Fat Princess: Fistfull of Cake - PSP Review
In a time when political correctness is rife, to the extent where children's songs have been changed to protect a gay laughing kookaburra, it's refreshing to see Titan Studios stick it to the man with their Fat Princess series. Taking the traditional capture-the-flag gameplay style and cloaking it with obese cake-stuffing royalty, Fat Princess on the PS3 was a well-received multiplayer gory mess. Almost a year later, the title has been shrunk down and made available for the PSP with the release of Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake. While the great gameplay from the first title is back again, the portability of the PSP version unfortunately lets this title down.
|Now that's one Fat Princess!|
For those unfamiliar with Fat Princess' gameplay, it focuses on a multiplayer capture-the-flag style, but replaces your traditional flag with a whale of a princess who has a penchant for cake. So, while you are trying to steal your princes back from your opponents, they can stuff her full of cake to make her fatter and hence slower to carry. And of course the converse is true also, with your team stuffing your opponents' princess full of cake while your they attempt to carry her away.
The 6 character classes from Fat Princess have returned in Fistful of Cake, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Classes range from the standard villager, a quick-running character without any special abilities, to the priest who can heal friendly units and drain enemies' life. Given the strong team-based focus of the Fistful of Cake, a balanced mix of classes is required in order for your team to arise victorious and return with your princess in tow. Also, unlike most other class-based games where you may only change class between lives, here classes can be changed mid-battle by picking up a hat of the relevant class; either from dead soldiers on the battlefield, or from the hat machine within your own castle.
|Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is out on PSP.|
To introduce both newbies and experienced Fat Princess fans to Fistful of Cake, there's a single-player mode (aptly titled "Play with yourself" on the menu screen *giggles*) which is stylishly backed by a fairytale story-book presentation, complete with plenty of internet meme-based captions. Single player will allow you to unlock additional options and customization modes, but the multiplayer modes (both online multiplayer and single-player with bots) are where the breadth of this game lies.
|We have a winner!|
So if team-based multiplayer is what Fistful of Cake is all about, then surely there's a simple yet innovative way to get your message across to your fellow team members? Sadly not. No voice chat makes communication within your team hard, pretty much impossible to get your point across to the rest of your team (unless you're playing in the same room with an ad-hoc/infrastructure network). This is a big downer for the gameplay as compared to the PS3 version, and using additional buttons for sending canned orders/commands to your teammates would have been a welcome compromise. Even with the addition of a new grim reaper mode; lack of communication prevents ordered ganging up against the one-hit-kill abilities of whoever possesses the grim reaper hat; instead letting chaos ensue. As a final irk, while the PSP is generally better suited to games with a quick pick-up-and-play vibe to them (being a portable hand-held and all), rounds of Fistful of Cake unfortunately last a little too long, with many games going for well over half-an hour.
|Fat Princess on PSP.|
Visually, Fistful of Cake has successfully preserved the character and charm from Fat Princess almost flawlessly. The 3D cell-shaded chibi-style characters perfectly complement the oversized princesses, together with bucket-loads of blood to balance out the cutseyness. Granted, the models aren't the most complicated that the PSP's ever seen, however it suits the style perfectly (and detail zoom-ins are kept to a minimum by the fixed camera position), and the frame rate is kept consistently high as a result.
|Visuals in Fat Princess PSP are decent.|
As with Fat Princess, the audio in Fistful of Cake suits the fairytale theme to a tee, with scores sounding like they've been ripped straight from something as G-rated as Shrek… save for the hacking, slashing and blood-curdling screams that is. While certain audio clips and effects will be recycled a little too often during a match, on the whole the team at Titan Studios have done well adding a large variety of humorous samples.
To wrap up, Fistful of Cake is a good game, which technically is a faithful port of its older brother PS3 version; however the features that didn't make the transition (such as the aforementioned voice comms) really let the multiplayer component of this game down which is a real big shame; given that multiplayer is what Fat Princess is all about, and I suppose that's what it comes down to; if Fistul of Cake was the first in the series, it would have scored much higher, but knowing that Fat Princess pulls it all together in a more complete package shows that perhaps this is best left to the PS3.
|The Princess sits on her throne!|
Final Note: While Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is currently a fair game at $49.95 on the Australian PSN Store, it can be picked up for less than half that on the US PSN Store, which makes this a guaranteed steal at this price; so head over there now and do your PSP a favour! (or you can buy the game cheap through our sponsors Play-Asia linked at the top of the review - Dave)
Review By: Chris Gobbett
Talk about Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake in this forum topic now.
|GRAPHICS||Simple and functional, but oozing character at the same time.||81%|
|SOUND||Sounds cutesy until the blood starts flowing!||82%|
|GAMEPLAY||No voice comms and average-intelligence bots let this down.||65%|
|VALUE||If you have mates with PSPs, there's loads of fun to be had. Not so much so if you're hanging out for the online gameplay.||72%|
|OVERALL||Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is a blast to play if you are new to the series, or need your Fat Princess fix on the run, but the online component of the game is lacking compared to its PS3 sibling due to team communications issues. ||70%|