Review: Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!

Etna, fan-favorite Disgaea vixen, has a problem: her panties have been pilfered. This demon princess simply can’t stand for lingerie being lifted, so off fly 1000 Prinnies to retrieve the garments in question. And how are they going to go about it? By collecting rare items (soda cups, anyone?) and trapping the panty-raiding son-of-a-gun by using those gathered items as bait. It’s awkward, it’s hilarious, and it’s, well…expected. Welcome to Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!

Keep in mind that the game is centered around panties, so it’s best to remember to not take things completely seriously. Much like in the previous Disgaea spinoff, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?, this adventure eschews the dark themes of the popular strategy RPG and aims to please fans with plenty of tongue-in-cheek references, silly jokes, and harebrained schemes that remind us exactly why we love the adorable little Prinnies.

Don’t take this adorable little side-quest at face value, though. It may look innocent, but as far as difficulty goes, it’s downright insidious. The previous installment to the Prinny series was known for its crushing difficulty and this sequel does follow suit. However, its added “Baby Mode” should hit the spot for gamers fearful that they can’t stand up to the challenge… if only just barely. With the three difficulty modes measured by the number of hits your character can take before arriving at the ‘game over’ screen, Baby Mode is exactly how I stayed sane.

With each stage, you’re introduced to a target. Throughout six separate stages, you’ll fight plenty of bloodthirsty monsters that want nothing more than to have you for lunch. And they’ll have their way, over and over and over. And over again. In fact, even though you can brave those four hits in Baby Mode, don’t think for a second that Prinny 2 is any kind of walk in the park; by the third or fourth level you’ll be crying for your mommy unless you’re the sort of seasoned vet who can take Hard Mode like a champion and come back clamoring for more.

While you brave your way through each stage, you have one goal in mind: reaching the inevitable boss fight at the Final Castle. When you take the boss down, you learn which item you had been working so hard to obtain. Another item means that you’re one step closer to luring in the baddie who stole Master Etna’s prized panties, one step closer to the end of the game.

But there’s more than simple platforming and button-mashing required if you want to conquer this game. Prinnies may knock out enemies, hack and slash with swords, or throw knives. Land enough successful sequential hits and you’ll glow, doing added damage. This is especially useful in boss battles, where you’ll need to build your strategies around charged special moves. You’ll need to string together all of your different unique Prinny abilities in order to find victory. Wailing away with swords or staying at a distance just won’t cut it. The moves are integral to the process of making your army of Prinnies work for you.

Unfortunately, when it comes to movement, the Prinnies are not especially agile. The biggest issue I found in Prinny 2 stemmed from the fact that the Prinnies seem to be made out of shiny, slippery rubber. Over-jumping, the lack of any double jumping, and the “lightness” of your Prinny make landing on platforms and other locations ridiculously challenging. More often than not, you’ll overcompensate and simply skid off of a cliff to your death rather than reaching a platform that (in a game supposedly built around platforming) should be a cinch to hit. When I wasn’t bogged down with enemies I had trouble paring down, the jumping got me every time, frustrating me to the point that I needed to put the game down for a while before returning to it. The 1000 continues you receive? Yeah. You might end up needing every single one of them.

The good thing, though, is that you will keep coming back. Prinny 2’s blend of infectious humor, lighthearted action, and doggedly tough difficulty is addictive and the 2-D anime-inspired art style does the motif justice. The game is fast, frenetic, and overly silly, qualities that mesh well with the Prinnies. Lively music will have you scrambling to dig up an OST, and when you finally do reach the end of the game and nail a culprit for Master Etna, the fun doesn’t end. If you collect all of the Asagi Tickets that are scattered throughout the game, a separate game mode opens up: Asagi Wars.

Asagi, a black Prinny decked out in a contrasting white scarf, does battle with alternate versions of herself as bosses throughout each level, is equipped with some outlandish damage-dealing weapons, and gives you one more reason to keep the Prinny 2 UMD lodged within your PSP. It’s a fantastic added game mode and one that vets of the original Prinny will look upon rather fondly.

Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! is a side-scrolling throwback that classic gamers should definitely enjoy. From its distinctly Disgaea-flavored personality to its endless inside jokes, the game is a fun ride from start to finish…that is, if you can keep up the pace. The added “Baby Mode” will be a boon for players who couldn’t hack it in the first game, without ever dumbing the game down enough to make it a pushover. As for the overall game, it features the perfect amount of charm and personality to win you over. And if its first overture doesn’t work? It’s got 999 other ways to make you smile…

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