June 11 2014
One Loop Games
Fat Princess Piece of Cake is a free-to-play game with a solid core and a slew of slimy paywalls.
Fat Princess: Piece of Cake, mobile successor to the popular Playstation 3 game Fat Princess, has a decent premise but asks too much from the player in terms of progressing through the game. The match-three RPG elements, while interesting and well put-together, are undercut by the all-too-common paywalls seen in mobile games that ask for cash in order to either progress or excel.
The game centers around defeating waves of enemies by matching three or more of one type of gem. Your party consists of different types of warriors, each one set off by matching their associated gems. Each member has different abilities, whether it’s attacking the first two rows with a weaker attack or stunning the entire enemy party with lobbed bombs.
The minute-to-minute gameplay is entertaining and satisfying: it’s a great combination of chance and skill that lets you make decisions without overwhelming you. There are a few things that push the gameplay a bit further, such as the diamond collection system or charging up Fat Princess’ butt slam, but overall the game is simple and easy to pick up.
In terms of aesthetics, the game delivers well on the Fat Princess art style. Your warriors’s look is taken straight from Piece of Cake‘s predecessor along with the princess’s waddling gait. The animations are smooth and shifting gems around feels as though it really is effecting the bloody display just above your grid. The few downsides to the presentation are the generic, repetitive soundtrack and an unfortunate lack of humor that the original game was known for.
As far as the rest of the game goes, it’s a bit of a mess. Not only are there the usual free-to-play culprits such as forcing you to wait for your energy to recharge to keep playing or asking you to pay for in-game currency so that you can buy powerups, there’s also a disastrous “Boosts” system that allows you to permanently power up your squad by spending at least fifteen dollars.
The game is guilty of the popular board game level select screen that requires new areas to be unlocked by either getting achievements or, you guessed it, paying money. To add insult to injury, after beating each level you’re presented with a slot machine that will grant you either a few coins or a few diamonds, maybe a powerup. Want to increase your chances at a getting better prize? Just pay a few bucks!
One of the big draws of playing the mobile version of this game is that it allows you to unlock the PS3 version of the game for free if you beat level 15. Thankfully, it isn’t too difficult to beat level 15, but it is a little irritating that in order to redeem your voucher you have to log into your Facebook account. Add that to a “cash for power” mindset and the game’s constant pay-to-win reminders come off as a blatant cash-grab.
Fat Princess: Piece of Cake is fun, there’s no denying that. It’s just that the fun starts to wane when you’re constantly baited with costly powerups and obvious ploys to bring in more revenue. While the game could have had you pay to unlock new levels or new looks for your characters, it chose instead to bury its reliable gameplay mechanics in a pile of paywalls.
+ MAJOR: match-three combat mechanics are engaging
+ MINOR: aesthetics are cohesive and true to the series
– MAJOR: paywalls are restrictive and discouraging
Flipped Stomach is Mikael Raheem. He writes a lot of stuff, from fiction to game reviews to feature articles to bathroom stall phone numbers. You can find more of his work at flippedstomach.com or follow him on twitter: @flippedstomach.