I’m not interested in just vaguely pointing out what Slay the princess, a time-loop horror visual novel from Black Tabby Games, is actually set in… There’s often an assumption that a review will be a spoiler-free assessment of whether or not something is worth your time, keeping our distance and speaking generally. But sometimes you need to engage with what the work actually does in order to say anything meaningful about it, and I don’t think it’s about the specifics of the work. Slay the princess It will do it justice. Anyway, I already did that when I was I previewed the game earlier this year. So, if you want to know whether you should play or not Slay the princessThe answer is yes. If you want to know why, keep reading.
Slay the princess He seems very determined at first. You’re thrust into a situation with no context, as you walk through the woods towards a hut where a princess who will allegedly destroy the world is kept with a single chain around her wrist. It’s up to you to kill her and save everyone. You are told all this by a narrator who refuses to clarify some basic information. How will you destroy the world? Do you even want that? Does her apparent ability to destroy the world mean she has to die?
All these questions run through my mind when I enter the cabin. There is a knife lying on the table, but little else indicates my grim mission until I descend the stairs and find the princess in chains. I had already tried to talk to her in the original demo, so I thought I would change my strategy this time and not enjoy having a conversation at all. Instead, I headed straight for her, used the blade I picked up on my way in, and stabbed her without hesitation. Then she made the mistake of removing the blade, and she stabbed me with her own weapon. As we lay bleeding on the dungeon floor, we fell into the loop of our creator’s design.
I wake up again outside the cabin, where the narrator is once again telling me that I must kill the princess and save the world. Every question I ask about the apparent episode I’m in creates more confusion between me, the narrator, and the literal voices in my head. But still, I return to the cabin and find that it is not quite as I remember it. There’s a mirror on the wall that disappears when I try to look at it, the stairwell isn’t exactly how I remember it, and the princess has evolved into a monstrous version of herself. This episode repeats itself, with the princess appearing in different and terrifying forms each time, until the princess and I find ourselves in a strange pocket dimension between the episodes, able to talk without the narrator there to tell us what to do.
In this in-between space, Slay the princess It becomes existential. The Princess basically absorbs every difference of herself we encounter in these time loops to find a new understanding. Each possibility is a different version of what it could be based on the slightest modifications to how I accessed it in the dungeon. She acknowledges that every version of herself is her own HaBut by experiencing all of these truths, she is able to gain a greater understanding of who she is and who she can be. She grows beyond what the narrator tells her, but she admits that certain parts of her are ingrained, and others are determined by what happens to her in an episode.
She asked me to keep watching the episode to provide her new perspectives, so I do. I choose different dialogue options that determine which version of the princess I will find in the dungeon, and in the end, I bring her many variants that go beyond the understanding given by the narrator at the beginning of each turn. Even if I wasn’t enamored by the existentialism and gorgeous prose of Black Tabby Games’ writing, the revelation of what kind of terrifying monstrosity the princess would be in each episode was enough motivation to keep walking down the stairs into the dungeon again and again.
Sometimes the princess would appear as a very tall version of herself towering over me, while other times she would appear as a sinister horror wielding a blade. There was even a time when I took the form of animals, circling around me in the dark as if I were their prey. Sometimes I would kill her, and other times she would kill me. Eventually, however, as her understanding grows, the narrator’s control over the situation is shattered—literally, when the mirror that keeps appearing between the rings breaks, revealing parts of this person’s never-before-seen appearance in its cracked shards. Although the image is broken, I am able to see that the narrator resembles a bird, and appears to be responsible for creating the princess, who is supposed to embody destruction, death, and the rebirth that comes afterward.
The narrator fears death, and thus wants to create an entity that embodies her and can be destroyed, but this entity also takes the form of anything anyone sees. If death is a frightening and debilitating concept for you, then the princess becomes a monster. If you approach her without fear, she will appear as a friendly person. Hence the multiverse cycle we find ourselves in now. The simulation set up for us by the narrator means we can follow each permutation to its natural conclusion, but now that the princess realizes what it is, there’s a new mystery. If she were allowed to exist as the goddess of destruction she was designed to be, she could escape this construct and lay waste to the outside world.
With the mirror that depicted him broken, the narrator did not stay long in this world, and your interrogation of him in his last moments leads to… Slay the princess“An unforgettable scene. As you ask each question, the pieces of the mirror you are looking at disappear, taking the narrator with them. I quickly realize that I have more options for dialogue than pieces of the mirror, and that the stakes of each question I choose to ask are greatly increased. There is no time to be too curious, because I only have a limited amount of time with the game’s information warehouse. But when I talk to him, it becomes very clear that the narrator has a specific vision of who the princess is, and who I should be. He spent the entire conversation warning me of the dangers of an entity he created that took shape long ago Through other people’s perceptions of her. For him, her presence and the threat of death and destruction is what keeps people from feeling afraid. Is her life worth an unburdened existence for the rest of the world?
I can ask all the questions I want, but in the end, it will just be me and the princess here to decide what’s next. She has ascended to godhood, and I can either leave this simulation with her as a goddess and complete what the narrator feared, or you can rewind the entire scenario, talk to each other as a princess in a dungeon and her would-be killer and choose to leave her as people, not as gods.
There are a lot of subtleties in the space between them Slay the princessMultiple endings, but while much of the talk about Black Tabby Games’ visual novel revolves around the various monstrous forms the princess takes in each episode, all I can think about is this final cycle. Whichever sequence of events you choose to follow, this is where you and the princess finally see each other for who you truly are. This is as gods meant to embody ideas, but also as people, long beholden to the views of your creator, and the hypothetical threats they pose to people outside that construct.
Slay the princess It’s all about time loops, mind-bending twists, and terrifying character designs, but at its core, it’s about seeing you for who you really are, rather than what can be summed up in a straightforward description of who you are. It is seen as. The first time you played the ending, you chose to be the princess and left building as a goddess, believing that death is part of the human experience that makes life worth living. But after restarting it, I chose to find the princess in her chains again, free her from the cycle completely, and leave her as we were.
This world we live in is often impersonal, we feel rejected by everything we individually want and believe ourselves to be, and we are often in the grip of what others want or believe us to be. Our employers try to pin down how useful we are on spreadsheets and we seek validation from strangers to tell ourselves we’re worthy of love, all of which contributes to a distorted and perhaps false reflection of who we are, what we believe in, and our self-worth. . The way others view us determines our daily lives, but only if we let it.
In follow-up Slay the princess To this conclusion I was overcome by a heavy oppressive lethargy. It must be very comforting to play a game where you can pull yourself out of a cycle like this, but it makes me wish I felt like it was possible to be more clearly understood and free from the shackles of other people’s visions of who you actually are. world. Slay the princess It instills in me hope that such freedom exists and makes me despair at how tired I am in equal measure. But it at least makes me believe in the possibilities, even if it takes a few episodes to finish.