Review – Penny-Punching Princess

The intro cinematic of Penny-Punching Princess says we’re living in a world where any underleveled noob can rule as long as he/she has enough money to buy his/her way to victory. Would that be an analogy to the current situation with bigger games and microtransactions? Someone trying to make fun of capitalism? Am I overthinking this? Regardless of the developer’s intention, all I can say, and all I need to say, is that Penny-Punching Princess is a blast from start to finish.

Don’t mess with this lady

Penny-Punching Princess is a mixture between a brawler, an action RPG and a typical Dynasty Warriors game. Your objective in each level can be summarized as reaching the end while getting rid of every single enemy standing in your way. The way you’re going to do so is up to you, as you can either kill every single enemy or you can bribe them. Yep, Penny-Punching Princess lets you literally buy your way to the end of the level without any repercussions. In fact, the game wants you to collect coins and spend as much money as possible. You collect coins by either opening chests around the world or, the preferred way, by beating the living hell out of your opponents.

The combat system is simple. There is a quick attack button, a slow but heavier attack button, a special attack, a dodge mechanic and your trustworthy magical calculator. Said calculator is one of the game’s most important mechanics, as it is the way you bribe your enemies. You can either use them in battle as support attacks or leave them be in your army and turn them into citizens of your new kingdom. Think of it as a simplified Metal Gear recruitment mechanic; the bribe mechanic is your fulton, and the kingdom is your Mother Base. The more enemies you recruit, the more equipment and powerups you can research in order to improve your character’s stats. The game features some steep difficulty spikes at times, so you will probably grind a few levels in order to farm more foes for your kingdom. Thankfully, given how the combat is fun, replaying levels isn’t annoying, and you can even overlook the sometimes confusing controls.

You don’t say

Graphically, the game gets the job done but doesn’t wow. It features an adorable mix between 16-bit characters with simpler polygonal backgrounds. While the backgrounds aren’t exactly impressive, the characters are charming and varied enough. The game features some framerate issues, especially when there are tons of enemies onscreen (which more frequent than you think). The sound department is really worthy of praise, though, with very good background tunes, adorable character sound effects (think of it as cuter Banjo-Kazooie voice effects) and one heck of a great narrator. A man with a deep and polite voice who always steals the show whenever he appears during cutscenes.

Let’s get ready to rumble

One of the most pleasant surprises for the Switch so far this year, Penny-Punching Princess is an addictive brawler with a nice combat system, an interesting take on progression and a deliciously sarcastic sense of humor, all coupled with good visuals and soundtrack. Granted, it does feature some grinding segments which are a bit annoying, but the overall charm is so appealing and the gameplay so well-designed that it made me want to replay levels just for the sake of it. Capitalism can sometimes be a dangerous thing, but giving this princess your money isn’t!

Graphics: 7.5

A mixture of simple 16-bit characters thrown into slightly polygonal backgrounds. It gets the job done, even though there are occasional framerate hiccups.

Gameplay: 8.5

The combat mechanics are fast-paced and enjoyable, even if some moves are a bit confusing at first.

Sound: 8.5

A decent soundtrack, charming character sound effects and a hilarious narrator who simply steals the show whenever he’s around.

Fun Factor: 9.0

It may feature a bit of grinding, but there’s no denying Penny-Punching Princess features a great sense of humor, addictive combat mechanics and a nice progression system.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Reviewed on Switch.

Also available on: PS Vita

A copy of Penny-Punching Princess was provided by the publisher.