Hot Take: Princess Maker 3

I love simulation games. But I don’t really dig the ones where you fly airplanes and drive vehicles or, like, shoot people in tanks. The simulation games I love are ones like Dragon Quest Builders, Harvest Moon, Factorio and Monster Rancher. All of these appeal to some same part of my brain. I am constantly searching for the next sixty hour time sink with small weird mechanics that need me to watch over something closely. I anticipated enjoying Princess Maker 3: Fairy Tales Come True  for those same reasons. The gameplay has those hooks I like in my simulation games, but it gets kind of weird.

The Princess Maker games were made by  Gainax,  the studio responsible for some of the best Japanese animation released; Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gurren Lagann are my personal favorites. So naturally based on animation pedigree I was very interested in this title, and add all the life sim stuff and I’m 100% in.

When Princess Maker 3 was originally released on the PC, PlayStation and the Sega Saturn in the year 1994 things were a bit different in the world of gaming, which is drastically reflected by the game’s UI, dialogue and general story pacing. Now in 2017 we are getting the game again but now in a higher res, kind of. The game only plays in windowed mode and if you play in full screen it stretches the textures quiet a bit.

In the game you play as a dude who becomes the surrogate father of a girl that randomly comes to Earth and becomes your daughter. But before you learn all of this you have to pick what her name is, your name, her blood type, both of your birthdays and what job you had before you became the main dude who’s raising a fairy girl to be a princess. The first thing you do in the game is plan your princess’s month of activities, so you can train her in combat, send her to other kingdoms, teach her, etc — literally anything you’d expect a princess to do you can make her do it. But you also have to manage her stress levels and give her enough time to be alone. You plan and watch this girl grow from a 10-year-old kid all the way to an 18-year-old young adult. And you get to see how your lessons and regimen affect her over time. The game is more hands off, which is fine; if you’re playing a simulation about raising a princess I think you know what you’re getting yourself into. There are rivals the girl can meet that add some drama to her life, but most of the time you have no direct control or effect on her actions. You don’t choose what she says or how she reacts directly, but she will act accordingly to how you’ve raised her thus far. The simplicity of you doing nothing is also the genius of this game. You have to manage her stress but you also have to manage your wallet and how much you can afford for her. Having so many options and so many ways to fail presents a lot of experiences as this surrogate father figure. Princess Maker 3 has just about 60 different endings for you to experience, like seeing your fairy daughter go from a cute princess to a gambler or to an even more magical princess.

If you were reading that and you thought to yourself, “that sounds sooo boring” I wouldn’t blame you! These types of simulation games are always hard to recommend or even talk about because they’re just THAT weird. The way Princess Maker 3 presents itself overall is rough and the overarching story outside of the one-on-one relationship with you and the girl is uninteresting. But, the true shining moments are those bursts of activity and quirkiness you can have with the princess. Princess Maker 3 is something that falls into such a bizarre niche, I don’t think anyone would play it unless they were a huge fan of the series somehow, or like me love weird farm/life/simulation games and need a little itch to be scratched.

This Hot Take is based on a retail code sent by the publisher to the reviewer.

Author: Zach Quest

I'm so boring I sat here and tried to think of a bio for a few minutes. Just follow my twitter:

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