Prinny 1•2: Exploded and Reloaded is a competent port of a mostly uncomplicated game. The mechanics are fairly simple and are more in line with your classic platformer than the more complex “Metroidvania” titles platforming fans have grown to know and love. That doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, however.
Specific mechanics unique to Prinny 1•2 include how the game manages lives and stages. Players are given 1,000 lives, which are shown at the bottom of the screen. Each Prinny can take four hits before that Prinny explodes and is replaced by another–due to details linked to the Disgaea series lore. Stages change slightly based on the Hour mechanic which is progressed through, you guessed it, progression through the game’s story. Players are given ten “hours” to complete their objective, with time passing with stage completion.
Despite the overall lack of complexity, with a few new bells and whistles added in Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!, there is still a challenge to be found in Prinny 1•2’s gameplay. Sidescrolling stages are accompanied by enemies shooting projectiles or making their rounds running over it’s terrain. Bosses can sometimes be a series of frustrating, but fun, mechanics all bundled into one. For example, the boss at the Magma Hideout during the morning proved to be a prime example of this. It was frustrating at first, especially when losing Prinnys quickly to a barrage of projectiles, but after figuring out how to successfully win the fight by using a specific mechanic, everything just clicked.
And that’s what Prinny 1•2 is largely about, at least mechanically. You go through stages honing your skills to eventually figure out the best way to take down a boss. Once you know, you know, and the game becomes a little bit easier. That being said, if you feel like Prinny 1•2 might be a little unfair, you can change the difficulty at any time after beating the tutorial stage.
Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero comes with two difficulties, Standard and Hell’s Finest. Likewise, Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! comes with three difficulties—-Baby Mode, Standard, and Hell’s Finest. These can be changed at your hub between missions, so if you’re finding a stage a little too challenging or hard on your hands, you have it accommodate to meet your needs at any time.
Both Prinny 1•2 Exploded and Reloaded come with extra game modes that can be accessed upon completing the main scenario. These add more boss fights to the game, which increase the overall longevity of the titles if you’re interested in sinking a few more hours into the platformer. Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! has a beefier endgame than the first Prinny title. This includes a special mode involving Asagi, another character from the Disgaea series.
Asagi Wars: Vengeance of Asagi is available to play after you’ve beaten the main scenario of Prinny 2 and lets players play as a Prinny version of Asagi. This mode features different weapons you can switch between to suit a somewhat different style of gameplay.
Prinny 1•2 offers dual audio, with Japanese or English voice tracks available for players to listen to. I spent my time with Japanese audio, since that is what I have been most familiar with through my exposure to the Disgaea series. And as always, the Japanese voice acting is stellar and remains consistent even through this spinoff series.
And speaking of Disgaea, Prinny 1•2 has the same nonsensical and absurd storytelling Disgaea fans have grown to know and love. It puts players in the shoes of the Prinnys, human souls that have been sent to the Netherworld to serve out their sentence. The first game revolves around 1,000 Prinnys being sent to retrieve the Ultra Desert for Overlord Etna, and the second game tasks another 1,000 Prinnys into retrieving her stolen underwear.
The story is fairly straightforward and isn’t at all complex in any way. It’s there for a good time, not a long time, and caters to Disgaea fans. Filled to the brim with familiar faces and fanservice, it is clear who this game was made for first and foremost. Those who aren’t familiar with the series may not enjoy it or get much out of the story in Prinny 1•2 Exploded and Reloaded. However, if you’re not interested in the story at all and are looking for a sidescroller with bite-sized levels that is easy to pick up and put down (mostly due to short stage length and it being on the Nintendo Switch), this game may be for you.
At the end of the day Prinny 1•2: Exploded and Reloaded is a charming, if sometimes crude, platformer that comes with the signature style and flair Disgaea fans have known and loved for years. Even if you’re mostly unfamiliar with the series, the animations for the Prinny’s themselves and for the enemies on every stage are still a delight and the music is jovial and easy to listen to for hours on end.
However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this game to anyone who might be approaching platformers as a whole for the first time. It can at times be frustrating with steep difficulty curves later on, even with the adjusted difficulties. However, this will be a must for any Disgaea fan – especially those who are fans of the series’ mascot.