Overview – developed by Nippon Ichi Software and published by NIS America, Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! is the sequel to the brutal action platformer Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?. This is a HD remaster of the original PSP release, featuring a brand new story, characters, gameplay mechanics and even more punishing challenges. Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! is available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch, links to the game and official website will be available at the bottom of this review.
Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank NIS America for providing the copy of Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! used for this piece. The provision of this title has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions featured within are my own.
Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review, starting with the story. Please note, there are many systems and mechanics identical between both Prinny titles, if you haven’t read the review of Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?, you can do so (HERE). Also I will be calling the game and its previous installment Prinny 1 and Prinny 2 respectively, I will also be addressing the player character as Hero for brevity.
Story – set some time after the events of Prinny 1, the Demon Lord Etna is still the ruler of the Netherworld while the previous Overlord Laharl works towards reincarnation. One night, Etna discovers that someone had broken into the castle, stealing one of the most precious items in all of the Netherworld, her panties. So enraged by this, the Demon Lord summons her squad of 1000 Prinnies, giving them the Hero Scarf that prevents them from exploding and sending them on a deadly quest to reclaim her stolen panties.
Gameplay – Prinny 2 is fundamentally identical to the previous release, following the same gameplay formula and progression system with a few alterations that allow this title to stand out on its own. Just like Prinny 1, this is a brutally tough side scrolling action platformer, giving the player 1000 Prinnies to traverse stages filled with hazards, demonic enemies and deadly pitfalls.
The Hero can attack, jump and hip pound just like the previous game, with a special optional item that is available to the player after completing the tutorial stage. This item is the Netherworld Radish, a special item that grants auto rapid fire at the cost of reduced attack damage if activated. The special weapon will appear at the beginning of the stage for the player to pick up when active, lasting for the entirety of that stage.
Prinny 2 follows the same non-linear flow as its predecessor made up of a total of 10 stages, the player can choose any order they wish to take on the first six stages of the game, with the other story mode levels following a pre-determined structure. The difficulty altering day and night cycle also returns, with the challenge of stages altering depending on the time left on the countdown.
The checkpoints, boss gates and collectable items return with some new additions exclusive to Prinny 2 Here are some of the new features;
- Break System – fill up the combo gauge by attacking enemies and collecting items to activate BREAK, increasing attack power and granting temporary access to special attacks. The BREAK mode stays active until the Hero is either damaged or the meter is depleted.
- Desert Collection – collect sweets during stages, adding them to the counter present at the bottom of the screen while in menus. The collection of sweets does have a purpose, however I will be omitting that detail to prevent spoiling some of the special features.
- Baby Mode – this is a special difficulty mode for players who may struggle with the challenge present or just want to take it easy. Instead of the scarf as a health marker, the player has diapers in this mode, with other difficulty alterations present to assist the player. Due to this change, the standard difficulty gives two additional hits before death and Baby mode grants three.
- Action Switches – special switches appear in some stages that the player can hip-pound, activating special actions that include special attacks and item drops that stun enemies.
At the end of each stage, a cutscene plays out before the boss battle setting up the encounter. There are two types of boss battle, regular battles and SUPER DUPER DEMON BATTLES. The core difference between the two is the difficulty, with the Super Duper battles being just that a battle with a super demon of incredible difficulty. Battles with the super demon also include special gimmicks, separating them from the regular bosses making them stand out on their own.
There is however a major flaw with these battles, significant slowdown and frame drops that greatly impact the game. When an attack occurs that has the capability to fill the whole screen, like a beam, fire or explosions, the game can slow down to a crawl making it much tougher to effectively combat enemies. This is made worse when 3D renders and models are used for bosses or background elements.
Outside of the stages, the player has access to a variety of NPC characters to interact with at the castle. Most of these are unlocked by collecting orbs that have been scattered throughout the stages. I will be listing the core functions required to play the game, omitting the more unique NPC characters to prevent spoilers. The core functions are as follows;
- Save Manager – this Prinny allows you to save the game, the most important NPC to unlock during the game. Make sure to save often as lost data can be a real pain.
