I’ll be honest, when I saw the title that I’d be reviewing next was called “Penny Punching Princess,” I was pretty skeptical. It doesn’t exactly sound like the type of game I’d find myself playing of my own accord, but it turns out you shouldn’t always judge a game by it’s title. Penny Punching Princess is a game that lends itself to old-school arcade beat-’em-ups, and does so fairly well, and with a unique twist that I can definitely say adds a whole new level to the standard beat-’em-up I wasn’t at all expecting.
Penny Punching Princess describes it’s world as one ruled entirely by money. “Money makes power, and smart spending makes victory!” As far as the actual story past this, it’s a bit… Jumbled. The general gist is that the princess, our protagonist, has lost all of her royal fortune to the Dragoloan Family. From here, you go on a quest to get your money back, beating the hell out of skeletons, dragons, imps and more along the way. Outside of that, there really isn’t much, and this forms up what I think the game lacks most; a story with any depth or real importance. I didn’t really feel at all invested in the story, and while that isn’t really a big deal in a game like this, with it toting a $40 price tag, it would’ve been nice to have.
Gameplay is where Penny Punching Princess shines. It plays like a regular top-down beat-’em-up, where you’re running through various levels beating up enemies and taking their stuff. The twist, however, comes in the form of a simple calculator. With this calculator, and the money you gain from chests and combat, you can bribe enemies, traps, doors and more to do your bidding. Enemies who are bribed will join your kingdom, give you assists in combat, and even help craft armor and weapons in game. Traps can be used to deal major damage to tough enemies, and are almost a necessity with how difficult the game gets after a few levels. The use of bribery as a combat tactic combined with special moves like Ninja Dash and Hail Bullet makes the combat in this game quite interesting, if a little repetitive later on. My biggest complaint is actually geared more towards progression, with the creation of armor and weapons relying on which enemies you capture, and skill points for upgrades being fairly difficult to obtain. This makes the game drag on longer than I think it really should, and solely because of the grinding you have to do to beat the levels after the difficulty spikes. If the game was a bit less repetitive, I don’t think it’d have many other issues outside of the bland level design. While backdrops and set pieces change, I always felt like I was running through the same few levels in some capacity or another. A little bit of surprise goes a long way, and I didn’t ever really feel that at all with these dungeons.
Overall, I do think Penny Punching Princess is fairly good. It has a unique concept added into the usual brawler formula, and it makes it much more interesting than I would’ve expected. The repetition and lack of unique levels does take it’s toll, however, and I found myself getting bored fairly quick. If you’re alright with grinding and repetitive levels, then I’d say this is probably worth picking up, but if you aren’t so sure, I’d say to make like the games titular princess and pinch your pennies for awhile until the price drops on this one.