With my console gaming era now in its twilight years, it takes a simple and fun breed of game to lure me away from the twin pursuits of anime and manga. In this vein, a few days were spent happily carving a bloody path through the ranks of generic soldiers in the Utawarerumono mini-game, and happily, when that game was played to death, I was alerted to the existence of Duo Princess, a fan created sequel to Threads of Fate.
Unlike the Utaware-battler, Duo Princess isn’t a straight beat-‘em-up, instead it’s more of an action-adventure game. There’s a meagre selection of two characters to choose from- Mint, who is geared more towards melee attacks, and Maya, the mage type. My personal playing style favours Mint, but whilst you have to be far more careful when using Maya due to her lower HP, her superior magic abilities make her more worthy than she first appears.
So far, then, so good- pick your character, blast a few monsters, collect items- what more do you need? Well unfortunately, the game does have a few drawbacks. The default controls use the letter keys for everything (movement included, which I find slows my reaction times and reduces accuracy. I have manged to open what looks like a game configuration screen, but as you can see, it isn’t exactly easy to comprehend.
My second problem is saving; despite the presence of a ‘replay’ (i.e. load game) option, I’m none the wiser as to how to save in-game. Assistance in both these areas would be most welcome since I’m fed up with playing the boat and forest level over and over J
Playing the game: a brief guide
Default controls (1p mode)
Movement: W,D,S and A correspond to Up, Right, Down and Left respectively
AttacK: J. Hit an enemy multiple times in succession to build up your combo score.
Magic: U. MP regenerates with time.
Switch Magic type: I. You’ll start with a light arrow magic attack, but picking up magic scrolls will increase your options.
Food: restores HP.
Gold and jewels: Gold is found in boxes and is worth 1000 points; jewels appear when you defeat enemies and are worth 100 points each.
Level One: Start of venture
Your chosen character will start on the deck of a ship; work your way down to the bottom level, destroying yellow blob monsters and plants as you go. Pick up the magic scroll on deck to gain a water element attack.
Once you reach the lowest level, a killer dolphin will break through the hull and become wedged inside the ship. Throw everything you’ve got at it, but watch out for its water wave attack- once you seeing it sucking in energy, run away, and then turn back and jump over the oncoming wave to avoid getting hit. Mint can probably get by even if you can’t be bothered to dodge, but Maya will definitely need to be on her toes.
Level Two: Forest of Perplexity
Your ship has sunk, and you’ve been washed up on a mysterious island, so now you must make your way through this lengthy forest section. As well as the yellow blobs and plants of before, this level will throw hedgehogs (they’ll rush you with a spiky knock back attack), giant yellow blobs and a handful of grey blobs at you, often in great number. You’ll have to brush off the old platforming skills from time to time in order to jump across rivers, and there’s another magic scroll to be had.
At the end of the level, a giant rock golem will appear- he’s fast, strong, and marks the furthest I’ve progressed in the game so far.