game and added a few new multiplayer modes and a lengthier single-player story.
For those of you that have never experienced the face-stuffing fun of the first title, gameplay here consists of team-based multiplayer battles where humans and AI-controlled characters go at it. Though there are eight gameplay variations to choose from, the majority of play revolves around CTF-like game modes, but instead of a flag, you'll have to capture the other side's princess and hold her in your dungeon for a set amount of time without losing your princess. In order to make things difficult for the other team, you can fatten up the princesses with magical cake. The morbidly obese monarchs are much more difficult to abscond with due to their sheer weight, so it will take multiple opponents to carry her away with any kind of efficiency.
You can also up the challenge for your competitors, and tip the balance in favor of your team, by collecting resources (wood and metal). Stockpiling specific amounts of each resource will allow workers to build fortifications and shrines, manufacture siege implements (ladders, launch pads, etc.), and upgrade hat machines to give your team important secondary abilities. In the Fat Princess series, players are able to switch between five different upgradeable classes at the drop of a hat. That's right; picking up hats back at your castle, or even up off the corpse-strewn battlefield, will let you take up a specific class role.
Rangers are bowmen that are lethal from a distance and will eventually wield muskets. The horned Warriors have a large reservoir of health, making them durable melee fighters that are especially deadly with their swords and poleaxes. Workers are for harvesting resources, building, and upgrading, though eventually they'll get pretty tough once they learn demolitions. Mages use ice and fire spells, both as area-of-effect and as missile attacks, to take out foes from range, playing a similar role to the Ranger. Finally, Priests can either boost friendly units' health or sap enemy vitality, making them essential support units.
The five classes in Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake offer varied roles in battle, which makes fighting fun by keeping things fresh. These are the same classes featured in the original, and, in spite of the fact they're extremely well-balanced, the addition of a few more roles would have been nice. In fact, the old classes are so balanced that it's virtually impossible to get any real advantage over the competition. While this keeps things fair, it also makes multiplayer games incredibly lengthy. These marathon sessions make wins satisfying, but they also make losses quite bitter to swallow. Moreover, such arduous battles are not particularly well-suited to gaming on the go. For starters, this game will blow through your battery if you're not tethered to an outlet. Also, this game is only truly enjoyable whilst playing against other humans, so you'll have to play in close proximity to a Wi-Fi hotspot or travel with friends that also own the game for Ad Hoc action.