The Liar Princess & The Blind Prince (PlayStation 4)

The Liar Princess & The Blind Prince is the latest sprite based adventure from Nippon Ichi, keeping some elements from previous games and utilising them within a pop-up fairytale styled storybook, complete with a prince, a princess and a witch. Does the game offer a typically fairytale ‘happy ever after’? lets take a look…

The game opens with a wolf singing atop a hill, who eventually receives a keen listener each night by the kingdoms young prince. One night the prince decides to climb the hill to see who the beautiful voice belongs to, but in her confusion the wolf lashes out at the prince and leaves him blinded at the foot of the hill. With this the blinded prince is banished to a tower at the castle, and upon seeing this for herself, the wolf visits the witch of the forst to strike a deal. In exchange for her singing voice the wolf becomes a princess, and in doing so heads back to the castle to free the prince. The wolf hopes that in leading the prince into the forest as a princess, he can meet the witch & restore his eyesight.

To be honest the story was what kept me going through the first couple of chapters till the puzzles picked up, as it offered some great moments as you watch the relationship between the two play out. It’s good to see the developer explore as much as they could for the story, the prince is blind after all so has no clue the princess is actually the wolf that blinded him for example, and it makes for a worthwhile story to play through. During the stages you can also find collectibles which offer some bonuses. The golden leaves are the ones to seek as they offer additional backstory for the characters and artwork showing how they came to be designed.

Given the fairytale leanings of the story, the style of the presentation follows a similar route – though it has a much darker tone than you expect given the setting. The stages themselves are always a little eerie, and although there isn’t much variety within each chapter, each new chapter brings a new area & look to the section of the forest you’re currently walking through. There’s a good amount of detail to the environments, but its the characters that steal the show. The princess in particular shares some common design traits between her two forms, detailed in the collectibles you find, and the expressions her & the Prince show when interacting are a nice touch.

Each is done in a rough hand drawn style, complete with thick black lines and scribbled colouring, which gives the game the look of a pop-up storybook – perfectly complementing the fairytale theme. The audio side of things doesn’t quite keep up, with the story narrated and BGM seemingly looping, but the overall package is a generally pleasing one. The narration is generally a good one, though isn’t dubbed, and fits the theme of the game as the narrator tells the story instead of the characters.

Going in I expected little more than a side scrolling platformer with the odd puzzle, but was pleasantly surprised by the games focus on puzzles. As the prince is blind you will need to hold his hand to move through the levels, occasionally telling him to move a short distance on his own, and this can only be done as the princess. As the princess you are just as frail as the prince and death is instant, but you can transform back into the wolf at any time. Playing as the wolf has its benefits, mainly due to the extra physicality for attacking enemies & reaching higher areas, but for obvious reasons the prince won’t react to the wolf.

All this comes into play as you make your way through the stages, as each puzzle you come across requiring something a little different. Things get a little more elaborate as you progress, a few chin stroking moments are sure to occur, but in reality the game isn’t really difficult. You’ll quickly breeze through the first few chapters of the game, especially if you skip collectibles, and it can leave the game feeling a little short. Things get tougher and longer once you pass the midway point though, and once you start getting the collectible bonuses you’ll keep an eye out for them going forward if invested into the world enough.

The Liar Princess & The Blind prince is a nice package overall, offering a beautiful hand drawn style, challenging enough puzzle platforming and a story that’s both tragic & heartwarming. It could certainly have lasted a bit longer, and had a little extra variety to the stages, but at the end of the day it carries on the good work by Nippon ichi in the puzzle platforming arena and would make a worthwhile distraction if you’re seeking something different.

8/10

Pros

  • Beautiful 2D graphics
  • Good story that keeps you invested
  • Interesting collectibles
  • Great use of characters for puzzles

 

Cons

  • Stages within chapters can lack variety
  • First couple of chapters are a breeze
  • Could maybe be a bit longer
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Geoffrey Wright

Rocking the world of gaming since the Atari 2600, has now settled down to bask in the warmth of moe. Moe is life for a moe connoisseur.