VN Game Den received a review request for Kill the Prince?! from the developer.
Kill the Prince?! is a short visual novel created for the NaNoRenO 2020 visual novel game jam. A young prince has been captured by an enemy kingdom, where he is intended to be married off to their princess. No one is pleased about this arrangement, and an outraged group hires the protagonist to infiltrate the castle and kill the prince. Despite how serious that premise sounds, it’s actually a humorous story.
Right away, this visual novel’s unusual art direction stands out. While most visual novels simply don’t use sprites for minor characters at all, Kill the Prince?! instead uses black-and-white sketches for the majority of its characters, with only the protagonist and a couple key characters having full-color sprites. While the visual novel is short enough that it doesn’t become too tiring to look at, I didn’t particularly enjoy this effect.
However, the reason the developer opted for this approach rather than simply not using sprites for minor characters like many visual novels do might be because you need to interact with many of the guests at the party in order to proceed. Kill the Prince?! is partly an adventure game, since you need to figure out how to actually reach the prince. You can freely select characters visible on the screen to gather information and learn more about the story. One character, who recognizes you and declares herself to be your biggest fan, will also give you hints if you become stuck at any point.
At the start, you’re told you have three different disguises available. This might lead you to believe there are multiple paths you can take, but it actually follows a fairly linear path. It’s possible to get a bad ending if you make the wrong choices, so you’ll need to figure out the right way to use each disguise—and other items you find—to make your way to the prince. This is handled in a fairly lighthearted fashion, since Kill the Prince?! is a comedy.
Now, this is a very short story, easily taking less than an hour to complete, so I can’t say too much about the story. Its length is partly to its detriment, since the little hints provided about the characters and the warring countries made me want to see this universe and the characters’ backgrounds fully fleshed out in more detail—especially the protagonist, since hints of his backstory are given without ever being fully explained.
These hints also set up the game’s ending a little too well, since I guessed where the story was going long before I actually got there. Nevertheless, seeing snippets of the protagonist’s past when you examine certain objects in the environment is nice, and even if the story became predictable, it was still enjoyable.
Overall, Kill the Prince?! is charming and cute. It might feel a little lacking in certain areas, but it made me laugh… and if its greatest fault is that it left me wanting to learn more about the characters, that’s not wholly a bad thing.
You can download Kill the Prince?! for free from itch.io.