If you ever found yourself sat in work or on a bus or train thinking, “Do you know what I want? I want an action RPG with cute pixel art, a fun sound track and a heavy nihilistic and anti-capitalistic sense of humour!” Well, if you are in the handful that may have said that over the years, Penny-Punching Princess may be the RPG that you have been waiting for. The game has buckets of charm from the word go. Its art style is endearing and vivid, and the soundtrack is great sounding and suitably fun in terms of a presentation package. In fact, this is the biggest strength of Penny Punching Princess as Nippon Ichi know exactly what they want to achieve with the franchises they create. Everything from the aforementioned art style and sound track to the character design of the princess and enemies to the offbeat cynical humour is cohesive.
The game sees its royal protagonist brawling and buying her way through a series of dungeons. These areas made up of several pathways with battle zones scattered around the map. The game’s fighting system is clear and straight forward, with a light attack (which can be hit repeatedly for an easy light combo), a heavy attack (which can be charged to do more damage), a push back attack and a dodge roll as part of your arsenal. It is pretty standard fare, and it’s only when we add the princesses bribe system in that the game steps away from its comfortable surroundings.
You can bribe any enemy by using the calculator button. Once you have targeted an enemy, you simply tap in its fee and it can be stored for later use as a power up. For example, if you were to bribe a dragon it would cost you 500 coins. When you use the power up in battle, your new dragon friend will appear and use a large flame attack to all the enemies on screen. One of the things I found most enjoyable about Penny-Punching Princess was seeing what an enemy’s attack would be when I encountered an enemy for the first time. Nippon Ichi have included a nice variety of enemy types, from the usual candidates such as dragons and skeletons, to the slightly less standard projectile spitting onion.