Slay the Princess – Review
Follow Genre: Horror
Developer: Black Tabby Games
Publisher: Black Tabby Games
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Slay the Princess – Review

Site Score
7.7
Good: Interesting premise, Great presentation
Bad: Vague progression
User Score
0
(0 votes)
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When people think about horror games, they often imagine being chased by gruesome monsters and screaming it out thanks to a bunch of jump scares. It’s only now and then that a game tries to present a slow burner focusing on psychological horror. This is exactly the type of scare Slay the Princess is going for, trading in the monster chases for a visual novel with an eerie feeling that not everything is what it seems.

Story

The story of Slay the Princess is pretty straightforward when it first gets introduced to you. You’re a nameless hero who wakes up in a forest with only one objective, killing the princess who is locked up in a shed up ahead. This task is given to you by a narrator, giving you no other information on why you need to do this. From this point onwards, the player is presented with choices to influence the narrative, leading to dozens of widely different outcomes. This is why it is pretty tough to talk about the narrative any further without entering spoiler territory.

It becomes obvious that the princess isn’t the innocent girl you expect her to be, and you’d best be prepared to wake up in the woods pretty often on multiple playthroughs. This is one of the main mechanics of the game; starting the game over again with fresh knowledge in hand. You also won’t have to start over entirely, since you will be accompanied by voices in your head, depending on how you fared in your previous run. Thanks to the fact that it doesn’t take too long to get through one run of the game and playthroughs can be wildly different, it never becomes dull to wake up again in the familiar forest. Encountering most of the different routes will unlock the true ending, offering a reward to players who can find all the different options. Most of this overarching story is fairly vague and can go into some existential places.

Graphics

The graphical design of Slay the Princess is a very interesting one. The game is presented in a black-and-white style with rough outlines that look like a sketchbook. This adds to the fairytale-like atmosphere the game is going for, offering a mysterious feeling. When a game features a drawn art style, it’s important that the designs look good and this is where Slay the Princess delivers. Both characters and surroundings are well-designed, featuring a ton of unique designs in the multiple playthroughs. The only thing that seemed odd to us was the design of some interfaces, sometimes offering so many choices you have to scroll through that it becomes easy to lose the overview.

Sound

Sound is a very important factor when playing a horror game, as it has to deliver spooky sounds to keep you feeling on edge. These types of sounds are very much present in Slay the Princess, filling your ears with soft and unsettling music. The game also comes with fully voiced dialogues that deliver good performances, but at the same time, it can be a bit confusing. Thanks to the fact that all the voices in your head share the same voice, along with the narrator, it can become difficult to distinguish them at times.

Gameplay

Slay the Princess is a horror game with a big focus on psychological horror and a choice-driven narrative. This means that a ton of time will be spent reading text and choosing dialogue options to influence the story.

Where a ton of games that feature an interactive narrative present dialogue options that don’t really change anything, Slay the Princess offers meaningful choices that change the events that unfold drastically. The first one you’ll face is whether you kill the titular damsel in distress or not. On top of that, there are also a ton of details that influence what happens next. Do you bring a weapon? Do you close the door? What are you willing to do to help her escape? All of these little choices change the course of the story and influence which events will happen on consecutive playthroughs. Exploring these different options is a ton of fun since you’ll never know what to expect next. The only problem here, once again, is that there is no way to check which routes you’ve already taken, so reaching the real ending can be a bit of an uncertain journey.

That is pretty much it gameplay-wise. Slay the Princess is purely a narrative experience where the only thing you do is go through the text and pick which option you want. This will feel right at home with visual novel fans, but gamers who want a bit more might be left wanting more.

Conclusion

Slay the Princess is definitely an unsettling experience for players who are looking for a short hit of horror. The story is interesting but vague at times and the choices feel like they matter. All of this is presented in a great art style and performance is equally great. It is, however, a purely story-driven game with no other gameplay, so people who aren’t looking for a digital choose-your-adventure book might be disappointed.

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