Finally, a GOOD game for girls.
Preview by James Cunningham (Email)
September 2nd 2008
Of all the games I played at E3, possibly the girliest was Princess Debut. A young princess has 30 days to learn to dance in order to get ready for the ball, and she's got to win a partner from a selection of six princes. It's part music rhythm, part date-sim adventure, and 100% cutely feminine. Also, it's developed by Cave, who apparently decided to try something different from their usual bullet-hell shooter output.
The adventure part of Princess Debut involves moving from place to place on the map, and chatting with people. Each of the princes has his own likes and dislikes, so it's important to choose the right response on the conversation tree in order to improve the princess's standing in his eyes. Certain days of the month-long story have special events, but every day is open for dance practice.
Dancing is performed by sliding the stylus over a ball that runs on a track, similar to certain parts of the songs in Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents. However, tracing the line to the music's tempo is the whole of the dance controls. The princess dances with her partner on the top screen while the tracks go by one after another on the bottom. All the dance moves have been motion captured from professionals, so it looks very graceful when you can spare a second's glance at the top.
The only real problem with the E3 build was that the new tracks first arrive on the upper screen. Hopefully, the next track will get bumped to the bottom, because paying attention to the top screen while tracing a line in time with the music on the bottom is a great way to fail. Princess Debut isn't particularly hardcore in the difficulty department, but forcing the player to sort out necessary information over two screens isn't the way to add to the challenge.
Princess Debut was still early in development at E3, however. Other than that it's shaping up to be a cute and charming music adventure that's loaded to the brim with replayability thanks to multiple endings, plenty of outfits for the princess to unlock, and a secret prince to find. The music comes in a variety of genres with dance moves to match, and there's even foot charts to show how the steps are performed in the real world. Princess Debut is relentlessly, unapologetically girly. Seeing as it's aimed at the young teen female audience, it's about time they got something worth playing.