Penny-Punching Princess is one of the quirkiest games I've played in a long time. Players take control of the titular Princess, whose family lost their kingdom due to financial trickery instigated by the Dragonloans. They're tasked with beating up a ton of monsters, gathering money, and rebuilding their kingdom - all along the way bribing enemies (...and traps?) with the power of their trusty calculator.
Even from the limited time available to me, it was easy to see that Penny-Punching Princess wears its intentions on its sleeve. It's a fast-paced, humorous beat-em-up with an entrepreneurial twist. Players have to juggle between soliciting money from stunned or defeated foe and delegating enemies to either attack directly or attempt to bribe. Levels are filled with traps and baddies, and one of the secrets to gathering as much cash as possible comes from stunning enemies out in the field. Enemies have dividers in their health bar, and whenever one of these dividers is reached, said enemy will be stunned for a small amount of time - this is your cue to go ham on that right analog stick, spinning it like it's a roulette wheel. The more you spin, the more cold, hard cash will spill out from the enemy's orifices. It's very cathartic and definitely kept the action frantic and fun.
The rest of the combat is rather simple stuff. You have a button you can spam to execute a combo, the calculator which can be used to buy off baddies when it's fully charged -- provided you have the cash, and a special attack that is dependant on the weapon that you have equipped. Players are graded based off their performance at the end of each stage, encouraging multiple replays. None of the levels I challenged seemed to take much longer than a few minutes; it felt about as fast-paced as some of the levels you might see in, say, Half-Minute Hero.
Speaking of Half-Minute Hero, Penny-Punching Princess' story and humor definitely seem in line with Marvelous' PSP/PC release. Meaning that while there is a story, by no means are you meant to take it seriously. If nothing else, it works well to break up the action without bringing the excitement to a standstill.
There's more to the game, of course. Progression is handled by crafting equipment, which requires certain baddies to have been captured (which reminds me of a somewhat similar progression system in Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, by the way), and the Princess herself can level up using skill points which are also obtained in a way similar to crafting weapons.
Above all else, I'm interested to learn more - and I'm very much looking forward to playing the full game. Penny-Punching Princess launches on PlayStation Vita (digital-only) and Nintendo Switch on March 30th in Europe and April 3rd in North America.