So, if you follow me on Youtube, you may have already seen me upload my entire playthrough already which will be the main focus on this post, but I haven’t really shared my thoughts yet so even if you know what to expect screenshot-wise, there should still be some fun stuff to read here too.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that Pretty Princess Party made it on my radar. I had been following it on and off since its release in Japan as Pretty Princess Magical Coordinate (which I think is a bit of a better name considering the only “party” aspect is the six minigames you can play in the game itself and from the menu with up to three friends in addition to yourself) with the only reason I didn’t keep a closer eye on it was due to the fact that I felt it just… did not have a good chance at coming over. It’s not the first time a game I adored has not gotten the chance to shine overseas ((Magician’s Quest: Town of Magic is probably one of the biggest ones as I ADORED the DS game. Kuma-Tomo looked really cute too. And besides PPMC/PPP, I’m also hoping MODEL Debut #nicola* makes its way here too… I also still would like to see the Disney Magical World Arcade Cabinet come over from Japan as some kind of game as I love so many of the songs from it) and while you can at least play any game on the Switch due to it being region-free, my skill in Japanese is unfortunately lacking.
So, when I learned Aksys was actually localizing Pretty Princess Magical Coordinate, now Pretty Princess Party, I was thrilled. The game really reminded me of Disney Magical World which I enjoy a lot and so, even if maybe the game was a bit on a smaller scale, I couldn’t wait.
Having now played, I will say that’s honestly a fair comparison, but I’d give it more of a combination between Disney Magical World and Happy Home Designer. Like the former, there’s achievements, a collection book, minigames [that grant you things], and you need to earn a currency, which one of the ways to get is by greeting everyone once a day, in order to learn recipes that will let you create items.
The thing I really like is that the currency isn’t terrible to get. You get 100 per character you greet, 3,000 for decorating a Resident’s house, and some for completing minigames. At no point did I really feel I had to grind for currency– I always had enough for pretty much everything.
My favorite thing however? After owning the recipes, it’s like Happy Home Designer. You just… have the item. No crafting. No material grinding. You can place it 100 times if you want (there’s a limit of 100 items per room), barring any space-related issues, and it’s fine. As someone who HATES crafting and gets fed up with it near immediately, this is such a welcomed relief and it’s made my enjoyment of the game increase tenfold.
There is still some grinding though which is where the Minigames come in. There’s three stats: Cute, Elegant, and Cool. Each has two minigames associated with them, each minigame with three levels of difficulty, and based off your score to a certain point and the difficulty you earn experience for the respective category.
The minigames are… odd, but not necessarily bad. I find myself generally able to do each without any issue, though, sometimes they can be a bit stressful. The one I struggled most with is the Horse Racing game– I find it really gives you little room for error (Ironically, I had an easier time unlocking Hard than I did unlocking Normal) and not a lot of time to switch lanes either. I feel like maybe I would’ve had an easier time if they had it so the player wasn’t running towards the screen/you were following their back and not from the front.
The way the minigames work is you there’s two periods– a “regular” period and a “fever” period that usually adds some new rule or mechanic about halfway through the round. The Cute Minigames are Studying and Cake Decorating. Studying involves you answering relatively easy true or false questions (That said, try not to think too much about them– they’re definitely aimed for kids, but it’s easy to overthink if you’re not a kid). You get more points for answering first and when the fever round starts, ONLY the person who answers first gets points. Answering incorrectly causes you to lose points. Cake Decorating requires you to just… pick anywhere from 2-4 ingredients in the same order (starting from the bottom) as the cake in the center. If you mess up, you lose points, but you can try again as long as time hasn’t run out for that cake. The fever period requires you to repeatedly make the same cake over and over until its switched out versus just making the cake once. The Graceful minigames are Bouquet Making and Dancing. Bouquet making requires you to gather up Roses from the garden. 3 of the same color gets you 50 points, 1 of each color gets you 30 points, and any other combination gets you 10 points. The fever period just speeds up the flower growth. Dancing is your standard rhythm game/tap to the music, though, it’s mostly just one button except for Hard Mode. Like Bouquet Making, the fever period just speeds the game up a bit and the music is a faster rendition. Target Practice requires you to shoot various targets while avoiding any possible bunnies that may show up. Your Marker is actually bigger than the targets and you get no extra points for WHERE you hit the targets so you can kind of go ham on it which is nice if your aim is garbage like mine. Regular targets are 5 points, Golden Targets are 10. Fever mode makes it so every target is gold and also more are spawning at once. Finally, the Horse Racing game has you racing down a track trying to collect flowers, avoid/jump over hay, and also jump over hurdles. Flowers give 5 points. Hitting hay or the hurdle makes you lose 15 points each time. Fever mode switches the game mode entirely to just spam A. While winning first is helpful there (it gives 50 points), you really need to do well in the first part for it to matter which is interesting as usually the fever section is the make-it or break-it section with your score.
