Games inspired by fairy tales have always been an interesting subject for me. What’s even more fascinating about this latest entry from Nippon Ichi is that it borrows heavily from Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and is told through storybook style. Allow me to whisk you away into a magical world inhabited by a Liar Princess and a Blind Prince where monsters and animals are basically humans in different forms. It is a fairy tale, after all.
Title: The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Available On: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Game Provided By NIS America for the Purpose of This Review
The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince begins with a monstrous wolf sitting atop a hill and singing in the light of the moon. She has a beautiful singing voice, and it has attracted the attention of the Prince of a nearby castle. Every night, he arrives at the bottom of the hill to listen to the sweet serenade, and when it’s over, he shows his admiration through applause. The wolf begins loving the attention, and so in her mind, she is now singing for whomever this is at the bottom of the hill. One night, the Prince decides he wants to see who this voice belongs to, so he begins climbing. When he reaches the top, the wolf panics and quickly slashes at his face, clawing out both of his eyes and blinding him.
Feeling terrible, she rushes off to see the Witch of the Woods in order to get the Prince his vision back. But she can’t guide him to the Witch while still being a monster, so a deal must be made. In order for her to transform into a beautiful Princess and get closer to the Prince, she must give up something of great importance to her. That being her wonderful singing voice.
Thus, the events of this fairy tale are now underway. All of that happens in the opening moments of the game, and it’s necessary to know as we continue on in this review. Reason being, it’s crucial to the gameplay of the actual game. The Princess can guide the Prince by holding his hand through the stages. He jumps when she jumps, and it becomes a clever puzzle-platformer that will sometimes require a bit of trial and error after just a few levels in. The Prince can be left alone if no enemies are around in order to solve certain puzzles by standing on switches or platforms.
If enemies are around, the Princess will need to transform back into her wolf form in order to engage in combat. Simply slashing her claws will take out all enemies with just a few hits. The combat is extremely simplistic, but the game is more about the exploration and the puzzle solving than it is about deep and rewarding combat mechanics. There will be times when quickly switching between the Princess and her wolf form will be necessary, as remember, the wolf cannot hold the hand of the Prince. Only the Princess can.
Cutesy but dark is a perfect way to describe the aesthetic of The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince. Featuring darker tones to the art palette and a hand-drawn look to the graphics, the game is gorgeous. This is made even more apparent during the games few cutscenes when the storybook style really shines at its brightest.
The different designs of each section of the forest get more intricate as you progress throughout the story, but unfortunately, it never felt as if the game was presenting anything new to players. The same few puzzles are scattered about across the game, and once you know how to solve them on a basic level, it just becomes a matter of figuring out a small twist that has been added to try and layer in a bit of difficulty. Besides a few times, the puzzles were quick to solve and the game is incredibly easy. In terms of game length, it also isn’t very long, as an average playthrough can be done in 8 hours or less depending on how fast the puzzles are solved.
A few collectibles can be found, such as petals from a flower and actual flowers themselves which can then be handed off to the Prince. These two items encourage players to fully explore sections of each stage which would otherwise be pointless to go through if you weren’t of the collecting type. I started off wanting to find everything, but by about halfway through, stopped caring as it just didn’t feel rewarding enough to seek out anything other than the main story.
As mentioned, the game is rather easy. But the developers took things one step further, which was a weird design choice in my opinion. After spending roughly ten minutes in a given stage, you are presented with the option of skipping it entirely to move on to the next cutscene or area. I was surprised to see this option in there, as I felt there wasn’t anything truly capable of impeding the progress of most gamers. If you do happen to get stuck somewhere though or just want to really breeze through the game for story purposes, know that this option is included.
The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince falls just short of being truly special. There’s enough to like here in order to be fun for a one-time playthrough. I kept hoping the story would open up more, maybe explore areas outside of the forest or meet more interesting characters along the way. We do come across a few different types of species before reaching the Witch, but nothing that truly added anything to the overall narrative or focus of the game. While that may be disappointing to some, there is enough to warrant a playthrough to see the gorgeous graphics and experience the heartwarming fairy tale. After playing through A Rose in the Twilight and now this, I think Nippon Ichi is close to formulating a game using this style that will really break the mold and be great. For now, the latest entry is just good, but I’m glad I had the pleasure of playing through it.
7.0 / 10