JAST USA has just released the English version of popular Japanese hentai game Princess Waltz, which combines anime sex with card-based strategy battles in a way that has me very confused.
Eroge, hentai games, h-games - call them what you will. I've played them before, but by playing I generally mean skipping to the good parts and giggling in the company of friends. JAST USA's latest release, Princess Waltz, interrupts the good parts with a nifty little card battling game that has your character facing off against a variety of monsters. The plot involves an event known as The Princess Waltz, which involves women battling to determine the queen of a fantasy kingdom.
Can Princess Waltz balance my general disinterest in h-games with my insane love of card-based video games? I spent several hours trying to find out exactly that.
It's a Card Game
The card game portion of Princess Waltz is fairly straightforward. Each opponent starts off with five numbered cards. There are two phases to combat - initiative and battle - during which you wager a number of cards in order to get a higher total than your opponent. Whoever wins the initiative round is the attacker in the battle round, trying to get a higher total than the opponent's in order to deal damage.
As you play and gain experience you will gain special spell cards to use during battle in order to effect your card totals, while gaining stats that are added on to the totals, assisting you in your quest.
The main character, Arata, forms bonds with the various women in the game in order to increase statistics when joined with them in battle, which leads us directly to the second portion of the game... It's a Hentai Game
While Princess Waltz takes it's own sweet time getting to the sexual encounters, it doesn't hold back once it gets there. In the entire first chapter there are only two real encounters, both with the same person, both of which seem to draw on uncomfortably long. Things start off exciting enough, but soon you'll start pondering using the skip button for the exact opposite reason it exists.
In the second chapter of the game things really kick into high gear, with no less than five sex scenes, each one determined by choices you make at a certain point in the game. This is where things get a bit too graphic for even my tastes, with scenes featuring the graphic taking of virginity, incest, and a bit of watersports thrown in for good (I suppose) measure. I found myself on more than several occasions desperately hoping for the next card battle.
Needs More Card Battles
If you were to completely strip the sex out of Princess Waltz, you'd be left with a lengthy interactive book interrupted by the odd card battle. The story is entertaining and even a bit involving and the production values are incredibly high considering the genre, but there really isn't enough card battling to suit my tastes. Perhaps an additional mode where you could fight random opponents after the game ends would have added a bit of value to the title, but as it stands the whole card aspect just feels like it was tacked on.
Still, if you're in the market for this sort of thing and would rather have an H-game that at least pretends to be an actual interactive experience, you could do much worse than Princess Waltz. Hit the link at the bottom of the press release for the very NSFW official website.
Peach Princess Adult PC Dating-Sim Game "Princess Waltz" Now On Sale, Download Purchase Available
San Diego, California, Tuesday, December 9, 2008
JAST USA announces that Princess Waltz, its new PC dating-sim/card battle game for adults, has shipped and is available on PC DVD-ROM as well as Internet Download Edition. Princess Waltz is one of the most popular adult anime-style PC games to be released in recent years in Japan, and it features high quality graphics, a compelling fantasy storyline w/innovative card battle action, and a degree of erotic and emotional intensity that only Japan's love-simulation games can bring.
"In a Storm of Flashing Blades, One Princess Must Triumph"
As the game's hero Arata you'll find yourself surrounded by a cast of beautiful magical princesses who fight in an ancient rite of combat known as the Princess Waltz, which determines the future queen of the fantasy kingdom of Eldhiland. When a chance encounter with a mysterious transfer student makes you an active participant in the battle, you have no choice but to fight.
As the game story progresses, you uncover the secrets of these beautiful girls and forge bonds of love, coupling with your partners to improve your synchronized combat skills. Can you save the world of Eldhiland and win your princess's heart?
JAST USA president Peter Payne said: "Japan's culture of PC games with adult themes including love and sex is incredible, and we're happy to be able to bring one of the best games ever released to fans in English. This is one of the highest quality titles ever seen, and we can't wait for fans of PC dating-sim games to experience the world of Princess Waltz."
The game is available for purchase now at the JAST USA website as well as other fine anime retailers. The official game site with full character profiles, sample graphics and voices, plot summaries and more is available at http://princesswaltz.com