Some of the PlayStation 3’s biggest franchises have made the transition to Sony’s handheld device in recent years. Entries like Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid, God of War, ModNation Racers and LittleBigPlanet are all coming or already available on the PSP, meaning our favorite games are playable on the go. These titles have been met with varying success, but in general, if you own a PSP, there are some essentials to own. So, needless to say we were a bit sceptical about how a PlayStation Network game (first released on the PS3) would transfer over to the PSP. We had even more trepidation since the game in question, Fat Princess, was all about the online experience, and the PSP isn’t necessarily known for having the best online community. However, after playing Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake, we are glad Sony has added yet another must have game to our PSP collection.
Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is essentially the PSP version of the PSN game, Fat Princess. Fistful of Cake comes with some added features, including an extended single player campaign, but has all the “jump in and play” online ideals as its PS3 counterpart. Developed by SuperVillian Studios, Fistful of Cake pits two teams (the Red team and the Blue team) against one another in a medieval romp. The goal is to rescue your team’s princess from the enemy’s castle. This would be a lot easier had your opponents not stuffed her full of cake (hence the name). It’ll take an army to get her back into your castle. The good news is your team can do the same thing to your opponents.
It should go without saying that if you liked Fat Princess, you’ll like the PSP version. If you don’t have a lot of knowledge about the games, we’ll give you a brief introduction. As mentioned earlier, the PSP version is very similar to the PS3 version, but there are some differences. The similarities, however, mean you’ll be playing in a cartoonish strategy world, filled with mages, workers, warriors, and tubby princesses.
Fistful of Cakes comes equipped with an extended storyline, more maps, and additional multiplayer game modes. The single player campaign (the “Play with Yourself” mode) includes three different game modes, names the Legend of the Fat Princess that features 15 storybook levels. See, the game is told as a fairytale story with a delightful narrator who has a comforting British accent. The other modes in the single player campaign include Mess About, giving you the chance to play a single campaign, and Gladiate, which acts as an endurance test of sorts. Gladiate sends you through waves of opponents, seeing how long you can fair as different classes – workers, mages, priests, rangers, and warriors.
While the single player mode is designed to teach you how to play the game, it’s done in a way that’s not just “press this button to attack,” or “carry the princess this way to win the game.” No, the actual story isn’t all that important, but what is important is how the story is presented.
The level select screen appears like your favorite childhood fairytale. As you choose your level, the narration kicks in, telling you a little bit about the upcoming level, and why the princess is getting so fat. Once in the game, you’ll have different objectives to win, although they mostly revolve around bringing someone (usually the princess) back to your castle. Within the actual gameplay, you’ll have the ability to change character classes at the drop of a hat (literally). To change classes, five total, all you have to do is pick up the hat corresponding with the different class. These hats are placed in your castle, so they aren’t hard to find. Since the game is on the PSP, it can be hard to tell what is happening onscreen. All the prompted actions can be difficult to see, and we frequently found ourselves distracted trying to read what to do next.
Workers will gather raw materials to strengthen your castle and captured buildings, while classes like warriors and mages will attack the enemy. The gameplay is really easy to learn but tough to master and the controls are basic enough where you won’t get caught up during fast matches.
After you’ve had a chance to learn how to play, you’ll want to jump into the game’s bread ‘n butter multiplayer. The PSP version’s online multiplayer is scaled down compared to the PS3 version. Instead of 32 player bouts, matches are limited to eight players. This makes sense, beyond the PSP’s power, because the screen would get quite crowded with too many people. You can play games by setting up your own via Ad hoc or find a new game through infrastructure.
Sadly, our experience online in the “Play With Others” was not that great. The problem we ran into was finding matches initially. We haven’t had any problem lately finding games to “jump in,” but the games aren’t always populated properly – some players dropping in and out too frequently. We also found some glitches while playing online, which were mostly attributed to delays in the loading screens.
The online multiplayer campaigns include several enjoyable modes. Before you jump in and play, however, you’ll have the opportunity to construct your own avatar. It’s a pretty basic character customizer, but definitely needed in an online game like this. There are a total of eight campaigns, four more than the PS3 version. Multiplayer game modes include Rescue the Princess, Snatch ‘n Grab, Team Deathmatch, Invasion, Jailbreak, Demolition, Grim Reaper and Queen’s Rule. The modes are all self-explanatory and have you performing different actions involving transporting the princess. Grim Reaper is a bit different, though. Here, you get to wear Death’s hat, and you get the ability to one-shot other players. Of course, everyone else is trying to kill you, and if and when they finally succeed, your hat becomes available for someone else to utilize.
The audio is superb and fits the game perfectly. The avatar’s voices are hilarious. As mentioned before, one of our favorite parts of the game is the British narrator. We should also point out that the game is available at the great price of $19.99 USD, making it quite the bargain.
As we didn’t always have the best experience online, we have to question how well the online community will support Fistful of Cake. If it evolves and more people play, then there could be some great potential here. As it stands, however, Fistful of Cake is still a worthy and enjoyable purchase, though unless things pick up on the online front, it may not possess the longevity we had hoped for.