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Princess Fury Review

Princess Fury - IP Screenshot - 740611

It’s not everyday that a new 16-bit classic is introduced. But given the iPhone’s capabilities, you’d think there would be more games like Princess Fury.

Developed in the style of a side-scrolling brawler, Princess Fury is an action-packed button-masher that is overflowing with enemies. The graphics are pure 16-bit goodness (complete with excessive slowdown when too many enemies appear on screen – just like the good-old-days of gaming), and the boss battles are so frustrating you might be tempted to scream. Whether that sounds like fun or closer to a nightmare, anyone who plays this game will soon realize that if they had to spend $0.50 every time they wanted to click “retry,” they’d be out a ton of money.

Upon starting Princess Fury, players will instantly recognize the retro gameplay inspirations. In short, this game is Final Fight and Streets of Rages with a sword. RTS-style minions are thrown into the mix for added fun, but you don’t actually control their actions – they merely back you up in combat. To defend herself, the Princess can also unleash the power of lightning, fire, tornados, and other elements via skills that she can equip to her body. Interestingly, these powers do not need to be replenished with MP or some other point system. Players may use them repeatedly, but with one catch: each power must recharge itself after use. Most recharge in five to 10 seconds, which is fast enough to make you feel ultra-powerful during the early stages of the game. During a boss battle, however, 10 seconds could be the difference between life and death.

When the going gets tough, players have two options: keep fighting the boss until they get lucky and win, or go re-play old levels for additional EXP. Though you can’t check the vital details of the Princess or her minions (the experience that you earn is only shown at the end of a battle; the rest, including the total amount of experience that you have, remains a mystery), you can still benefit from playing through levels that you have already conquered.

This is where the game could divide players into two groups: those who can’t stop playing and those who lose the urge to come back. Princess Fury is very entertaining, and it creates that entertainment with only one attack button (which is obviously not a button at all, but instead a circular icon that appears on the screen and may be mashed repeatedly without flaw, just like a real button). It stands to reason that players could be turned off by the frame rate, which drops tremendously whenever 12 or more enemies and/or minions appear on the screen together. But slowdown isn’t a deterrent here – not when the game is so addictive, and not when you consider that many games of the SNES/Genesis era did the same thing.

However, when players face a boss that’s so tough they must level up before they can win (which means re-playing an old stage six or seven times to earn additional EXP), some boredom can occur. When that same boss executes the same attack six times in a row – an act that is cheap and literally paralyzing to the Princess – it’s hard not to feel cheated.

Despite this significant flaw, I couldn’t stop playing Princess Fury, and I’m sure many other gamers will feel the same way. If you don’t mind the frustrations of cheap bosses and can appreciate the art of leveling up to get ahead, take a chance on this game. Princess Fury may be flawed, but it’s one of the best action titles to hit the iPhone, and is well worth the $1.99 download fee.

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Louis Bedigian
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