Vanguard Princess is an indie PC fighting game that was recently localized by EigoMANGA. I already really explained the game, here, so I’m going to go ahead and start on the review.
The basic premise is that you play as one of the many girls who possess “tactical magic” as a result of the government experimenting on a girl who had special abilities. The aforementioned girl is now trying to destroy the world, so you and the rest of the cast set off to stop her (independently from each other I assume, because you end up fighting them all for no apparent reason). The game does not tell why you are fighting the other girls and does not give any explanation for the assist characters. That being said, I really have no gripes with the story. Is it particularly good? No. Is it told extremely well? No. But Vanguard Princess is a fighting game, so I don’t care. The only problem I have with it is how the story is shown. I’m fine with it being told with text before battles, but it advances extremely slow, and if you press any button then you skip it and go on to the battle. I wish you could have skipped to the next screen by pressing the A button, like many other fighting games do.
If you haven’t realized it already, the whole cast is made up entirely of girls. They all have different move sets, a one paragraph back story, and very unique fighting styles. I must admit, this being only the second all-female fighting game I’ve played (the first being Scarlet Weather Rhapsody), I was surprised that Vanguard Princess managed to implement a Zangief-esque wrestling style character. And yet they did, in the form of the teddy bear wielding Lilth.
The graphics of Vanguard Princess are really nice, especially for an indie game. However, the style of the main characters, assist characters, and backgrounds are all extremely similar, so sometimes it is hard to distinguish who’s who, especially with four people fighting at a time.
Vanguard Princess is pretty complicated. Even beating the game on easy is a pretty difficult task. I really think it could the localization could have had something, even a README, to explain how assists and other things worked, as it is a rather unique and I had to dig up a wiki for the old Japanese release to get an inkling of what was going on. I thought the user friendliness was lacking a little, especially seeing as how this is a commercial game now.
The game also really, really needs netplay. Right now, there’s only a story mode, with three difficulties, and a VS mode, where you play together on one keyboard. Seeing as how there’s 7 (technically 8) buttons for each person, it can get a little crowded. I really only used VS as a kind of training mode, to practice my combos against.
These things, while not really minor, may be fixed in the coming patches that EigoMANGA is promising. The gameplay itself is awesome. Extremely fast-paced, while not combo-heavy, an insane final boss, and when you finally get the assist thing the game gets much cooler. I’ve really only played well with two of the roster, and one assist character, but the game has a lot of variety, and if it gets netplay, it will be awesome.
Nothing much more to say. Vanguard Princess is a cool (if hard to pick up right away) PC fighter. If it gets netplay it will be even cooler.