Fat Princess: Piece of Cake Review – A Puzzling Entry (Vita)
Sony’s back at it with a free-to-play tie-in game. This time, we have Fat Princess: Piece of Cake, available for the PlayStation Vita, Android and iOS platforms. With so many other freemium games currently available in the market, what exactly can Sony do that other developers haven’t done already?
Beyond use a popular IP, not a whole lot. Piece of Cake is a match-3 game which progresses turn-based battles. There are four different classes of characters that you control, each of which perform their attack/ability when you match three or more of their associated game pieces. You can level up your characters with diamonds that you pick up during the game. Control is entirely touch-based, as is expected for any game that has also released onto Android and iOS.
Since the game is free-to-play, you’d expect some arbitrary limit to how long you can play. Enter energy. You’re only given so much of it, and once you run out you cannot play any more levels. Expect to burn through your initial allotment of energy fairly quickly. A single unit of energy will automatically regenerate every 20 minutes, or sooner if you opt to purchase some using the in-game premium currency, gold coins. To bypass the entire energy system entirely will cost 200 coins, which you won’t realistically be able to afford solely off the occasional coin you win in-game. It’ll cost around $20 to purchase enough coins ($18.94 if you purchase coins frugally).
As the Vita is a device in landscape mode, there’s a bit more horizontal room to fit in elements of the game. In this case, you are shown your progress towards earning three stars on each level, the gem playing field, and the battle unfolding. The battle screen is surprisingly small, but gets the point across with regards to how many enemies are left, and the remaining health of every character. The action can get pretty hectic if you manage to make a chain cascade of matches, and thankfully any extra moves you earn after wiping out a wave of enemies continues into the next wave. You’ll run up against the occasional boss, and newer and stronger enemies as the campaign progresses. Beat level 15, and you can unlock the original Fat Princess for the PlayStation 3, which is a great game even if it’s a little old.
Piece of Cake is a competent match-3 game with some RPG elements thrown in that can stand on its own. It has the same distinct art style of Fat Princess, bloody deaths and high-pitched voices included. Some of the unlockables are nearly impossible to earn without ponying up some cash, but that’s in line with most freemium puzzle games these days. For those of us brought up on regular RPGs where grinding was par for the course, we’ll be able to wait for energy to recharge without thinking about it. Others will either get annoyed at the infrequency of new energy and quit playing altogether, or succumb to the microtransaction. Many players will download this game strictly to clear level 15 and earn their download of the original Fat Princess for the PS3, and then never visit Piece of Cake again. Others will come back, if only to try and earn three stars on every level and earn trophies. If you like match-3 puzzlers with some strategy thrown in, you’ll be back for more in no time.
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