“Unless you puke, faint, or die, keep going!” -Jillian Michaels
Not since the inception of Ronald McDonald has morbid obesity been this fun. If you’re not offended by fat jokes, this game’s central concept is absolutely hilarious. Fat Princess is an action RTS developed by Titan Studios and released on the PlayStation 3. It plays out as a massive round of capture the flag, capable of supporting up to 32 players with online play and local co-op multiplayer.
Once upon a time, two princesses were playing in the Black Forest and they discover a giant slice of cake growing out of the ground. Unable to resist the allure of the desert, they gorge themselves. When their fathers, the kings, send out search parties to look for them, they find the princesses morbidly obese. They’ve become Black Forest hams! The kings are able to bring their daughters back to their castles, but they realize that the princesses now have insatiable appetites and all they wish to eat is the cursed cake of the forest.
But a glimmer of hope arrives when the red king receives a message that Prince Albert is coming to the kingdom to seek a bride. The king believes that should his daughter marry the prince, then the kiss of true love will dispel the curse of the cake and the princess will return to normal. Unfortunately, the other king receives the same message and has the same idea. Thus in the cover of night, the red king has his soldiers invade the blue king’s castle and kidnap the princess there.
But upon waking the next morning, he finds that his own daughter has been kidnapped as well. Now both fat princesses dwell in the dungeons of the enemy castle, and only a contest between the kings’ armies will show which princess in plight will be rescued first.
Standard gameplay is divided between a red team and a blue team with goal of the game to take back your princess from the opposing team’s dungeon, hoist her on the makeshift palanquin of your soldier’s shoulders and carry her back to the throne room in your own castle and then keep her there to win the match.
At first, this is incredibly easy. The damsels about to be in distress have the figures of anorexic Disney princesses. To fix that problem, and to seal their diagnosis of type VII “diabeetuhs” for the rest of their lives, players can have their soldiers carry slices of cake scattered throughout the wilderness and deliver the sweets to the salivating orifices of their resident princess. Force feeding her will sooner or later make her to inflate like a dirigible and the fatter she gets, the harder it will be for the opposing team to carry her back to their dungeon. Instead of one or two enemy soldiers being able to whisk off your princess, it will now require a whole group of them to heft the heavy heifer painstakingly back to their base. Be warned though. The royal behemoth requires a steady influx of cakes or the effects will begin to wear off. Why can’t losing weight work like that in real life?
A match begins with players occupying a castle with minimal defenses as a Villager, the starting character class. Other characters on your team will instantly run around, begin harvesting resources, defending the castle, switching classes, etc.
As the base class, the quick-footed Villagers can only take a few hits before expiring, but they can pick up and carry resources and move the fastest across the field. They can also slap enemies to make them drop whatever the opponent is carrying. However, I don’t think you’d get very far sticking with the Villager class.
That’s where the Hats come in. Throughout your castle are the Hat Machines which dispense red or blue head-wear. Each Hat is representative of one of the character classes in Fat Princess. Upon picking up a Hat, your character will change into a specific class. Hats can not only be found by machines in your castle but enemy soldiers also drop their Hats upon defeat, which means you can quickly and easily switch classes in the middle of the field, mid-battle.
The Worker class allows your character to wield and axe and pickax to chop down trees for lumber and mine for ore, valuable resources that the Worker can then use to upgrade your machines, build gates for the castle walls, or construct other contraptions like catapults, spring boards and ladders for invading the enemy castle. More importantly, Workers are in charge of building up your castle’s Hat Machines, upgrading them to allow access to advanced character classes for your cause. The advanced class for the Worker swaps out the axe for the bomb, which the Worker can then lob at your foes to devastating effect.
The Warrior class is the basic offensive class armed with a sword and shield. They are much meatier than the other classes and can take more hits than any other character before giving up the ghost. They can block with their shields. Their advanced class wields a huge glaive without the shield but both Warrior classes can charge up their weapons by holding down the attack button to strike with greater force.
Rangers are the ranged class, equipped with bow and arrows. Clever rangers can approach torches to change their arrows into fire arrows for additional damage. They can also charge up their attacks like the Warrior class. Rangers are more frail than the Warrior so it’s best to stay back behind the front line and loose arrows into the fray. The advanced class for Rangers allows them to use powerful blunderbusses with intense spread-shot power.
The Priest class are the healers of the game. They can swing away with their staves or lock on to friendly soldiers and heal their teammates. They can even charge up their healing for an AOE spell. The advanced class is the Dark Priest, which swaps out the good-two-shoes healing for vampiric corruption, sucking the life from their enemies one by one or draining a whole host of them with one big spell.
Then there’s the Mage class. Mages begin as fire wizards with purely offensive magical fireballs and tremendously long range. Like the priest, they can also charge up their attacks for a massive AOE spell. Fire becomes ice with their advanced class and ice wizards use magic that not only hurts enemies but slows them down. This is true both of their basic attack and also of their area of effect abilities.
With the “Fat Roles” DLC there are three additional classes. These cannot be upgrade into advanced classes. They are the Pirate, the Ninja and the Giant. The Pirate can fire cannonballs, the Ninja can turn invisible, and the huge Giant can crush groups of enemies and eat soldiers whole.
If you hope to save your royalty, and keep the enemy’s heiress safe in your dungeon, then you’ve got to scramble for the best resources and out “Cold War” the opposing team. It’s a battle of escalation. If you can get the better upgrades first, you may just be able to overwhelm the weaker enemy soldiers and bust into their castle for the victory. Capturing outposts, defensive towers scattered through the warzone, is also key as these become spawning points should you die, as well as safe havens for staving off the enemy horde. Further, a few items can be found like magic potions that will turn the tide by transforming enemies into chickens.