Difficulties really don’t change much in the long run. They generally just add more variables (IE: Higher stacked cakes in Cake Decorating, more things that can be asked about in Studying, more obstacles/flowers in the Horse Racing, more Bunnies moving around in Target practice, Dancing makes it so some of the buttons may require a specific button direction pressed but there’s so few it’s not that bad) and the NPCs play a bit better. You don’t even necessarily need to win to get the best rewards– you just need to get at least 300 Points. That is required for the achievements, the difficulty unlocks, and to get the maximum amount of experience and Lumina per round. There’s no bonus for getting first place or not so you could even just stop once you hit 300. I honestly do find this kind of nice, but at the same time, it’d be nice if there was a bonus for getting higher than 300 Points, if only because the Stat level ups is where the game’s biggest grinding element is. You can only get 150 experience points maximum per game round so you will need to play them a lot to get everything to level 10 in order for everything to be for sale at the Fountain.
I would say my only other complaint is how slow some things can feel. There is a gachapon element, but you can only get things once so you never need to worry about getting something twice and it’s cheaper than it would cost if the items were available for regular purchase (100 Lumina for the Gacha ones versus 300 for the direct purchase ones) so I actually don’t mind it– the problem is that you have to do it one at a time… which can take ages when there’s 60 items to grab from it. Every time you buy anything, you need to watch a little cutscene where your character essentially learns it and poofs it into existence and while it’s cute, it gets old VERY fast. There is no way to do a mass amount of pulls. There is no way to add a bunch of things to buy at once either. And while you can technically skip the cut scene, you still need to press to skip each time and it just adds to everything else.
The game also has a handful of loading screens which, while I don’t mind most of the time, become incredibly annoying between Minigame rounds. As mentioned, this is the biggest grind in the game and as most of the shop items are locked behind those stats, you NEED to level them up. But there’s no play again, you talk to a Rabbit, go through a loading screen, read the instructions on how to play, you see a cute cutscene (which you can at least skip, but it’s relatively short so not the biggest issue here), and then play the game… and then get kicked back out and repeat. Having a play again would have been AMAZING because having to constantly talk to the Rabbit again and again and go through that same loading screen over and over as I had to continuously play these minigames for progression purposes really sucked.
But like I said, that is literally my biggest complaint. The only other thing really worth mentioning in a negative sense, which feels more weird/out of place if anything, is the Deciphering thing. Essentially, each room has 5 requirements to be completed. You can guess what they may be based off what the room is for or pay 100 Lumina to Decipher them. You can only have 5 things deciphering at a time and must wait a certain amount of time for them to be finished or pay 100 more Lumina per item to finish deciphering immediately. Outside of the greeting thing, NOTHING ELSE about the game is real time and even that is relatively loose time-wise so the specific time of the deciphering feels just… incredibly out of place. The cost is relatively cheap so it’s not a huge deal and honestly, 99% of the time I manage to guess all the parts anyway (and usually if I do forget something, it was something I thought I had placed already and just forgot to), but it just feels like a really weird design choice. Regardless, that’s really it for my biggest negatives for the game. Everything else is more of a nitpick.
Outfits generally have two color schemes– a Warm color variant and a Cool color variant so I’ve found a lot of stuff I like. Furniture has various styles and each with four color variations. Room sizes generally feel pretty great– I think the only ones I had issues with was my character’s room which I wish was bigger and the library where I had the opposite issue: it felt too big! Even the 100 Item limit hasn’t been too bad? The only time I’ve hit it so far was with the dining room because I wanted to put food on every single part of each table. I probably didn’t need to go that hard, but I still was able to do most of what I wanted. I think if I could up it, even just 125 or 150 would be great, but 100 still gives me a lot to work with. I do wish our room got a size upgrade though.
I will say I’m a little baffled at how hairstyles/hair colors unlocked– after the initial amount at the start, the rest are through the more gachapon element and there weren’t many options… There were mainly long down hairstyles. There’s only a couple of short ones and the few updos are either buns or pigtails. No ponytail. There are some braids, but that’s… it really. I like long hair so I still found something decent, but the lack of a ponytail here disappointed me even more than usual as they have so many great wavy/curly/ringlet-y hairstyles in the game that it really felt like a good chance to actually have a ponytail I really liked. I’m also incredibly shocked there wasn’t a darker hair color/black hair… I ended up just using the initial hairstyle from the start and also a hair color from the start a well– this is pretty much the darkest natural hair color and it really isn’t that dark.
The left is my character at the very start of the game while the right is my character when I finished.
Even the various Rabbit Villagers, despite having a lot of duplicate dialogue, all had their own unique requests for what they wanted and they varied a lot more than some of the Happy Home Designer ones did.
Finally, below, you can see some of the different rooms I’ve made! These are some of my personal favorites out of the 20 Castle Rooms and 25 Bunny Villager Houses you can decorate. If you would like to see more, you can see them at the summary page for the game!