- Professor Lucky and Assistant – give the Assistant lucky dolls that have been found hidden in each stage, earning special rewards as different milestones are met.
- Runaway Manager – follow the reaper and try to escape the hellish nightmare, abandon the current playthrough And start over with a fresh set of Prinnies, keeping all game unlocks and witness a special ending cutscene.
- The Castle – interact with Demon Lord Etna in the throne room between stages, check the castle library for details on enemies found in the game and participate in special encounters on the castle balcony.
- Delivery Samurai – this special character provides the Netherworld Radish special weapon, speak to them in order to toggle between activating the item or choosing to tough it out.
The last thing I want to discuss is the self-referential nature of Prinny 2. Like other Disgaea universe games, this release is filled with easter eggs, self-aware jokes and fourth wall breaking moments. Hidden in plain sight are references to television movies and video games, either in plain sight as easter eggs or as names for characters. The most humorous part of the game is the play on words used for character names, such as the tribal triplets called Chili, Pow and Der.
Now with the gameplay covered, I will be moving onto the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.
Controls – the control method for Prinny 2 is simple and easy to pick up, with streamlined inputs for each of the character functions and special attacks. The manual rapid fire flaw of Prinny 1 is still present in this game potentially causing discomfort for the player, however this is lessened when using the Netherworld Radish item. The controls for both the Joy-Con and Pro Controller are comfortable, however slow down and frame rate issues during intense moments can cause inputs to be missed.
Difficulty – Prinny 2 takes everything that the previous title provided in terms of challenge and dials it up to 11. There is an increase in one hit death traps, enemies that can become temporarily invincible and boss patterns that can take dozens of lives to figure out. The platforming challenges are much more difficult with more deadly hazards, including a new breakable box object that can be destroyed by the player and will only respawn when off screen.
The time limits return, with fairly relaxed timers for the main part of each stage, however the strict limits of boss battles can increase tension. The need for trial and error also returns as new enemies and obstacles never encountered before will appear, causing many failures when playing at any difficulty, especially the one hit death Hell’s Finest mode. This game is even more brutal than its predecessor, with three difficulty settings, it is possible for anyone to beat the game, but it will take a lot of time and effort.
Presentation – Prinny 2 is a remaster of the original PSP title, featuring enhanced sprites, backgrounds and graphical effects. The overall presentation is clean and aesthetically pleasing, showcasing the beautiful work that Nippon Ichi Software is known for with their titles. The visual performance is very good, with the sole exception being slow down during intense battle scenes. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect HD remaster, although I am unsure if the frame rate issue is due to the software or the limitations of the Nintendo Switch hardware.
The soundtrack is excellent, bringing back the hard rock guitar, heavy bass and Japanese Jazz. The music is a real treat, contrasting well with the visuals to create an engaging experience not just for the eyes, but also for the ears with tracks that are great to listen to away from the game. An option to choose between English and Japanese voice tracks, with a cast of talented voice actors from anime and video games.
Final Thoughts – I had not played the experienced release of Prinny 2 before sitting down to play the remaster. I expected a tough challenge but I had no idea what was in store for me, as the death traps, new enemies and demonic boss battles were unforgiving. But even though I was pushed to the limited and wanted to quit several times, that need to get a little further motivated me. The overall design, gameplay and extra content really pulled me in and I couldn’t stop.
I can happily recommend this release to everyone that has played the game before, or have just decided to pick it up for the first time. The story is entertaining, the gameplay is rewarding and overall experience has that signature NIS charm that all of their in house titles possess. Prinny 2 is hard, really hard and one of, if not the most brutal platform action titles I have played, but It can be beaten. An almost flawless HD remaster, but unfortunately the frame rate issue is a fault that holds the game back from being perfect.
In the end, I give Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! a final score of 4/5. An awesome HD remaster of a brutal and punishing side scrolling action platformer. The mix of story and gameplay is engaging, with the signature tongue-in-cheek humor that Nippon Ichi Software excels at tying the package together. If you want to check this game out for yourself, a link to both the game and official website will be below.
Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)
Link to Official Site (HERE)