Code of Princess Hands-On: An Explosive Brawler

By Kris . June 7, 2012 . 6:43pm

At first glance, Code of Princess on the Nintendo 3DS looks a lot like Guardian Heroes, which was developed by the same team. It’s a side-scrolling brawler with three planes to jump in and out of (a lovely effect in 3D, by the way), and the way that it structures its story scenes are quite reminiscent of the Sega Saturn classic. However, the combat sets it apart.


Unlike Guardian Heroes, Code of Princess doesn’t use any fighting game-style inputs for special attacks. Instead, combat is based around combining directions with Light (B), Heavy (A), and Target (Y) attack buttons. Despite the lack of special attacks, the game’s combat was pretty flexible in my experience playing it on the E3 show floor this week.


Solange (the main character) carries a giant sword that is incredibly handy for juggling multiple enemies at once. The first enemies I encountered were a number of sentient, hopping turnips and an angry tree. Hopping into the front plane (the one with the most turnips), I cornered my foes, chaining a few light attacks into a heavy for a launcher. That’s about the time the tree hopped into my plane. Curious to see what it would do, I tried a target attack. A lock-on indicator appeared on the tree Solange lunged forward at it, knocking it back into a group of turnips, who all exploded.


I didn’t expect that the adorable forest creatures would be so combustible.


Knocking one enemy into another causes an explosion. Knocking an enemy into a group of enemies, as I’d done, blew up half of the screen. Solange was standing too close, and so, she took damage as well. As soon as I understood how this worked, I started trying to smash enemies into each other as much as I could, just for the spectacle of the ensuing carnage.


As more powerful enemies began showing up, I was forced to get a bit more tactical. While Code of Princess has two block buttons (L or R) that can be held to dodge back-and-forth between planes as well, I’ve always been a fan of more aggressive gameplay. So, when I noticed that Solange could parry any enemy attack (including projectiles and boss attacks) by hitting them at the right time, I decided that parries were much more fun than blocks, and began trying to match enemy attacks whenever I saw them coming. While Solange’s sword has a bit of a startup time that made projectiles hard to judge, timing-wise, a proper parry would knock the projectile back at its user.


Despite the parry and explosive knockbacks, there were so many enemies in the level I played that I started to get overwhelmed. Fortunately, X button is Burst, an ability that drains your character’s MP but doubles their attack power. Considering that Solange didn’t have any other abilities that cost MP (that I could find), this became my equalizer. The burst duration is pretty brief (possibly due to the fact that Solange currently had very few skill points invested in additional MP), but when it’s used properly, it can clear an entire screen. Considering that MP is constantly being regained, it was a handy desperation move.


Code of Princess will be released in North America by Atlus sometime this fall.


Food for Thought:

While most of my time was spent playing as Solange, I played a little bit as the thief Ali and the zombie/necromancer Zozo. While Ali was familiar aside from having bombs mapped to the heavy attack button, Zozo felt entirely different than Solange did, able to float in the air and fire projectiles everywhere. I didn’t really get a feel for her play-style, but I’m interested to see what it’s like in the future.

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  • DuskSharkEX

    So, it’s just those three in single player or are there more? (And yes, I know there’s loads of ’em in multiplayer.)

    • There’s four in single player–Zozoko, Solange, Ali and…one more. The pixie-looking chick. I forget her name.

      • Kris


        I didn’t get to play as her though… :(

        • RX79V

          To me, she is the most broken character in the game. 
          Definitely someone to use against a swarm of monsters.  

          How is the voice acting in the demo? Is it English/Japanese? A bit worried since every dialog in the game has voice acting. 

          • Kris

            To be completely honest, I couldn’t even hear the VA over the noise of the showfloor. No headphones ><

  • Crevox

    No fighting game style inputs? :( Does this mean less special attacks?

    • Julien_N

      According to the article, the game uses combinations of directionnal input with the three buttons, so it will be similar to Smash Bros, and while the movesets may not be as huge as in a regular fighting game, the attacks seem easier and more intuitive to pull off.

  • Sounds good. I can’t wait to see this for myself in person. Looks like a game that just looks better in real life, like no screen or video can do it justice.

  • kylehyde

    Certainly this is one of my most anticipated games for th 3DS. Atlus is blessing for every gamer that wanted to play games that normally the big publisher doesn’t pick.

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    Hah, was just playing some as I saw this. I really hope it sells well in the US. Didn’t expect this to get localized at all.

    • raymk

      U really didn’t? The people in japan said they wanted to release it in the west so I knew they’d find someone to help them out.

      • Hraesvelgr

        Well, a lot of Japanese developers say that they want their games to be released outside of Japan. Hell, a lot of them even actively look for someone to publish their games in Europe or North America, but it doesn’t always happen.

        • Locklear93

          This.  I seem to recall even the Senran Kagura producer saying something to the effect of releasing in the west if they could find a partner for it.  Doesn’t mean it’ll ever happen. :/


    All these Fatlus games…I must get a 3DS now.

  • …knocking it back into a group of turnips, who all exploded.

    What. Anyway, from the gameplay clips, I didn’t expect that at all. That adds a whole new mechanic to the fighting. Would you say that some characters are knockback centered? Or is that too far.

  • AzureNova

    My 3DS is going to be happy this fall ^_^

  • XypherCode

    hype! :D

  • doubletaco

    Is it less floaty/slow than it initially looked? Because holy crap it out-floated Virtua Fighter with the early gameplay videos.

