Penny-Punching Princess is one of those weird and wacky titles that could only work with Nippon Ichi Software. It, like many NIS titles, is so off the wall that you think it can’t possibly work but it does and it does it in such a fantastic fashion.
The premise revolves around the concept of “Money is power. Money is justice” a world in which “even a Level 1 pleb can defeat a tyrant as long as they have money”. This wasn’t always the case, there was a time when “Might meant everything” and the world was ruled by might. Survival of the fittest was the name of the game until the inevitable change of values happened over the years and the rise of capitalism took over. Enter the Princess, a stoic girl who only trusts money. She lost her family and country due to her father’s debt and now looks to avenge her father’s death and exact revenge on the corrupt money lenders, the Dragoloan family.
On your journey as the Princess, you’ll take part in a series of Beat ‘em Up style dungeons where money can be made and anything can be bribed, for the right price. The dungeons are essentially a series of battles and puzzles. They are generally short and fun to run through. This is good because you’ll be grinding them over and again to bolster your forces and wallet. Money is everything and you’ll need to amass as much as you can to bribe enemies and fund the rebuild of your kingdom.
The Beat ‘em Up style works really well and combined with the bribe system can make for some really enjoyable experiences. Defeating enemies will reward you with money but attacking an enemy until they are in the BREAK condition can yield much higher gains. Bribes also have there benefits as not only does your enemy join your workforce but you can even bypass the fight. It’s important to note that each time you enter a dungeon you’ll start out with zero funds as such you can only make use of what you earn through that run.
The game can be played with either touch controls (default) or buttons, this can be changed at the title screen. Having tried out both I can safely say I prefer the button controls, especially for the Beat ‘em Up elements. But when it comes to bribes and using the calculator that works best with touch controls, unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a way to combine both control options and change on the fly. Being able to use button controls for fighting and touch for the calculator would have made it so much better.
Outside of dungeons, you’ll spend time at your castle where you can create new equipment and strengthen your skills. Enemies you bribe during battles will, in turn, become your citizens and depending on which types you have you’ll be able to create various items to help you along your way. This, of course, leads back into more grinding so try and bribe as much as you can and then some.
Penny-Punching Princess is equally off the wall and ridiculously fun at the same time. The visuals will no doubt put a smile on the faces of regular NIS game fans, but the grind can be an annoyance. The story is a little lacking, but what there is of it is enough to keep you entertained throughout.