A Return to a Fairy Tale Land
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In 2018, NIS America published a super unique title that mixed a cute artistic approach, a sweet fairy tale-esque narrative, and solid puzzle platforming gameplay called The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince. I had the opportunity to review The Liar Princess… and gave it a terrific 88%, noting the meaningful story, enjoyable gameplay, and fresh artistic approach. When I saw The Cruel King and the Great Hero launch this past March, I knew I wanted to get my hands on it.
Much to my surprise, much of what made The Liar Princess… special was changed – but not in a negative manner. Instead of a puzzle platformer, we were given a turn based RPG, following the adopted child of the Great Dragon King – a seemingly benevolent ruler of monsters. Throughout your journey as Yuu, the actual daughter of the Great Hero, you discover the past of the Dragon King and embark on a heartfelt story that sees the possible unraveling of the peaceful kingdom Yuu grew up in.
As with the previous title, The Cruel King… will appeal to a niche audience. The RPG system is simple, and there really are not any fresh ideas entwined into combat, and side quests are very traditional affairs. For me and, I imagine, those drawn to The Cruel King, narrative is key. While combat consists of a very simple system – wait your turn, choose your attack, and dispatch your enemies – the story of Yuu is compelling, and you, in turn, sympathize with her, the Dragon King, and the monsters of the Dragon King’s kingdom.
Additionally, a powerful soundtrack with unique, hand drawn aesthetics create a memorable atmosphere. The short play time works for the game, meaning uninspired gameplay should not get in the way of enjoying the important pieces of The Cruel King and the Great Hero. For its discounted price tag, you get plenty of bang for your buck. The game takes around 20 hours for the average/casual gamer to complete, and it could take upwards of 50 hours for completionists (due to my extremely busy schedule on this one, I was unable to snag the platinum, so I used How Long To Beat’s website to find completionist time).
If you are in between heavy hitting RPGs and want something short and sweet to hold you over, you can do far, far worse than The Cruel King and the Great Hero. In fact, I would go so far as to say its story is well worth playing regardless of your backlog.