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One Shrewd Dood- Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? Reviewed

Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero for the PSP. Developed by Nippon Ichi, Published by NIS America

                                  “I love the smell of high carbon 440 stainless steel in the morning, dood!”

In the early 90’s my recreational time far exceeded any vocational demands; like many young people, I had a wealth of free time on my hands. For a long duration this leisure ‘surplus’ was spent on a single Sega Genesis game- Ghouls and Ghosts. For the uninitiated, the game was mind-numbingly difficult. Without a save system, the title required to gamer to play through the game twice before witnessing its true ending.  If the Marquis de Sade was a game developer, Ghouls and Ghosts would have been his magnum opus.

So why would a player submit themselves to this colossal level of punishment? Simply put, the game was a graphical marvel, featuring beautiful drawn zombies, magicians, and majestic bosses. The title skillfully blended nuisance with nuance- deaths seldom felt cheap, and could be avoided through a rigorous practice regimen.

                                                                        “Yep, this game is gorgeous, dood!”

Recent PSP release, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? seems to heavily influenced by Ghouls and Ghosts– from the game’s cuddly-cute horror themed adversaries, tremendous difficulty, and whimsical tone. Although the title features characters from the Disgaea universe, knowledge of the strategy role-playing game is not required for enjoyment in Prinny. Fans of the series will likely be charmed by this radical spin-off, as long as they have the reflexes required for success.

As the game opens, series regular Etna has discovered her ‘ultimate dessert’ has gone missing. She enlists the help of Prinnies- reincarnated souls who led a worthless life while on earth, they resemble penguins. Inexplicably, they punctuate every sentence with ‘dood’, sounding like surfers of the netherworld. Much like the Disgaea series, Can I Be the Hero’s narrative is wonderfully nonsensical. While the plot is not a requirement for enjoyment, following the game’s storyline adds greatly to the complete experience.

Like most classic-inspired platformers, Prinny has a few offensive and defensive measures. Armed with knifes, our hero can dispatch a nearby foe, or leap in the air and shoot downward. A press of the ‘X’ button sends our protagonist airborne, while a second tap initiates a double jump. Unlike many ‘hop and bops’, players have a limited amount of control over the in-air trajectory of the lead character. Players can jump straight up, or to the left and right angle, but subtle adjustments are not allowed. We do wish the game allowed the option to use the analog stick. As the game’s hero might ask, “What’s up with that, dood?”

                                              “That intimidating looking skull is only a checkpoint, dood!”

Others might ask the same question about the game’s robust level of difficulty, as they repeatedly die at the hands of an enemy boss. In lieu of a continue system typical for most platformers, Prinny gives players 1,000 lives to burn through. For the truly dexterous, Prinny offers an option where the normal three hit limit is reduced to a single strike. As with most NIS titles, Can I Be the Hero offers a treasure trove of unlockables, from music pieces to a bestiary. Players can even record their levels runs and share them with other Prinny owners.

Graphically, Prinny looks absolutely gorgeous on the PSP’s screen. Hand-drawn characters and environments make this title one of the most attractive platformers seen on any portable screen.  Vibrant colors and detailed textures seem to pop of the screen, and truly show the power of the PSP, especially in darkened settings.  The title skillfully employs enough voice work and sound bites to give the title a sense of charm and character.

With the release of new PSP titles becoming increasing infrequent, compounded by a dismal amount of 2D platformers on the system, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? represents hopeful entry in a neglected genre. Although the title’s boss battles can be maddeningly frustrating at times, the game does offer an strong sense of satisfaction for players willing to endure its moments of torment.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.


  1. Great review, dood!

    Sorry, had to say it.

  2. First, Dood!

  3. It was debating on whether to buy this..Still not certain.

  4. I saw this at Gamestop and it came in a full size box. Is that the new PSP boxes they are using?

  5. So is Laharl in it? Isn’t that what you were waiting for?

  6. Walker, Texas Rapist

    So is this 2D or 3D, in the top screen, it looks kind of 3D..

  7. Maybe they are doing that because people steal the PSP games…

  8. Ghoul and Ghosts kicked ass, but you forgot to mention the frustration that was mega man 9.

  9. This review makes me remember why I loved platforming games so much.

  10. The game comes with a soundtrack CD, therefore the large box.

  11. He’s a boss character. Seeing him and Etna was definitely enjoyable.

  12. The game is primarily 2D, but shows off is graphic engine when you launch an airborne attack, showing a 2.5D perspective.

  13. Metal Slug is 2D, old school and balls tough, also.

  14. I sold my PSP two months ago after nothing good was coming out anymore.

    I regret that a bit. maybe I’ll buy a used one.

  15. You guys come up with some really good titles. Review wasn’t half bad either, dood 😉

  16. Every read I’ve read bitches about the controls. Are they that bad, or or you guys anal or something?

  17. Killer penguins? Pretty funny…

  18. Whats the combo meter for, score?

  19. I love the Disgaea series but I don’t know If I’d like the characters in a pltformer.

  20. Cool, dood! Hows the music??

  21. Bought this day one!

  22. How much is this going for?

    Please post any deals if you see them.

  23. Love the Disgaea series. It’s my favorite. I’ve got all the games, now I need this one.

  24. I don’t understand why people don’t make 2d platformers anymore. Are they that expensive to make?

    You’d think that XBLA would be full of them.

  25. If everyone complains, then what does that tell you?

  26. Wow, thats quite a name.

  27. Can I really be the hero?

    Yes you can!!!

  28. 1,000 lives? Thats hilarious!

    How many levels are in the game? I’ve heard only seven ;(

  29. Did you have to put “dood” in every caption?

  30. I’ve heard they change though. So it’s probably much more.

  31. That game reviewers are a bunch of cry-babies?

  32. Got this today, dood! First 2 levels are easy, then it’s gets super hard, but it’s still fun.

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