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Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake: Om Nom Nom Nom, Indeed.

If you have any experience with real-time strategy games, you may have occasionally imagined how the games would play if you were allowed to assume direct control of single units. Instead of acting as chief strategist, master tactician, and arbitrary observer, you would get a real piece of the action. Sony Santa Monica's Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake seeks to deliver an experience that falls along a similar line. I've spent some quality hands-on time with the title, and I'll go ahead and predict that it just might be one of the PSP games to get this year.

Fistful of Cake is action/strategy at its core, but what gives it its draw is its delightful sense of humor. I mean, look at the title of the game. Not only does it contain the phrase "Fat Princess," but the subtitle is an unmistakable reference to a Clint Eastwood spaghetti-western. I'm not going to go into explicit detail until I write my official review of the game, so all I'm going to say is this: if you like listening to smarmy-sounding British men narrate stories that are laden with poorly-aged memes and witty wordplay ("Om Nom Nom Nom, Indeed" is straight out of the game), Fistful of Cake will likely charm the pants off you.

Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake is essentially the PSP version of last year's PSN release, which was simply titled Fat Princess. You run around as a customizable servant of an unnamed royal family, carrying out the King's bidding. Game modes charge you with a number of different tasks, from rescuing the gluttonous Princess (in a number of Capture-the-Flag variants) or killing soldiers of a rival family. Of course, these are but a few of the game modes in this title: the actual number is impressive, but I won't go into any specificity until the official review. Just know that although there are several modes, the mechanics remain largely the same.

Each match starts you off as a blank slate character with no real abilities. You must go to a Hat Machine to equip a class. Most matches start off with three or four Hat Machines, but when you accumulate resources and gain some momentum, upgrades become available. It is here that the game becomes less of an action game and more of a strategy game. Every class brings something new to the match, whether it's the resource-gathering Worker or the fireball-lobbing Mage. These classes give players special weapons and abilities. In the case of melee classes, this usually amounts to charged attacks, while magic-based classes can unleash area-of-effect spells.

I only have one concern as the game's release nears: Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake seems to be a multiplayer-focused title. This isn't a bad thing at all, but most modern multiplayer games (excluding a few, most notably Demon's Souls) force players to rely on good communication skills. Perhaps I'm not as experienced with the Sony PSP as I am with other platforms, but I don't know many PSP owners who own voice chat-enabling accessories, nor do I see any in-game options for voice chat. I'll have my answers when more people get their hands on the game.

If you've been looking for a wholly unique experience to take on the road, this is something you should keep your eye on. The fast-paced strategic action and endearing sense of humor seem to mesh well, and the cartoony aesthetic clashes with the bloody violence with hilarious results. Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake comes out of the oven later this month -- stay tuned for our full review.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos
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