Save Point

Money can buy everything except “love”, “friendship” and “exp points”.

Good Idea, Bad Execution August 23, 2009

Filed under: Specific games — haounomiko @ 5:51 am
Tags: ,

I know it’s been ages since I’ve posted in this blog, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have things to say about video games. So I’m going to defy the irrational little voice in my head saying, “No! It’s been too long, so you shouldn’t post in here!” and do it anyway.

I’ve been playing Steal Princess, which is cute until the gameplay starts. It’s a puzzle game with a fun premise and a promising beginning, as well as an anime intro that visually resembles the love child of Cowboy Bebop’s and Utena’s but has bland music. Unfortunately, after coasting along for a bit, the fun stopped on a dime.

The game is about a female thief who has to become a hero and rescue a kidnapped prince, which is refreshing; and although the title makes no sense in context, I can imagine wanting to use “princess” instead of “prince” to attract little girls who might enjoy a game with a glamorous female protagonist. It’s silly and fourth-wall-breaky, and that was fun at first– but once I got into the puzzle levels, the incessant banter of the characters started to drive me nuts. It interrupted my gameplay for many dialogue boxes of predictable, repetitious wisecracks that are meant to lighten up exposition about the game controls but don’t actually explain them very well. The same joke is only funny so many times. Still, I could have put up with that if the gameplay had been good– which it was, but only for a little while.

It was fun for the first few levels, and then it abruptly became not fun for the sole reason that the controls are awful. If I used the buttons I couldn’t choose where to retarget my whip, and if I used the stylus it didn’t always register my tap even when I think I hit the target dead-on (which is why I hate stylus-based reflex challenges to begin with). My stylus tap wouldn’t register half the time, and then I’d fall into the water and have to start the level over again. To begin with, I’m not thrilled with puzzle games being so dependent on reflex tasks– but when the controls aren’t registering input on a time-sensitive task, that just instantly kills the fun.

Well, that was that. Steal Princess: how to convince little girls that games aren’t fun and they’re no good at them.