Code of Princess was a game that was first released for the Nintendo 3DS back in October of 2012. It could be considered a hack and slash kind of battle game that pits your character, whichever you’d like to choose to battle as, against a horde of enemies. There are strong anime style cut scenes, extremely fascinating fashion choices, and plenty of interesting characters introduced to you as you fight for your kingdom. Now the game has been remastered for the Nintendo Switch as Code of Princess EX. If you’ve ever played Guardian Heroes on the Sega Saturn, you’ll find some similarities here.
During the fighting sequences, there are three lanes on a side-scrolling field that moves to the left or right depending on where your next victims are approaching. Your fighter has the ability to jump from lane to lane like a car merging in traffic. You can use this to your advantage to annihilate the other side by side-stepping quite a few attacks. The button schema for changing lanes took a little getting used to because you needed to hit up or down and the left or right shoulder button to perform this transfer. In fact, since you have to use the correct combinations of buttons together, you may need to remind yourself that it matters in case an enemy has a bead on you. You don’t need to worry about that for too long, because the more you hop around the various lanes the better you will naturally get at it.
The battles tend to be fast and furious with a lot of mashing the B button to get as many hits in as you can. There are special moves that you can unleash, but to figure out the button combos it will be beneficial for a new player to play through the tutorial before diving into the game proper. I did not do the tutorial because I have been so used to games holding my hand as I start them. So, when the first battle started I just kind of thought “oh, I guess I’m just going to have to figure this one out on my own”. I won easily, but then curiosity got the best of me and I decided that I should probably run through the tutorials, and it was a good decision since I learned a lot of cool techniques. In many ways Code of Princess EX is more like a Street Fighter RPG than a hack and slash.
There are a ton of special items you can pick up during your journey. The list is huge and sometimes finding something that’s better than what you already have equipped can become quite a chore. I typically just equipped the latest and greatest item as I received it if I noticed that I got something new. I enjoyed the gameplay more than I really thought I would, but the game still managed to become stale after a few hours. What kept me hooked more than swinging a giant sword at monsters with percentage symbols for faces was the story that was happening between the battles. The banter between the characters is very comical and proves that the game doesn’t take itself seriously at all. In fact, they made jokes about what the characters were wearing, cracked wise about clichés in anime and other Japanese RPGs, and I came away with a very pleasant experience that was a nice balance between somewhat underwhelming gameplay and hilarious story telling. I do have to admit that I didn’t realize Ali was a female character until the apparently quite horny little guitar wielding dude said they were all girls. Then the fashion choice to wear a leather strap over one’s chest made a little more sense, but the padlock was still a little eyebrow raising in a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sort of way.
I did some reading on how the 3DS version of this game went over and there were some complaints about the framerate and playability considering that it seemed to choke the processors of the 3DS. What you will find with the Switch release is a much-improved gaming experience because it seems that the Switch can handle everything the game throws at it. So if you were put off with the previous iteration, you may want to give this improved entry a second chance.
As far as the sounds go in the game, while I was playing a friend of mine overheard one of the Japanese language characters speak and asked who did the voice because he thought he recognized it. When I looked that bit of information up I noted that there were also voice actors from the west for each character. I tried to find the option to change to English dubbing but was unable to find it or any setting that would allow me to change it to English voice acting. I could be blind and felt that trying to find any information on that subject in a web search to be a poor use of my time.
I don’t think the price is all that terrible for what you get, but I think that if you own the 3DS or PC version there might not be much of a compelling reason to double dip. Although, it must be said that thanks to the Switch’s hybrid nature, it’s easy to get a two-player co-op game going. It’s always more fun to play with a friend! While I did find the battle sequences to be on the lather, rinse, repeat side of gaming, I enjoyed playing Code of Princess EX more than I would have if it didn’t have the RPG elements and the comical story telling. This saved the game for me from being relegated to the “Delete for now and if I ever have nothing to play I will download it down again to do just that” list. This one’s definitely worth considering adding to your Switch library.
Code of Princess EX was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.
Jay has been an avid gamer since the Intellivision days. His hobbies include building PCs, 3D modeling and printing, and spending time with his children and dog.