Developed by Apollosoft and published by NIS America as a digital-only release in the West for the PlayStation 3, Battle Princess of Arcadias is a 2D side-scrolling action RPG in the same vein as Odin Sphere. In Battle Princess, the player takes on the role of the titular character. The sole responsibility of this member of the royal family is to lead the armies of the kingdom of Schwert into battle, fighting on the front lines alongside the troops to ensure victory in every campaign.
Like Odin Sphere, Battle Princess feature combat levels where the player chooses up to three characters to battle monsters across the map until all the enemies have been cleared. These levels do not offer much in the way of challenge and be seen as an opportunity to grind. Enemies drop items for enhancing weapons, and extra are awarded at the end of the level based on the players performance. Combos do not end unless the player is hit, so keeping enemies at bay while building up a large tally of hits will offer the best rewards.
The other types of combat revolve around the use of Schwert’s army. Skirmishes pit the players army against that of an opponent. Weapon types come into play here, as there is an extended version of Rock, Paper, Scissors being played. Each character commands a squad that uses the same weapon type as they do, and squads can be levelled up using gold, up to the same level as their commander. Commands can be issued to the current squad to alter their performance on the battlefield. Every command consumes morale, a resource gained when enemy combatants are slain. A full bar can be consumed to unleash a devastating attack on the opposing squad. The last type of engagement is against bosses. The squads are all combined into a single army to fight an individual creature. The challenge is not as great as facing off against another army, but players need to careful not to lose all their troops.
The weapon enhancement system of Battle Princess is incredibly simple. Most items found in during combat are used to add stats to a weapon. Each weapon can only be upgraded a limited number of times, but rarer items have more upgrade potential. Weapons can be bought from a shop in town, but they can also drop in the field as well. Weapon drops can vary. Rarer items of the same type can carry more upgrades, and have special abilities that can be unlocked. Unlocking these abilities often requires some of the better rewards from completing maps, so players are incentivised to replay maps beyond just grinding.
The plot of Battle Princess of Arcadias is fairly odd and filled with many anime tropes. It follows the tale of Princess Plume who takes it upon herself to battle for the Schwert Kingdom. From the talking animals to perverted men, the story throws a lot of information and characters at the player between each battle. Most interactions between the characters are delivered through silly one-liners or outlandish situations. Even though there are so many colourful personalities in the game, it can be troublesome to try and remember each and every one of them because they do not deviate much from the trope they represent. Even though the game is fairly short, each story segment does seem to last an eternity. Judging by how the characters react to each other, at times it seems amazing that the King manages to run his kingdom at all!
Thankfully, where the story and core gameplay lack slightly, they are somewhat made up for by the excellent production values. The graphics, in a word, are gorgeous. They lose a little of their shine when in motion, as Battle Princess can look like a 2D browser game thanks to low-count animations, but ultimately they come off as pretty adorable. Plus, the use of the entire color palette to detail environments and backgrounds really does wonders for the overall visuals. The audio does a nice job complementing the aesthetics, with a soundtrack that is especially whimsical. There is no dual voice-track option, which means the spoken dialogue of Battle Princess is entirely Japanese, but the performances from the voice actors are solid overall.
Battle Princess of Arcadias is a rather safe game to play. The combat is easy and never really troubles the player. Any challenge that is present in the maps can be mitigated by over-levelling in earlier maps while also collecting weapon enhancing items. The weapon system lets players customise weapons to suit their tastes, but it is not very deep. The cast has bags of personality, but very little in the way of interesting things to say. There will be an audience for the game though, because despite the fact that it could have been so much more, or better suited to a handheld device, it is still a competent game that delivers a good experience.