Fat Princess is fast-paced, unique, and sometimes frustratingly frenzied. Opposing teams can easily settle into a deadlock and then it’ll take some wit and expert maneuverability in order to win the day. Meanwhile, you’ve got plenty of classes, upgrades, hilarity and cartoonish violence to keep you company.
The 8-Bit Review
Fat Princess looks like a Saturday morning cartoon except for the laughably ridiculous amounts of blood that characters spill when they blow up on the battlefield. I mean we’re talking lakes of blood and body parts. It was actually pretty shocking at first but the game is built around humor, whether that concerns obesity or gore. It’s supposed to be comedy and it is pretty funny because of the contrast with its ultra-cute “hand drawn” visuals. I’m not sure this would bother anyone considering the amount of M rated games kids play these days, but there is a way to turn off the bloody gore if it’s too much for your stomach to handle. Beyond that subject, the environments and castles are pretty to look at and more colorful than a fairy tale book. The Hat Machines resemble something out of Dr. Seuss. The visuals are endearing and charming, though simplistic and not overly detailed.
This soundtrack actually isn’t too bad. Most of it is pretty generic with only one or two tracks that I found catchy and likeable. The soundtrack is a frenetic parody of the baroque period with plenty of harpsichord to go around. The two things that put the OST put above an average score is the narration by voice actor Tom Kane who sounds like he was having a good time recording his jokey lines, and the song that plays over the credits sequence: “I Like Big Butts”, Sir Mix-a-Lot. That was a pleasant surprise and an appropriate choice for Fat Princess. You other brothers can’t deny. Oh and yes there are tubas. This is about fat girls after all.
The real-time strategy gameplay is pretty good and it moves along faster than most RTS’s do, but there aren’t a whole lot of upgrade trees so its easy to max out quickly. You can mix up the gameplay with a few other modes. There’s the story mode “Legend of the Fat Princess” of course but there’s also Team Deathmatch (kill all the enemy soldiers, last one standing wins), Invasion (capture and hold more outposts than your opponent), Snatch ‘n Grab (imprison the enemy princess by kidnapping, first to three successful kidnaps wins), and Gladiate which is a solo mode in a coliseum (defeat 12 waves of enemies to win). Unfortunately, standard mode deadlock can be pretty awful and frustrating. It can feel like dashing yourself against a brick wall over and over and over again with neither side making much progress. Fat Princess is easy to pick up and its highly accessible, but there isn’t a whole lot of RTS depth to it. Seems more like trial and error. At least the ability to switch Hats anywhere in the field is a welcome innovation that keeps the action flowing.
The local co-op mode can be pretty fun and the game can support a lot of multiplayer action. The most I did was three players simultaneously. But without a split screen, things burn down into a shouting match pretty quickly. One guy wants to harvest lumber. One guy wants to pick up a Mage Hat. One guy wants to charge at the enemy. The screen can only zoom out so far. You do the math. It’s not awful if there’s some planning and cooperation, or if the players agree that only one of them will take charge. Then they can each utilize different classes to support each other. It’s fun and all but it can quickly become tiresome.
Online Play: 3/10
I did not enjoy playing online. This was mostly because the other human players I fought against knew how to time jumps just right so they could vault right over castle walls, right at the start of the match, and quickly get away with their princess without having to wait for any upgrading or crap like that. It’s quite frustrating that such a huge glitch was so widely known. I’m not sure how it’s done because I avoided learning it, as it sort of defeats the purpose of the game. How fun could it be if you can just waltz right past defenses put there to complicate things? Not fun at all, turns out. At least, not fun at all on the receiving end. Better stick with matches between groups of friends.
Fat Princess was pretty addictive to me for a short period of time. It’s engaging and bright and cheery and amusing, but it’s not too complex and I fairly quickly burned myself out on its standard mode. While it’s other modes are okay, it’s really the main dish that takes the cake, so getting tired of that meant there wasn’t much else to hold up the experience. But beyond that, Fat Princess is the kind of game I could (anyone could) pick up and set down at any time. It’s matches can be pretty short and there are a good amount of different maps, so it has some decent replay value.
Bizarrely comic, Fat Princess pokes fun at everything and never takes itself too seriously. It’s use of freakish obesity as a mechanic in what is essentially just capture the flag is really a unique addition to the world of video games. So while the medieval fantasy scene has been beaten like so many dead horses by the gaming industry, Fat Princess stands as a testament to what can be done with one silly idea over all of the mish-mash and gobbledegook of stereotypical high fantasy.
My Personal Grade: 7/10
Far Princess is a fairly enjoyable game with some basic RTS sensibilities and humorous hack and slash action. It embraces its exorbitant violence and obesity concept with all of the exuberant cheer of a children’s cartoon show. I guess there were some feminists up in arms about the “controversy” of princesses needing rescue and the depiction of overweight women, but you know how they are about finding controversy in everything. Some people just see controversy everywhere. Heck, that statement was probably controversial to someone somewhere with no friends! Sorry if that wasn’t particularly PC, but obviously this game isn’t about shaming anyone. It’s genuinely funny without being hateful or prejudiced. C’mon!
I would recommend Fat Princess to someone as a time-waster or as a likeable group game to have around when friends come over, though it isn’t likely to be a game that’s going to stick with you for the long run. Remember, this is about fat princesses. There is no running of any kind here. Weight a minute, one last fat joke: “Your princess is so fat when she told me her weight I thought she was giving me her phone number.” Ugh, I found that joke on the dollar menu…
Aggregated Score: 6.5