Publisher - NIS America
Developer - Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
Review Platform - Nintendo Switch
Release Date - March 26, 2019
Also available - PS4
Princess Guide is a strategy action RPG. The game has players in first person training a princess of their choice out of four. Each princess has a distinct personality and style that players have a choice to their liking. Players groom their chosen princess to her full potential and help the princess achieve her personal goal in her unique story.
In the world of Relic Islands our main character is a renowned person with lots of accomplishments and searches for the next meaningful thing to do. This person becomes an instructor for princesses to mold them into wonderful leaders. Each princess requests the instructor's knowledge for specific personal reasons.
INSTRUCTOR - Wandering teacher bound to no nation.
***Players are able to customize their character: gender, voice (6), personality (4), and face (9).
LILIARTIE - Princess of the Alixon Kingdom
Role: Captain of the Kingsguard
Goal: Defeat evil dragons and unite the people of her kingdom
Combat Style: Swings a giant ace performing wide areal attacks
VERONICA - Tyrant of the Rusty Magic Guild
Role: Leader of the most magical guild in the continent
Goal: Use relics, ancient technology, to dominate the world
Combat Style: Destructive magical spells
MONOMARIA - Duchess of Yudaria
Role: Leader of mercenaries
Goal: Restore the Yudaria Family of the Mercantile Trade Coalition
Combat Style: Gatling gun
ALPANA - Dragon Princess of North Kamara Faith
Role: Priestess of the North Kamara Faith
Goal: Seeks harmony between all races in the continent
Combat Style: Quick attacks with her twin daggers coupled with flight
There is a lot to do in this game in order to properly guide these princesses. Let's point out they all have 5 ATTRIBUTES: strength, wisdom, spirit, moral, and faith. Increasing these attributes improves our princess' attacks, defense, and unlocks more abilities. To increase these attributes players need to gain KNOWLEDGE MATERIA through lessons. Lessons are played out through DIRECT GUIDANCE which consists a set of lessons correlated with specific Knowledge Materia. Players choose lessons to improve specific attributes and the princesses learn these lessons through battles and missions. During story mode players will be directed to either PRAISE or SCOLD the princess which will depend on her personality, mood, or state of battle. Depending on the player's choice stats can improve or unlock bonuses. During battles Praise can restore health and Scold can improve defense but bonuses can change depending on the situation.
When training a princess players are to complete missions and battles. Missions are either going to be part of the story or act as side quests. Side missions are optional but players would still want to execute them to gain Materia for the princess. Missions can consists multiple battles and a time limit and when a mission has both it is really helpful to make multiple squads and dispatch them throughout the map to conquer the battles and complete the mission within the time limit.
Squads consist a commander and three soldiers. In the beginning the instructor and princess are only available commanders. Later on after gaining money players can purchase mercenary commanders (crusader, magus, artillery, pilot) plus soldiers and create up to four squads.
Crusader: Close-range melee attacks
Magus: Powerful magical attacks
Artillery: Ranged weapnry and explosives
Pilot: Flight and spear attacks
During battles players control the commander+squad to explore the area and defeat enemies within a time limit. While fighting against enemies players can fight with the commander or together with the squad. Squads can perform different formations from strategies unlocked through dominance. Dominance is filled as enemies are defeated or by occupying relics (occupying relics is easier). The more dominance, the more strategies unlocks, the more control over the battlefield.
Relics are placed throughout the floor and by occupying relics players gain dominance of the floor unlocking strategies for the squad. Relics are technology from an ancient civilization that can be used as or traps or heal HP. An unoccupied relic can be harmful to the squad so its safer to take over a relic asap.
The more relics occupied the faster players gain dominance unlocking more strategies squads can perform. Squads can attack together dealing damage to many enemies in the area but limited to four per soldier. In the picture below the yellow box focuses on the soldiers and the amount of synchronized attacks. The red box show cases the different strategies and the number of uses available. Number of attacks and uses of strategies are limited on purpose to challenge players: make players think and plan their way to victory.
After teaching the princess Knowledge Materia players gain SKILL POINTS used to improve the instructor's own combat capabilities. Skill points added can be used to upgrade: HP, AP, attack, defense, 1-4 skills, etc. As the story progresses the game becomes more challenging with stronger enemies there fore it would be wise to make the instructor stronger also because the instructor is still a commander managing his/her own squad fighting in battles during missions.
Weapons can also help the commanders become stronger. Weapons can either be acquired via drops after defeating enemies or enhanced at the workshop. Enhancement costs money and the options will depend on Knowledge Materia the princess has learned.
There is a lot of things players can or need to do in Princess Guide. Training princesses is like raising a digital pet. Players have control on the result of their princess and her story. A tip we learned from NIS America's website is depending on how the attribute faith has been improved is how the story will end. To improve faith players will need to accomplish lessons for Knowledge Materia connected to the attribute faith. Lessons are learned through missions, missions are done through battles, battles need to be conquered, to win battles commanders + soldiers need to be upgraded and well equipped, and to improve the squads players need to unlock bonuses from Direct Guidance with the princesses.... There is never a dull moment.
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