The lack of hype, build-up and eventual fan-fare for Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is both bewildering and obvious. The PSP game is, whilst a stunning technical achievement for Supervillian Studios and Sony Santa Monica, an almost exact port of the PS3 version. So, whilst it’s a shame that Fistful of Cake wasn’t pushed as hard as its big sister, perhaps its almost surprise arrival on the PlayStation Portable is for the best – if you’re a fan of Fat Princess you’ll have been watching it like a hawk, and if not, well, listen up because Fistful of Cake is a brilliant game, one that deserves your attention.
Of course, regular readers to TheSixthAxis will be all too aware of our love of Fat Princess, so I’ll continue hoping that you’re also a fan of the original, Titan Studios developed cartoon brawler and are wondering how the thing has been ported down to the smaller, less capable piece of hardware. The answer: splendidly, and in most respects Fistful of Cake actually surpasses the PS3 version, comprehensively too. For example, there’s six new levels to play in, with one specially designed for the game’s new multiplayer mode, and there’s four new game types build into the much improved single player mode.
Yes, single player. In addition to the original game’s dip in and out affair, ‘Cake features a lengthy ‘campaign’ of sorts, complete with a story (and nicely done bookend cutscenes) and plenty of variety. It works far better than you might think and manages to both entertain and introduce the key mechanics gradually without the need for any forced tutorial. Sure, there’s a slightly wobbly difficulty curve and a couple of sticking points (and one or two of the new maps don’t really flow that well) but it’s a welcome addition and fits in perfectly with the style and attitude of the main multiplayer section.
Fat Princess Trailer
Which, as you’d expect, is brilliant. Despite a slightly smaller number of on-screen participants (with tweaked levels to match) and a lack of voice communication, Fistful of Cake’s multiplayer modes are just as good as the PS3 game and haven’t suffered at all with the transition to PSP. Sadly, although the adhoc playtest went swimmingly the infrastructure mode didn’t fare as well – games were hard to find and even once connected the number of players were few. Perhaps if the game had been pushed harder there’d be more people online, but we’ll have to just hope that those waiting on reviews will soon invest the cash.
Elsewhere it’s business as usual – the sound effects (including the voice overs) are present and correct, the customisation is still in there, and everything else that made Fat Princess such a great game still shines on PSP. The basic gameplay is retained, too, and although it’s ultimately a deep, complex game the premise is simple: rescue your princess from your opponent’s castle before they do the same. Balance salvaging raw materials to boost the abilities of your character classes with sticking pointy swords into the oncoming enemies, and feed the princess’ cake to make them bigger, and thus harder to rescue.
All this is played out with likeminded mates on crisp, colourful battlefields, and the visuals, remodeled from the originals, are gorgeous. It’s always reassuring to see great graphics on the PSP, but the opportunity to see something that looks so similar to a PlayStation 3 version is rare and best soaked up when presented – Fistful Of Cake is almost flawless aesthetically, the only blip on an otherwise perfect display of style and design is the low resolution, blurry on-screen map. Everything else is superb, and along with the music, the cut-scenes and UI this is right up there with the best on the system.
- Perfect port of the PS3 version.
- Great visuals, presentation is top notch.
- Controls nicely, great fun with mates.
- Long term enjoyment depends on the currently limited online mode population.
- New maps and boosted single player aside, not a huge amount different from the PS3 version.
Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is a triumph. A shining example of what the PSP can do in the right hands and is actually an improvement on the PS3 version. Sure, it might only be 8 human players at a time but the PSP fills in another 16 so the maps are always busy and the computer AI is smart enough for the lack of real players to be noticable. It’s a shame voice chat is missing, though, because online it’s harder to co-ordinate attacks and defence and that’s even if you’re lucky finding a game to play, but with a room full of PSP owners Fistful of Cake might just be the best multiplayer game around right now.