The Princess Guide (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Eric Ace 23.06.2019

Review for The Princess Guide on Nintendo Switch

NIS/NISA has had quite a history of JRPGs, arguably being a major force behind the PS2 and PS3 powerhouse JRPG line-up. Never backing down from trying new ideas in the genre, some of the games it produced are among the highest acclaimed ones. As of late, NIS has fallen on hard financial times, which may or may not be related to a general decline in the production of its games, and is an unfortunate full circle for the company that was once very well regarded. The Princess Guide is its latest attempt at producing a novel JRPG, and an attempt to arrest its decline.

There is very little out this about this, so given the odd dearth of information regarding The Princess Guide in general, it likely does not bode well for NIS/NISA, as even bad press is better than no press. Centred around the player being a knight of renown who tires of the battlefield and decides to commit his life to instead raising princesses., this alternates between a strategy overworld, an action-RPG battle system, and a loose visual novel story narrative. Coming out swinging, the game sets a very high bar, and gives the impression of a rare treasure. Throwing the player right into battle, splashed across the background is the knight's internal dialogue. Thinking about the futility of war, and the irony of faceless soldiers lying dead before him, it's easy to feel impressed with the nuance, and in some ways delicacy the game was handling death and fighting.

Screenshot for The Princess Guide on Nintendo Switch

This first part serves as a tutorial of the battle systems, and unfortunately the cracks start appearing very quickly. To be blunt, the complexity of the battle system is staggering given that ultimately it can be played as a button masher. Showing various moves and how to command the squad of soldiers under you, this throws everything at you in an extremely short period of time. Despite a 'guide' in the menu these important commands are not included in the slightest. Battles involve a small random map that the player and his squad of six soldiers run around on, encountering enemies and doing battle. There are a few different commands, such as a basic sword slash, a minor ranged attack, and a special. Other buttons send commands to the soldiers. Depending on location, button, and which 'mode' you are in, the soldiers do different things. The idea of commanding a minor squad is rare in the genre, and while seeming very cool, was not pulled off effectively at all.

The major issues stem from how abstruse the combat and command system is. There are two different modes of commands: a 'command' and a 'battle' mode, in which your button presses do different things. It is needlessly complex as there is not a pattern to what can be done in one mode or the other. For example the player's super move can only be done in one of the modes, and likewise the soldiers actually only fight in one mode as well, standing around uselessly in the other. Outside of battle, the world map is a type of simple strategy game where players send their various commanders to locations to advance the story or fight enemies. There is a type of endurance stat that apparently is included, but it is so high and recharges so fast it does not actually affect much. The story is advanced by moving into the next location marked; otherwise one can merely wait and fight randomly spawning enemies until they are ready.

Screenshot for The Princess Guide on Nintendo Switch

Another unnecessarily dense system is the entire princess management system. Despite the name of the game and the entire premise, it is woefully shallow in terms of interaction, and other parts are so convoluted despite what really should have been very easy. Interaction with the princess usually involves a small story section then merely picking whether to 'praise' or 'scold' her. Both produce a single line response that does not change the story and cheapens the whole experience. The rest of this menu really deserved a tutorial or something as despite what it looks like is very hard to decipher. There are two different types of 'Materia' that can be equipped, a knowledge and a bonus one. What is so confusing about this is for example the princess will be equipped with one, you equip another one which places the former back into the menu, but now the former sometimes can be re-equipped sometimes it can't. Further there is a learning of new Materia but this was never explained either, as while playing this critic learned 'Princess Ambition lv 2' ten separate times which either had an unknown effect or was some sort of bug.

Screenshot for The Princess Guide on Nintendo Switch

The story is very lacklustre, descending into tropes almost immediately. While it is nice seeing characters talking in moving portraits, they literally look like they are seizing while talking due to some odd accelerated animation they endure while doing so. Yours truly legitimately thought his game was bugged, and had to look online to confirm the rapid movement and bouncing was in fact in other people's game. None of the systems tie together very well, as well. Perhaps one of the worst parts of the whole experience is that there is not a traditional levelling up of your commanders. Furthermore, there is no clue to the very severe random difficulty spikes in enemies. One enemy group can be beaten with mere mashing on 'A,' the very next enemy group has the potential to one-hit kill, and even advanced hit-and-run tactics still makes it nearly impossible to beat them.

Overall, there is next to nothing keeping a player going in here. The battle system is an absolute wreck; the story is simplistic, despite the nuance shown during the tutorial; the levelling and weapons systems leave almost everything to be desired. What is frustrating is that with some minor changes and streamlining to about everything, the game actually would probably be fairly decent. Without overhauling the story it was never going to be that great, but as it is now, leaves so much to be desired.

Screenshot for The Princess Guide on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


For fans of NISA/NIS games in general, this is a complete let-down. None of the systems work well or are even that interesting. The story is bland, the combat unnecessarily complex and unfulfilling, and the lack of conventional progression against scaling difficulty results in an experience infuriating all the way around. Nearly everything is far more complex than it needs to be, from issuing battle commands, to simply trying to know what is being equipped or what effect is has. If one had to choose between one word to describe the whole experience this would be a battle between 'frustrating' and 'disappointing.'


Nippon Ichi


NIS America





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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