My World, My Way
RPGs, as a whole, tend to revolve around saving the world, or something of the sort. Nearly every game involves a quest that puts the characters’ lives on the line for the sake of the innocent and defenseless. A noble enterprise, to be sure, but hardly satisfying – when was the last time an RPG cared about what I wanted? My World, My Way is a game for DS that does just that. Casting you as a spoiled princess, this quirky adventure features an amusing and charming story that should be refreshing for RPG fans looking for something a little different.
The princess in question is Elise, a young royal who up to this point has had everything she’s ever wanted in life. Living in her father’s castle means a free ride, and it seems that up until now, Elise has been taking advantage of that. Still, what’s a cushy life without company? Elise wants a boyfriend, now, and demands that a ball be held at the castle in her honor so she can pick one. Unfortunately, none measure up to her assuredly refined tastes – except one. This young man who, according to Elise, is “a level 99 on the Handsomeness scale” disapproves of her decadent lifestyle, mocking her and leaving her with a challenge – if she can experience life the way he does as an adventurer, he will consider her offer.
With that, it’s onto the gameplay. Cutting her hair and grabbing some armor, the princess sets out into the world for some adventures. It’s standard RPG fare: using the touch screen, players select an area on the world map to visit, exploring the menus to find quests, buy items, and talk to other characters. The game is mostly menu-based, featuring an old-school turn based battle system reminiscent of the first-person fights in Dragon Quest. There are also some dungeon crawling segments; however, a majority of the game involves wandering around the overworld and fighting enemies as a part of questing.
“Declaring things like “I hate being poor!” will cause enemies to drop more gold during fights, and expressing distaste in the current environment to completely change.”What makes the game unique is the Pout system. Elise has a whole host of useful and hilarious options to complain about, be it a lack of money or a dislike of the surrounding environment. Pouting takes up PP (pout points), so it acts as a counterpart to the magic system found in many roleplaying games. Declaring things like “I hate being poor!” will cause enemies to drop more gold during fights, and expressing distaste in the current environment to completely change. This mode certainly sets the game apart from the crowd, although at heart, it’s still a classic RPG based around old-school mechanics.
“Elise is spoiled, naive, and frankly, stupid: encounters with other characters range from cringe worthy to downright hilarious.”The presentation is a mixed bag, but for the most part, My World My Way delivers. The art is bright, cute, and colorful, and the game makes use of excellent hand-drawn artwork during cutscenes and conversations. The 3D elements are decidedly less appealing, unfortunately; while enemies battle look ok, the environment is bare and ugly. On the overworld map, cute sprites represent Elise and the towns around her; however, in dungeons and fields, her model is stiff and boring. Happily, the rest of the game presents itself just fine: the music, while annoyingly chirpy, fits the theme of the game perfectly, and it complements well written dialogue. Elise is spoiled, naive, and frankly, stupid: encounters with other characters range from cringe worthy to downright hilarious. There is a subtle delight in playing a dumb, whiny character who is written to be so, as opposed to other games where characters come across as such thanks to poor melodrama. My World, My Way is both light and likable, and the humor is a good reason to stick with it.
It doesn’t push any boundaries or feature anything worth copying, but My World, My Way takes an amusing idea and runs with it. Similar to Super Princess Peach, the game uses an emotional mechanic that affects the world around the player; however, unlike Super Princess Peach, the approach manages to be funny instead of borderline offensive. As an ironic twist on traditional RPG storytelling, Elise’s whiny attitude makes for a great fish-out-of-water premise. It also deserves recognition for being the most truthful title of any video game ever; until a developer makes a shooter called Kill The Bad Guys To Win, no game will explain itself better than My World, My Way.