Prinny Presents are collections of classic NIS games re-released on Switch. Like the first part, this, second volume, contains two console products in one convenient package. Those are Makai Kingdom: Reclaimed and Rebound and ZHP: Unlosing Ranger Vs Darkdeath Evilman. This being my first experience with both, I was really excited, especially about ZHP. Prinny Presents 2 starts with games’ selection menu. After choosing one of the two – the players arrive at the specific game’s main screen.
ZHP: Unlosing Ranger Vs Darkdeath Evilman
ZHP: Unlosing Ranger Vs Darkdeath Evilman is a randomly generated roguelike about a random passerby, who gets the title of the Unlosing Ranger. When evil Darkdeath Evilman threatens to destroy Earth, it’s up to the Unlosing Ranger to save the day. But, before the Unlosing Ranger makes it to the final decisive battle, a van runs him over. The hit propels him towards some passerby – upon whom the hero, with his dying words, bestows his title. This random person reluctantly arrives at the scene of battle – but soon suffers a defeat, which sends the world into a frenzy. Luckily, this isn’t the end – but the beginning of our hero’s training.
The training takes place in an alternate universe: Bizarro Earth. It’s similar to Earth in every way, except its inhabitants are monstrous versions of their human counterparts. Also, with the two worlds on the same plane – everything is connected. If someone dies on Earth, their Bizarro version dies and vice versa – though with a delay. The latter plays into the narrative, with the hero’s goal being to help the Bizarro Earthling; for example, by saving the monster to revert their human version’s death on Earth.
ZHP is a grid-based roguelike. Every time the player moves a tile, the active enemies can move too. Not all foes are idle until they spot or are under attack by the hero; though, this is often so during the first levels. In addition, the player’s weapon affects the attack’s range, and wielding two weapons allows double attacks.
As well as attacking, the hero can lift enemies and objects – and throw them to deal damage. This works great with multiple foes around. While navigating the map and moving to different floors, the hero loses stamina; losing too much drains his health. Feeding him counters that. But, even if the hero dies during a mission, this isn’t the end. Whether he won or lost, he resets at level one. It may sound bad – losing all the levels you gained. However, the skills keep their upgrades – making the hero a much stronger level one character.
When a level is over – with a victory or a defeat, the hero returns to their base. There, he can synthesize or repair weapons, see their wife and daughter, and do many other things that’ll help defeat Darkdeath Evilman.
Makai Kingdom: Reclaimed and Rebound
The second game in Prinny Presents 2 is Makai Kingdom. Its story follows the adventures of Zetta, one of the greatest overlords who’s ever lived. The only catch is he’s been overthrown and turned into a book. Talk about a rough day. You’d think being a book would stop Zetta. It doesn’t. Now he’ll be changing the rules of battle one page at a time to reclaim his Netherworld and restore himself as the Supreme Overlord. With the help of a few friendly overlords, Zetta will train his lackeys, until he’s ready to take back what was his.
Until then, he has free rein in his new Netherworld, even summoning servants to do his bidding. The first lackey is free. The others require transforming objects, scattered around the home map, into units. After transforming all those, the player is free to tackle dungeons. The first thing to do when entering those is to summon minions. After that, the player can move each character during their phase. They can attack, lift and throw foes out of bounds, or do things like picking up random objects.
There are two ways for the player to attack foes. The first is to set up all their characters, choose whom they’ll attack – then have it all play out at once. The second option is to be more calculating and do each character separately. Besides initiating attacks, a character can also lift an enemy – if neither wield weapons. If this happens, they can then throw this foe. Unlike in ZHP, where enemies can be thrown at each other, in Makai there’s only throwing them out of bounds or off the map – instantly killing them. In some instances, throwing an enemy off the map unlocks another map section – with more enemies.
In ZHP, failing was a good thing; Makai simply takes players to the title screen to reload their last save. Because this is an older game, it doesn’t really have autosave – which I discovered the hard way after dying without having saved for about an hour.
ZHP and Makai Kingdom definitely share some gameplay mechanics; probably why they’re in a bundle. The story too is similar: with both protagonists trying to restore their former glory. In Makai Kingdom‘s case, Lord Zetta is rebuilding his Netherworld – creating soldiers and tackling progressively more dangerous dungeons. In ZHP, the main character is new to the superhero world – trying to achieve the power of their predecessor. However, the way they do it is – through a series of more and more difficult dungeons. Even choosing scenarios is similar – with a common recommendation to play the same dungeon multiple times to level up.
Out of the two, I preferred ZHP, though it had some problems. For example, movement was a pain, especially since I could only use the d-pad; we all know how bad they are when it comes to a joy-con. Makai Kingdom was a bit better with movement, but it still felt somewhat clunky – not to mention I’ve been playing it for five-plus hours and still had no idea what I was doing.
Still, I enjoyed both games in Prinny Presents 2 – and for someone who’s played neither before, this package was almost essential. Sadly, if you only want one of the two and own a Switch, then tough luck: It’s only available as a double pack, even if they are sold separately on Steam. Seems weird, but it is what it is.
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2 is available on Switch on May 10 for NA, and May 13 for EU and ANZ. The games will also be available individually on PC, May 11. A code was provided by NIS America for this review.