How do you fit obese royalty into your pocket? It’s a question that has bugged us at Gamer Limit for quite some time. Judging by Martin and Simon’s ex-girlfriends we thought they would have the answer, but sadly they weren’t princesses. Lucky for us that Fat Princess, the well received PlayStation Network title, has now been released on Sony’s PSP with the subtitle Fistful of Cake. Perhaps we’ll know now.
The original Fat Princess was a riotous online team game that, once it sorted out its early network problems, had a lot to give. Moving a game that relies so much on its online element to a platform that isn’t exactly famous for games of this ilk does appear to be a risk. So with that said, just how well does it weigh up to its beefier home console counterpart?
Although we generally call home console versions the “bigger brother” to handheld iterations, in this case, Fistful of Cake actually has more content. Six new maps, new multiplayer game types and a nicely extended single player story have been added by developers Supervillain Studios.
The premise of Fat Princess is simple: the red castle has the blue princess, and the blue castle has the red princess. Each team tries to rescue their respective royalty while keeping their prisoner. To make it harder for your enemies’ princess to be returned to her throne, you can ply them with cake to make them fatter, and thus heavier to carry. It’s like an awesome game of capture the flag with cake, and we all know that everything is better with cake.
Visually, the game retains the same storybook style as the PS3 version, albeit with some expected graphical compromise in the finer details. This compromise isn’t bothersome unless you’re a real graphics nerd, however. Animations are all intact and it really does seem like the game has had to make very few changes. The audio is simply superb, from the music to the posh English voiceover man, it is absolutely stellar.
The single player story, Legend of the Fat Princess, is accompanied by some entertaining story book cut scenes that paint the picture of how the princesses came to be so fat, and the subsequent quest to find a cake that could satisfy their hunger. It’s like the quest for the Holy Grail and Supersize Me were intertwined with a medieval war story. Epic stuff.
The single player campaign isn’t just to make players giggle on the bus, its 15 chapters also serve as a nice induction into the mechanics of princess rescue. Because there are so many classes to master, it really is best for new players to start here before attempting to hit the online arena.
One complaint about the story mode is that Chapter 3 takes place on the Deep Fried map, a level that is so stressful to play that it should come with a health warning. The lava that surrounds the area is fair enough, but the rising and lowering tide system means you’ll often be stuck on an island, or worse, melted by the lava. Trying to carry your objective back to the castle on this convoluted map is such a chore. Thankfully, once it’s out the way, the game picks up again.
Once you’re seasoned enough with the single player campaign, a quick trip into the online mode should be next on the list. I was initially worried that the online community for a PSP game would be lacking, fortunately my concern was swept away after logging in multiple times and finding a game within seconds, literally seconds. I logged in at different times of day just to see, and each time there was always a game on offer.
Fistful of Cake’s multiplayer is slightly different to the 32 player matches offered up on PS3. Numbers are limited to eight in total, with eight AI controlled players to make up the numbers. While on paper this sounds mildly disappointing, it actually helps focus the matches, giving your actions much more gravity than they would with 23 other players running around too. Good players will find their role stand out, and that they can single-handedly affect the outcome of a game; the same can also be said for poor players.
The new game modes add even more variety to what was already an impressive line up. Particularly fun is Grim Reaper, where one player takes on Death’s hood and scythe, killing enemies with one hit. The other players must gang up to take down the reaping player before fighting to pick up the hood. It’s non-stop action, and perfectly suited to the quick pick-up-and-play ethos of a portable console. As if to confirm the greatness of this mode, it takes place on a map called “Undercaker”.
With such a team-focused game, the lack of voice chat to organise tactics is a blow. Being able to co-ordinate an offensive on an opposing castle is one of the finest moments that the PS3 version of Fat Princess can deliver. Sadly, that doesn’t happen here. The small-sided matches help alleviate this, but after a poor match it’ll be something that grinds.
Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is a tremendous achievement by Supervillain Studios, making a portable iteration of a console game that has even more content packed into it. Hideo Kojima said he wanted his latest PSP Metal Gear game to be up to the standard of his home console releases; Fat Princess has already realised this. While it isn’t perfect, for those who can get their PSPs online it is a joy to play. Go on and try a slice – you might like it.
Everything is presented nicely, down to the creatively titled menus. It really does look comparable to the PS3 version.
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Can be played for a few minutes or a few hours. Each character class is well balanced and never feels frustrating. If only that Deep Fried map was purged from the game.
Absolutely brilliant. Music is catchy and the voiceover is hilariously fantastic. I Found myself whistling the title music long after the PSP had been switched off.
As long as the community stays active, then it can last for as long as you like. If you can't get online, then half the experience is lost.
A brilliant package that has, amazingly, squeezed in more content than its predecessor. If you can get your PSP online, then there is no reason why this won't last for a very long time. Top stuff.