The Cruel King and The Great Hero Review

A young girl on a quest to become a Great Hero + Dragon Dad!

Release Date:
March 15, 2022
Developed By:
Nippon Ichi Software Inc.
Published By:
NIS America
RPG, Side Scroller
Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4

The Cruel King and the Great Hero, follows in the footsteps of The Liar Princess and the Blind Princess and its hand-drawn art style. This storybook RPG 2D side scroller gives a look into the life of a young girl named Yuu and her unique father figure, a dragon king that constantly worries about Yuu as she begins her quest to follow in the footsteps of her father to become a Great Hero! Our friends at NIS America provided us with a PS4 copy of The Cruel King and the Great Hero, so let’s check it out!

Developed by Nippon Ichi Software and published by NIS America, The Cruel King and the Great Hero delivers another beautiful hand-drawn art aesthetic similar to The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince. The art style parallels also extend to the UI in a way that really immerses the player into the storybook-like tale.

After being mesmerized by the very calm and soothing narrative storytelling, the way the storybook pages flip, and just how cute Yuu is, you begin the game by going through tutorials as you continue towards your goals while completing each chapter. As you make your way through beautiful landscapes, a completely oblivious Yuu doesn’t spot the Cruel King watching her from the shadows to make sure she’s safe. He’ll occasionally help her on her adventures, but don’t tell Yuu that. Each chapter has one main goal that you can complete fairly easily as well as taking on side missions called “Yuu’s Acts of Kindness.” They aren’t necessarily important but completing them allows you to unlock various collectibles in-game.

After a full day of adventuring and completing the main goal of the chapter, Yuu is whisked back home with her dragon dad for bedtime and to rest up for adventures for the next day. As you finish each chapter you’ll learn a bit more about the girl that is to be a hero and her heroic father.

There is something nostalgic about the storybook style of both The Cruel King and the Great Hero and the The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince. I originally thought that The Cruel King and the Great Hero would play very similar to The Liar Princess and Blind Prince but I was pleasantly surprised to find RPG aspects while retaining the 2D side-scrolling gameplay. The game itself is straightforward with not too many puzzles alongside a mixture of exploring and battling. One interesting mechanic they included in the game is how Yuu will walk to places she has never explored. Once you’ve fought enough monsters, and maybe leveled up a few times, Yuu will start lowering the encounter rate. One noticeable aspect of the game is that many of ‘Yuu’s Acts of Kindness’ will take you back through previously explored locations, or unexplored locations if you haven’t gone through the entire map.

Speaking of encounters, all of the battles are randomized unless it’s a boss battle. Through the different environments, you will have repeatedly encounter enemies that will help with leveling. The battle system is straightforward with your standard actions – attack, guard, skills, items, and more to take down the enemy. One curious feature I want to mention is the “Survey” feature, it is indeed similar to the “Scan” feature in other RPGs; however the survey feature here is different when it comes to execution. Surveying whatever creature of choice will speak what’s on its mind and may give you an idea or hint of what its weakness is. Sometimes they will say it sometimes they won’t. You’ll also come across some enemies that might not have weakness and well you just got to take them down the hard way. 

All in all The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a very cute and straightforward game. The combination of narrative storytelling and 2D side-scrolling paired with a beautiful pen and pencil art style makes the game a joy to play. There are very few things that I think can be improved upon, but one area that could use work are the battles. After a bit of time of playing, the battles became repetitive as well as having to travel to and from places. There is a fast travel system within the game but the locations of where these fast travel points are placed are far and wide, leaving you to still run/walk have to wherever the target is on the map. Other than these few things, I enjoyed playing The Cruel King and the Great Hero. It is cute but don’t let that deter you from at least giving it a try! 

The Cruel King and The Great Hero Review
Become a Great Hero with the help of Dragon Dad!
A beautiful and charming game about a young girl on a quest (with the help of her dragon dad) to achieve her dream of becoming a hero. If you love story book art, definitely give this one a try!
Unique art style
Expressive main character
Repetitive battles