RWP Slay The Princess

Sorry to say, but I’m a Slay the Princess hipster. I played the game before it was cool. I think I saw a random reddit post about the game like a month or two before its release date, played the demo, and got rather excited for it. I recall being super sad because they pushed their original release date out by like 3 days. When it did come out, I ended up finishing an entire playthrough in about 2 hours and then sitting there feeling weird. I played it again for this class.


I think Slay the Princess is a good narrative. The game doesn’t do too much in terms of “gameplay” or anything. It’s a visual novel, but unlike most visual novels, it gives you many, many dialogue choices in most situations. Some of these are just expository, but many of them advance the dialogue tree (more like dialogue directed acyclic graph for this game). In the beginning I did a bit of save scumming because it is in my nature to exhaust every option before advancing forward, but I very quickly gave up on that front due to a bit of combinatorial explosion. I decided that I was just going to take whatever I got as what I got, which is probably not a very novel concept, but was rather freeing for me.


The downside to that approach is that narratives are often a chain of cause and effects. A nice linear story lets you reasonably theorize on exactly why things happened the way they did because you can see the sum of “relevant” events. Without understanding all of the counterfactual scenarios, its actually difficult for me to tell how much of my specific playthrough was affected by my decisions or not. I expected that I would learn a bit more on this replay, but to be completely honest, the game isn’t the best for replay value. Exploring some of the routes I didn’t get a chance to see was fun, but I did have to look up decision guides so I wouldn’t retread old waters accidentally. Repeating past paths is debilitating because you have a finite number of paths you can explore in any given playthrough. You collect enough aspects of the Princess and boom, final confrontation, game ends. When I ended up in a route I had already scene, it felt almost criminal to skip the strong voice acting and dialogue, but even though I had last played the game half a year ago, it was surprisingly fresh in my mind. I am too much of a zoomer to just bask in the experience all over again. For that, I’d say that the replay value isn’t the highest at least for me.


I ended up with the cute happy eldritch gods abandon their godly duties and just go have a relationship in the woods ending, which pleased me. My first playthrough I pretty much did nothing except choose the most nonviolent, uwu paths possible. This works out until you’re legitimately out of pacifist options, so then I chose the most half hearted violent options all the way down. Second time around I got pretty violent just to switch it up. Every time I do that I end up thinking about Undertale.

Ah Undertale. For such a janky game, it really has lived in my head rent free for like 9 years. But this is Slay the Princess talk. I liked Slay the Princess! Even if I don’t want to replay it again very much, and even if I think that it’s themes are a bit loopy, hard to decipher, and am unsure exaactly what I was supposed to take out of the entire narrative, I still liked it.

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