There I was at PaxEast exploring the sea of games and minding my Black ass business. When I came upon a game that would become the talk of PaxEast among media members. This game didn’t showcase complex game mechanics nor did it display a memorable protagonist. Instead, its demo wowed through its engaging narrative and gripping premise. It was a visual novel game by the name of Slay the Princess. The game has been living in my head like that squatter in Dallas, TX who tried to buy a 350,000 house for 16 dollars.
I was so impressed with the game I had the creators of Slay the Princess, Abby and Tony on the Single Player Experience Podcast to talk about the game. The months passed and finally, the game came out at the end of October. As I Loaded it up on the Steam my mind was filled with the questions, How would the final game hold up compared to its sensational demo? Would this be too scary of an experience for a horror chicken like me? After completing the game, I have those answers and more.
Let’s dive into it.
In Slay the Princess, you play as a no-name protagonist who is told that he has to Slay an imprisoned princess in order to save the world. Do you listen to those marching orders? Do you take feedback from the others you meet into consideration? Should you Slay the Princess or is there more going on?
Not everything is as it seems and the more you explore these mysteries the more questions you’ll have. The game’s narrative is the bread and butter and I found myself engaged despite my fear of all things horror.
The game plays like a traditional point-and-click visual novel. You are prompted to choose how you respond to each situation either by selecting a verbal response or an action. That’s the gameplay in a nutshell. Slay the Princess has so many paths that you can take, each with its own consequences and narrative branches. You continuously replay the game from the same starting point, learning from different actions and seeing how things play out. The replay value is immense despite the smaller scale of the story. I’m sure that this game would be just as great playing it on a console and big screen, it just feels right playing it on a handheld like the Steam Deck.
Black Tabby Games brought it visually with the art styles in Slay the Princess. The monochromatic hand-drawn art adds a unique flavor to the scenes each that are full of character and details. Shout-out to Abby Howard for absolutely killing it drawing so many different styles and unique environments. A part of what made each path you take so interesting is that there are vast visual differences in the areas and the characters that you interact with.
Another great aspect of Slay the Process is the voice acting. Both Nichole Goodnight as the Princess and The Narrator, Jonathan Sims do a phenomenal job voice acting and bringing the characters to life. Goodnight delivers a performance full of range especially when the Princess switches from being inquisitive to threatening.
Despite all the aspects that the game has going for it, I will say that the ending of the game wasn’t my favorite. It felt too philosophical for my taste. I won’t dive into why I thought this for fear of spoiling you. Despite my thoughts on the endings that I experienced, I found that the journey was well worth it.
Another issue that came up during my playthrough was that the game crashed on me on two separate occasions. It wasn’t the end of the world, but afterward a crash it wouldn’t restart on my Steam Deck until I restarted the Steam Deck. I didn’t experience any bugs playing on my PC so it might be bug that only happens with the Steam Deck.
Overall/Should you Play Slay the Princess:
This is a genre that I typically avoid in any medium. I don’t enjoy scary things and I don’t like being scared. That’s a testament to how thrilling and well-written the narrative is. The story twists and turns, constantly introducing new situations and choices that are thought-provoking and engaging. Every time I thought I had a handle on things something new would spring up and once again have me wondering about what I should do next.
Slay the Princess is full of themes like how your actions shape others and vice versa. Its voice acting and art style are top-notch. It’s undoubtedly a strong contender for Indie of the Year. Just like the demo lingered in my mind after PaxEast the entire game will likely stick in my mind for the foreseeable future. In a year that I’ve dubbed the Best year in video game history, Slay the Princess is not only an easy game to recommend, but it’s also another Game of the Year Contender.
Where Should Slay the Princess fit in your video game backlog:
Here at the ProNerd Report and on the Single Player Experience Podcast, we practice the 10 games backlog rule. In this practice, you log down 10 games, those games are gonna be your video game backlog. To be as productive as you possibly can be, we recommend that you only play three games at one time. One single player narrative game, one game that’s gonna be your chill and relaxed game, and another game that’s going to be your palate cleanser game, which is a game that you play when you’re not in the mood for your other narrative. When you complete or get tired of one game, it leaves the backlog list. Then you decide which new game is added to the list, and which game on the list advances to your active three games.
Slay the Princess – Slay the Princess should undoubtedly be in the Primary Narrative Slot. Its story is the bread and butter of the game. You Can beat the game once in about 3.5 hours and there are still other pathways that you can go back and experience. If you are into horror, like visual novel games, or looking for a good narrative then you should have Slay the Princess in your video game backlog.
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