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PSP Fanboy hands-on: Prinny: Is It Okay If I am the Main Character?

Disgaea fans probably jumped in excitement upon hearing the news that Prinnies would be getting their own game for PSP. Prinny: Is It Okay If I Am The Main Character? is the aptly cute pseudo-2D side-scroller which is also being released in North America. While fans may be squealing in delight over that, here's one more tidbit that's going to make your day: you can play the game now off a demo on the Japanese PS Store. If you can't download it or just plain old stuck at work and can't get to it until you're at home, then we're providing our very own impressions for your convenience.

Getting right into it, the demo was a short, one-level adventure taking us through scenery we've seen in screenshots previously (namely the one posted above). As you can see, the environmental objects are 3D models and there will be times when certain actions will cause the camera to shift into this 3D perspective; however, the game is mostly in the 2D perspective, side-scrolling from left to right. Before you start the level you'll be given two optional difficulties: either a "one-hit you're dead" game or a "three-hit chance." The number of hits you can take will be displayed by icons placed in the upper left corner of the screen. If you die, you'll use up a life point which are all displayed in the bottom left.

Control-wise, Prinny has a standard setup. You jump with the 'x' button, tap it twice to execute a double jump; attack with the square button; the circle button makes Prinny spin around and get dizzy (not sure what this does); and triangle is used to pick up objects on the playing field. Making a jump and then tapping the attack button will cause Prinny to attack with energy waves pointed towards the ground (this is the move seen in the initial screenshot). It's pretty good in taking out enemies from afar.

Making a jump and then holding down the 'x' button together with 'down' on the d-pad will cause Prinny to make a butt stomp. This is a useful move which can be performed over enemies and temporarily stun them, or it can be used to break open respawning checkpoints in case of death. If you've taken the "one-hit you're dead" setting, then opening these checkpoints is essential as the game can be considerably tough. If you've taken the three-hit option, then things are incredibly easy and you won't feel the pressure as much.

The element that makes the "one-hit death" game so difficult is that the level design isn't particularly that great. There will be times where it's just impossible not to get hit and it can be frustrating to have to replay a section over and over again. Tie that in with the fact that the jump command is not all too responsive in the first place and this 2D side-scrolling platformer feels a bit clunky in one's hands. However, with the three-hit allowance, these flaws can be overlooked as you can take that seemingly unavoidable hit and still survive to get to the next checkpoint.

What it goes down for in slightly unresponsive controls, Prinny makes up in stage interactivity. In the short demo we played, you could pick up bombs with the triangle button and chuck them at enemies by tapping the triangle button again. You could also ride inside vehicles like tanks for a set amount of time. The combo meter, I couldn't honestly figure out, but it did flash and something happened once I opened up a respawn point.

Anyway, the game looks gorgeous and the designs are the same that fans have grown to love. Prinny has a lot of diverse enemy sprites fans may recognize. There are ground units, flying units, even ones that spit out stuff. As for the gameplay overall, if you've ever played the Mega Man X series then expect this game to play a lot like that (just with the added 3D look). Disgaea fans will surely want to at least scout this out, even if it is out of their regular S-RPG routine.

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