Prinny 1+2: Exploded and Reloaded

Game review by
Matt Cabral, Common Sense Media
Prinny 1+2: Exploded and Reloaded Game Poster Image
Cult-classic platformers are fun but also frustrating.

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The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Both included games' stories unfold in a fantasy netherworld, where most of the characters are "demons." While it features some very broad good-versus-evil themes, they primarily exist to support the combat-focused gameplay.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonists are represented as disposable, minion-like creatures who might appear brave, but are actually being forced to put their lives at risk by their evil ruler. 

Ease of Play

The controls are relatively simple and straightforward to learn, but the challenge can be quite steep. These games' original releases were notorious for their level of difficulty, and the remaster has done little to remedy that. 

Violence

There's lots of combat, including stabbing and explosions, but it's all very cartoon-y with no blood or gore. The Prinnies have access to a "Prinnykaze" move, which sees several of them sacrificing themselves to execute a powerful attack. 

Sex

The animated female characters are somewhat sexualized, donning skimpy clothes and showing plenty of skin. The second installment's storyline involves the Prinnies recovering their female overlord's stolen panties. 

Language

While not frequent or excessive, moderately inappropriate language, including "crap," "hell," and "badass" is used. 

Consumerism

The game is a spin-off of the larger Disgaea series, which features several titles available for purchase.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Prinny 1+2: Exploded and Reloaded is a remastered compilation containing a pair of 2D, side-scrolling platform games for the Nintendo Switch. They unfold in a fantasy netherworld, where the penguin-like Prinnies serve Etna, a sort of demon goddess overlord. The games leverage dark, juvenile humor and cartoon-like visuals to tell their stories. Etna, and other female characters, wear skimpy, suggestive clothing, and sometimes use foul language, including "hell," "crap," and "badass." The second game's quest involves retrieving Etna's stolen underwear. The Prinnies use knives and other attacks, including a suicidal "Prinnykaze" power, but the combat doesn't contain blood or gore. The controls are easy to learn and use, but some of the platforming challenges are extremely difficult. Both installments include difficulty settings, but while these ease a bit of the challenge, they don't do much to ease the frustration some players might experience during the more trying stretches.

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What's it about?

PRINNY 1+2: EXPLODED AND RELOADED contains remastered versions of PlayStation Portable games Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? and Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! Both games are 2D, side-scrolling platformers starring the titular, penguin-like creatures from the larger Disgaea fantasy role-playing game series. While the Prinnies are peripheral, but popular, minion-like characters in the flagship franchise, they're the protagonists in these spin-offs. They're also servants to Etna, a mean-spirited demon master who sends them to find the ingredients for her favorite dessert in the first game, and her stolen underwear in the follow-up. These slight stories set the stage for the gameplay, which sees the Prinnies navigating a colorful netherworld, battling demons of all shapes and sizes, and facing epic bosses.

Is it any good?

Equipped with bat wings, peg legs, and an annoying penchant for saying "Dood," Prinnies aren't the most obvious candidates to star in their own series of platform games. Still, the adorable demons in Prinny 1+2: Exploded and Reloaded pack an undeniable charm, one that earned Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? and Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! a cult following when they were released in 2009 and 2011, respectively. The cute creatures' unorthodox appeal endures in this remaster, which again invites players to run, jump, slash, and detonate through clever, fantasy-inspired side-scrolling stages. Further complemented by cheeky humor, imaginative enemy encounters, and a few fresh features -- like the freedom to tackle levels in any order you choose -- Exploded and Reloaded has all the makings of a fun platforming romp.

While the package brings back the originals' best qualities -- as well as a slightly enhanced visual presentation -- it also retains its flaws. Most notably, the games' unforgiving jumping mechanics return, making the platforming challenges scarier than any of the netherworld's demonic denizens. Levels frequently call on you to land precise jumps, which is at odds with the rigid controls. And that's before you fill the screen with distracting obstacles, hazards, and enemies. A variety of difficulty settings and frequent checkpoints soften the blow some, but still provide little comfort when the same, tedious stretch steals 15 or so of your lives. Boss battles are similarly uneven; a handful of these level-capping encounters showcase the games at their absolute best, but just as many will try your patience over the course of repeated, untimely deaths. Prinny 1+2's charmingly bizarre personality and dark fairytale-inspired presentation is engaging, but don't expect your descent into the netherworld to be all sunshine, lollipops, and exploding characters, as the game's unfair difficulty is often its most formidable foe. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about game remasters. What are they? How do they differ from a game's original release? Are remastered games better than the originals?

  • The game's heroes are demons, but are they "good guys?" What positive traits do they possess? What are their motivations for embarking on their quests?

  • Does this game remind you of other platforming games? How is it different or similar to those other games? What are your favorite platforming games?

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