When I first heard about Fat Princess a few months ago I thought it looked like a totally silly game that was probably more of a joke than anything. Then a few feminist blogs freaked out about it, which amused me. Then I forgot about it for a long time. Then it came out, and I bought it, and spent five or six straight hours playing it.

This is one of the best online multiplayer games available for any console. It’s so good.

The premise of the game is simple: two armies each hold their opponents’ princess captive. The goal is to fight your way across the battlefield and rescue your princess without allowing the one you’re holding prisoner to escape. You play as one of five classes (warrior, mage, healer, ranger or worker) and can switch classes at any time by picking up a different class’s hat. The five classes have different strengths and weaknesses and can be upgraded during the course of the game.

You can make the other team’s life more difficult by bringing pieces of magic cake back to your prison and feeding it to your captive princess, thus fattening her up. The fatter a princess is, the more difficult she is to carry. So at any given time your team is going to be juggling several different objectives: keep the princess fat, gather resources to upgrade your abilities, and fight over several battlefield objectives.

As you can imagine, a little cooperation goes a long way. Going into the game with a friend of mine last night, both of us complete noobs, we managed to score quite a few wins by sticking together. We’d go out as workers feverishly gathering up logs and hunks of ore, build a catapult in our castle, then switch classes and rocket over to the enemy keep. One of us would be a warrior (the class with the most health) and the other would be a healer, and we’d waltz across the battlefield, fat-ass princess in tow.

Of course we were just trying to get our bearings against CPU players. Who knows what kind of strategies work against actual human opponents.

There are some issues with matchmaking. If you get into a game and the host quits, there’s a good chance the entire game falls apart and you get kicked back to the main menu. There’s some jerkiness and teleporting sometimes while your console is trying to keep up with where other players are actually at onscreen. We hit a bug last night where the red princess just vanished from the map entirely, leaving both teams unable to win.

All in all though there’s a lot of fun to be had here. I’m going to get a lot of mileage out of this one. And the credits roll… good god the credits roll. It has to be seen to be believed. Hopefully someone gets that up on YouTube like pronto.

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