The solid platforming gameplay isn't revolutionary by any means, but Prinny's presentation makes it far more enjoyable. There's a ton of variety in the colorful, cartoonish level design, the creative monsters and the goofy bosses you'll encounter. Prinny and his comrades are bursting with personality thanks to the surprising level of detail poured into their animations and expressions. For little sprites, they play their part well. The game's extensive voice work (featuring sentences frequently punctuated with "dood!") is well done and quite funny. The humor and style adds to Prinny's charm substantially.
Over time, it seems the trend in game design has been to dull down the toughness and increase the level of handholding to ensure players don't get too frustrated. Happily, Prinny doesn't follow this trend. The difficulty curve comes in two flavors: Standard mode (where you can be hit three times before being killed) and "Hell's Finest" (where one hit kills you). Both are brutal, while the latter is particularly heinous. Following this theme, several old-school design decisions make the challenge even greater. Once Prinny jumps, he can't change his trajectory in mid-air; his only options are to deliver a flurry of airborne machete swipes to temporarily hover in place for a moment, do a double jump or butt pounds swiftly downward. It forces you to be damn sure about your jumping commitment ... or be dead. Making matters worse, Prinny stumbles backward every time he takes damage. This can spell instant death when he's pegged in mid-air or takes damage while he lands on the edge of a platform. The levels themselves also seem designed with their maximum irritation potential in mind - think Mega Man-style sadistic.
Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? is maddeningly difficult at times and pleasantly enchanting at others. The punishment players have to endure to make it through the game will be enough to turn some folks off, yet anyone who enjoys the Disgaea series and isn't afraid of a steep challenge should get a kick out of this amusing spinoff.
Bottom Line: Prinny is simultaneously great fun and a major headache.
Recommendation: Try it. And try not to haphazardly destroy your PSP in the process.
Nathan Meunier almost snapped his PSP in half after blowing through close to 80 lives in just under an hour.