Pretty Princess Party starts Alice in Wonderland style, rabbit plus portal equals iskeai level stuck in another world. This is a fairy tale like world inhabited by adorable bunny residents and magic. The first step home is restoring magic to Castle Lupin. Decorating rooms restores the castle’s former glory so interior design is key. This casual simulation game also includes dress up features, mini games, and some couch co-op.
The game starts with a classic tutorial and a vibrant princess appropriate color palette. The tutorial explains the basics: controls, leveling, and clearing Castle Lupin’s gatekeeping vines. While the tutorial feels long it’s actually easily understood and counts towards progress. Pretty Princess Party has an obvious slant towards younger audiences so this ease is a plus. Non-readers and early readers will still need some help to play.
Pretty Princess Party’s narrative is straightforward. Player’s are joined by adorable bunny residents and the ghost’s of past princesses. There are subtle themes of working together to achieve a goal. No surprise for an E rated title. Player’s won’t need to worry about secret endings or overly difficult in game achievements. Some dialogue between NPCs has some sass but nothing overtly snarky.
Gatekeeping is Pretty Princess Party’s primary obstruction. The vines blocking areas being the obvious culprit. Removing the vines relies on the other mechanics which combined which in turn sets the pace of play.
A contributing factor to the casual, slow play pace are the stone tablets. Each castle room has a stone tablet with the furniture requirements needed to restore it. Deciphering takes time. Thirty minutes real time to be exact and players are limited to five active deciphers a time. Guessing over waiting is a valid option. It can be fun figuring out what items fit the room theme. It doesn’t guarantee a speed boost but allows the player to explore their taste about the required three to five required items. Animal Crossing players may feel some nostalgic parallels to Happy Home Academy challenges.
As acting princess, players use a magical bracelet to create furniture and items. Using the bracelet relies on recipes. Recipes are learned in three ways. First is leveling up the castle by completing rooms. Second is wishing at the Fountain of Knowledge in exchange for Lumina. Lumina is earned throughout playing and daily greeting residents. Third are gifts from villagers in exchange for house deign help. Choosing whether or not to help villagers does not impact the main narrative. Players can complete villager requests after the game ends. However, to collect all the items and in game achievements all twenty-five houses must be done.
Princesses also need to grow their taste levels. Taste is separated into the three categories of Cute, Elegant, and Cool. Taste levels increase by participating in lessons which are mini games. There are six lessons in total, two for each taste. They include princess-like endeavors such as dancing, horseback riding, and bouquet arrangement. Players compete with NPC former castle princesses in story mode, adding some friendly competition. Access to these games open as the castle is restored. The benefit of raising taste is unlocking more recipes granting access to more items to decorate and wear. A word of warning, the mini games are repetitive and designed to be grind on repeat. Similar again to Animal Crossing, the game appears to be intended to be enjoyed over time.
Co-op, separate from story mode, has the six mini games. It is limited to local only but does support up to four players. Co-op adds a refreshing feel to the lessons by changing the competition to family and friends. Fun as part of the game but not worth picking up couch co-op experience alone.
Graphically, the artistic choices suit the games needs. The color palette and designs contribute to the princess theme. Hair styles are many and on the fancy side. Make up can be styled too. Clothing and accessories are detailed, can be mixed and matched, and are changeable almost anytime. As a nice touch, the character model updates across the game, including in menus, cutscenes and co-op. Items and furniture also feature lots of details. Examples include stitching on plushies, patterns on furniture fabric, and so on. The amount of items is bit surprising; Pretty Princess Party has over one thousand. Some are just color variants that range from pink to black, giving players freedom in their aesthetic choices.
Pretty Princess Party is not everyone’s cup of tea. Each room and game has some loading screens which can be annoying. It is a bit easy for adults or experienced gamers. In spite of ease and minor nuisances the developers did a fabulous job balancing the game’s mechanics and creating a casual but robust game. The casual experience can appeals to all ages you or old. It is never to late to decorate or play dress up. For the right person, or family, this is absolutely worth picking up. Find out more at the game’s official website!