One of the hardest things about being a fan of Japanese RPGs is the fact that, with so many titles, it takes years to get the game overseas. Basic understanding of Japanese and some light tinkering with your game system of choice tends to break down that barrier, but here in the year of our Digital Overlords 2018, it just feels like things still don't happen quickly enough.
More often than not, Japanese RPGs are swept to the side in favor of big name triple-A franchises, discredited as something that American audiences just don't have interest in. But time and time again, that theory is shut down by blow out sales of titles from publishers like SEGA, Square Enix, NiS America, and Bandai Namco Entertainment, just to name the big ones.
With the announcement of NiS America's latest publishing project, Liar Princess and the Blind Prince, it seems as though yet another incredible title is lined up for release in Japan, and this writer has her fingers crossed for a western release date next.
Liar Princess and the Blind Prince tells the story of a friendship gone wrong, and one monster's quest to mend the horrors of that event. Not only is the story heart warming, but the game is accessible to almost any type of player, so if you're just in it for the story, worry not. The spellbinding animation unravels as players progress, introducing them to imaginative and interesting characters who will either help them or hurt them along the way. It's even got something of a spin from The Little Mermaid, with one character losing their voice in order to achieve a greater personal goal. But not all is fluffy and cute in this game, and sudden twists might leave the player winded if they're not careful.
The basic premise may be enough to sell most gamers who love supernatural stories about erstwhile anti-heroes, but there's even more to love about this title beyond that. As we continue to look toward the future with anticipation and hope for a Western release, there's plenty to look at from afar.
It's Created By a Female Web Designer
Liar Princess and the Blind Prince was created by Sayaka Oda, who, up until her entry into Nippon Ichi Software's annual game design contest, was better known as a web designer. Oda illustrated all of the concepts and character designs in the game, including much of the animation.
In video games, just like in movies, it is often pretty rare for e female "newcomer" to be granted a full-length feature game title -- and while this one spells out 'indie platformer' with almost every stroke, NiS is treating it like any other major titles from its wheelhouse, which is pretty great to see.prevnext
Hand-Drawn Gameplay Artwork
The development team has hand-drawn every frame of animation, along with all of the background, which are pictured in the game. Just from the few screen shots we've seen so far, it looks gorgeous. The animation paces after Oda's concept work, sticking closely to her artistic style so that each character looks unique and, as NiS likes to put it, "delicate" as well.
Here's what NiS America had to say about developing the animation:
Players can enjoy delicate 2D graphics throughout the whole story, including shadows expressed through cross-hatching, multiple scrolling for a better sense of the forest's depth, soft light textures, and more during action parts. Also, during story parts, players can enjoy illustrations depicted in analogue.
The individual story illustrations look like they might mostly be creations of Oda's herself, but that hasn't been specified yet.prevnext
A Heartbreaking, yet Heartwarming Story
The way the Prince meets the Princess isn't very conventional. In fact, the Princess isn't actually royalty, or really a girl, at all. The Blind Prince befriends a wolf-like monster, nd after a horrible accident, the monster swears to protect the Prince and restore his vision. Unfortunately, things get a little more complicated than that. Check it out:
However, the wolf's clawed hands were unfit for gently touching anyone. While it was not the wolf's intention, its sharp claws slashed the face of the prince. The unexpected pain and the monster's big hands surprised the prince, who fell to the ground and fainted.
They must have heard the prince's scream. The castle guards came to rescue the prince. The guards shot their arrows, and the wolf retreated into the depths of the forest.
The prince would no longer come to listen to the wolf's song. There was no one in the forest, including anyone to admire its song. Surely, such an eccentric would not exist beyond the prince.
Eventually, the wolf learned that the prince was blinded, and that he was imprisoned in the castle tower by royalty who hate face injuries. Unable to hold itself back, the wolf sneaked into the tower.
What the wolf saw in the dim prison was a prince wearing torn clothes. Perhaps to hide his unsightly wound, a plain cloth was wrapped around his face. The wolf's chest ached. However, the wolf was the one who cut the prince's eyes. Would now be a good time to greet him?
The wise prince realized that the owner of that beautiful voice was standing in the prison before him. However, he did not know it was the monster that injured him. With the prince unable to see the wolf, it promptly lied to the prince. "I am the princess of a neighboring country. I came to wish you well. Let us have those eyes cured by the witch of the forest."
The wolf knew. Deep in the forest lives a fearsome witch. If you pay for it, the witch will grant any request.
Yes. If the wolf takes the prince to the witch, she will surely be able to heal his eyes as they were before.
But the wolf is a monster. If it touched the prince with its body, it would surely end up hurting him again. The wolf promised to return to pick up the prince, and ran to the witch's house in the depths of the forest.
… in to become a "princess" to take the prince out of that cold and lonely prison.prevnext
A Compelling Heroine
Like we said, the Wolf and the Princess are one in the same, giving players two ways to tackle the various challenges and puzzles that the game provides. Each of the monster's forms serves a purpose, and it's good to get to know which one ahead of time so that players can make the right decision when the time comes to get past the next major barrier.
In Princess Form, the player can pss through small crevices, cooperate with the Prince to solve puzzles, and collect flowers.
In Wolf/Monster Form, the player is able to climb tall obstacles, lift heavy items, and attack the monsters that they'll find along the way.
One of the other mechanics that particularly stands out is that in Princess form, the player can hold the Prince's hand and lead him quickly across great distances, which is really, really cute.prevnext
Accessible Gameplay for All
Whether you're starting the little ones with their earliest RPG, getting a friend into gaming, or you simply want the option to enjoy the story without the stress of finishing every single puzzle, Liar Princess and the Blind Prince is a game that is accessible to many. With an English translation and multi-language narration, that spectrum could open up more, even to people like the Blind Prince himself.0comments
One of the major things many new-age gamers seem to enjoy is the ability to just sit back and relax a game that seems comforting in certain aspects. With that in mind, it looks like this game give you the option to do just that: if you're feeling like a challenge, you can take on every single puzzle and obstacle, but if you just want to find out what happens while sorting through a beautifully-drawn story, that option is open as well.
Liar Princess and the Blind Prince is currently set for release in Japan on May 31st. With any luck, we'll see a western release date soon.prev