A couple clever ideas can make a boring subject like Physics more interesting or render a crappy movie bearable. And My World, My Way, another RPG for the DS, proves that a little smarts can even make a by-the-numbers adventure of a princess out to get a boyfriend worth sitting through. Most of the time.
You play as a cute, spoiled, and bossy princess out to get a man. When she falls for one, it isn't the standard prince, but a handsome adventurer who doesn't want a girlfriend who isn't as committed to saving the world as he is. So our unnamed princess heads out on a quest of her own, selfishly righting wrongs to try to prove her kind heartedness. But she isn't exactly alone. Her father, the king, has secretly hired a guardian angel: an experienced traveler who trails her the entire way, watching her back and pulling a lot of strings to keep her busy, but relatively safe. For instance, when the princess enters a town, it’s full of actors he hired. The dungeons? He chose the monsters right down to the bosses – you even get to choose from two bosses in each dungeon. It's a clever premise, even if the resulting plot is fairly plain.
Luckily, though the storyline in My World, My Way isn’t terribly fresh, the dialogue absolutely is. When outside of a dungeon the interactions between characters are worth reading, mostly to experience the hilarious dialogue. The script recognizes that this probably isn't the player’s first RPG, so the princess acts just as bored as the player when given a long explanation for a crappy fetch quest. Add to that her humorous disregard for the feelings or even the existence of others in her world - get the title now? - and we found ourselves laughing way more than we’d expected.
Though the princess' secret bodyguard obviously has a huge hand in keeping her safe, she herself also wields real power over the gameplay with her royal ability to simply pout until she gets her way. Pout Points (PP) work the same as Magic Points or Health Points, but are spent both in and out of battles in a wide variety of ways. They enable the player to raise or lower the enemies’ levels, increase the money and experience points you collect, and lower any XP or gold penalties you’d suffer for “dying”. It even enables you to auto-complete a current quest that may be boring the crap out of you. It's a really smart feature that helps keeps your interest even in a boring dungeon.
And the dungeons are boring. Combat is an incredibly plain, turn-based affair, while the dungeons are blocky and unoriginal. If it weren't for the clever Pout powers, it would bore us to tears. As is, we had an okay time in the dungeons until we encountered each boss – when that happened, we invariably had to exit the dungeon, rest up to recharge our powers, and then re-enter the dungeon and track down the boss again via the shortest route possible. Sadly, no amount of adorable pouting could make exploring the same dungeon again any fun the second or even third time.
Ultimately, My World, My Way has a few pluses that barely pull the player up from the achingly standard gameplay. Though very late in this surprisingly long title even pouting became a rote exercise, we still kept at it to see how the comical story would play out. We wouldn't rank it even the third best DS RPG we played this month, but we must admit that it touched us. Perhaps the princess’ pouting charmed us just as it did the in-game characters.
Feb 20, 2009