    • Kris

      It’s very, very floaty (Zozo can actually float pretty much perpetually), but it’s fun! Not a very fast game unless you’re knocking people into each other and watching the explosions happen.

  • Maybe I can just ignore the wii u and focus on good games for the 3ds like this one!

  • Julien_N

    The more we know about this game, the more interesting it looks! =D
    Hopefully PAL regions will be able to play it sometime in the near future…

  • As long as i get to play as Zozo i’m all good~

  • Go2hell66

    I really am glad atlus decided to pick this up but no word on pal release?, if we could just get this along with Project X Zone i’d be more than happy. 

    btw is it just me or does Solange have the best outfit evar <3

    • usagi_san

      I hope there is a PAL release.

      OFF TOPIC: Concerning Project X Zone, I hear there are currently over 70 voice over cast members in the game.

      • FitzpatrickPhillips

        Yeeeah, Project X Zone ain’t happening unless Nintendo will release it with english voice overs, which is just as unrealistic as Nintendo working out licenses with said 70 JP voice overs.

        • British_Otaku

          I never consider working out licenses with voice actors to be a problem. I’ve noticed publishers say that crossovers like Tatsunoko vs Capcom (which got worldwide thankfully) are often out of question as they would have to contact the licensor in North America and Canada for an anime who could be different. And in the case of going to PAL Land, Europe could have one for every country not to mention Australia.

          Music is also an issue, I’ve seen many games or shows drop the original OST or intro as they obviously couldn’t pay enough.

          I’m willing to hear how keeping resources such as voice clips which you presumably pay for by line and not to be able to have the songs play in the game by region.

      • XiaomuArisu

         So….we will keep the jap.VAs,thats fine with me!

        • usagi_san

          I have to agree with @facebook-1786364591:disqus . Before I would’ve been optimistic but now I’m turning pessimistic. The 3DS’s region locking is doing it a lot more damage than helping it, this game makes it more apparent. 

          I feel the game will sell well in the opening week, but I can’t see it maintaining a FE-esque of sales week-by-week. A dual audio version would be out of the question, but considering many of the fans known some of these characters with their English counterparts wouldn’t deter some, but still expensive anyways. With all that being said, not everything will voiced, from what I’ve read.

          • XiaomuArisu

             Usagi the news monster/bunny strikes again!
            But seriously I am a optimist but I know that the chances are very slim that we will get this game.
            But hey Im gonna get Fire Emblem Awakening and pair the charactersXD
            …damn I love to pair.

          • usagi_san


            Nothing wrong with being an optimist. :D

            Exactly. At least FE: Awakening is confirmed for all western territories.

            Even I can’t wait to pair characters too. 

  • malek86

    The gameplay videos looked a bit too much on the slow side. Has this been changed in the final version, or is that just how the game is?

    • It IS slow as all hell. I actually played it straight after playing Senran Kagura and it’s amazing how slow CoP is in comparison. Not what I expected at all to be honest.

      • malek86

        Uhm… is the game still fun though?

        • cj_iwakura

          I’m sure it is.

        • I dunno, I guess I like fast-paced beat-em-ups more, so I prefer Senran Kagura hands down. I guess the Guardian Heroes concept hasn’t aged really well. To be fair I think this game is subject to a lot of blind hype.

          Famitsu gave it 8/8/7/7, and while I know people have completely stopped trusting their reviews, I agree with most of the comments the reviewers made.

          • raymk

            Well it is slow but its not really blind hype and most people know what their getting into.

        • FitzpatrickPhillips

          Extremely fun

      • FitzpatrickPhillips

        Senran Kagura is a little too fast with little to no impact to attacks. I prefer something like Streets of Rage 2 or CoP where you can feel that you’re making a difference with each attack. Makes everything much more satisfying. 

        • That’s true, CoP is definitely more “tactical” and old school in that regard. Senran Kagura does get more difficult in chapter three though, you can’t just mash through like you could in chapter one and the best part of chapter two.

  • This is very interesting news in the regard of the gameplay. Also I don’t care what anyone says, the main character’s (Solange) outfit is not that ideal in combat. All she has to do is get hit a few too many times or move the wrong way and the enemies she’s trying to fight are going to get a free topless show.

    • Says the person with an Athena icon… All jokes aside, her outfit a bit too much. Not really sexy when nothing is left up to the imagination. 

      •  -hugs Athena- Leave my super sexy special awesome goddess alone, she can wear what she wants u_u .

        Anyway her hands are the most armored, I’d be more concerned about losing some mammary glands or if someone is going to get Wandering Hands Syndrome.

        • AzureNova

          Yeah Kwame, leave my buddy Equinox alone =P XD

    • raymk

      Almost none of their outfits are ideal for combat not just hers.  I’d say only the 4 unlockable characters,the big guy,samurai,battle nun and cat are the only one’s who have and look like they can fight.

  • Solomon_Kano

    Yea, I’ll definitely be getting this. Still, as before, I’m not fond of Solange’s design. Yea, it’s a game, but she just looks ridiculous. Not even like the humorous kind of ridiculous, either. Ah well, sounds great.

  • nat_chan

    The sprites are so small, I kind of wonder if it will only be possible to enjoy this on a larger 3DS XL screen…
    Could you read the opponents’ moves well when you played the demo?

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