You’re on a path in the woods. And at the end of that path, is a cabin. And in the basement of that cabin… is a princess. So begins Slay the Princess, a game a had heard much about before trying at PAX East this weekend. Developed and published by Black Tabby Games, the psychological horror visual novel tasks players with a simple request: Slay the princess.
Sounds easy, no? Well for starters, why would we want to slay this princess. A narrator tells us that she is evil and will destroy the world. However, the voice of the hero, presumably your inner monologue, argues with the narrator over how she intends to do this. And why. And whether we should believe the narrator. So, like a tiny loose thread on an old tapestry, the whole simple quest begins to unravel.
Checking out the demo at PAX East, I got to see the first two chapters of the game. Though I could see how the moral quandaries would present themselves, I figured that the game would end once I made a decision. It would have to, right? But actually, Slay the Princess has a few more tricks up its fancy sleeve. Once the player makes a decision and attempts to carry it out, the world resets. Or, that at least happens when a decision ends in death. But once the world resets, new dilemmas present themselves.
I don’t want to say too much more, since I personally enjoyed going into the experience knowing little. But the folks at Black Tabby Games did tell me that the game has ten different iterations of princess encounters that one may have based on their choices early on. In fact, they also said that one could even receive an ending as early as the second chapter.
Typically while playing visual novels, I read the dialogue quickly and move ahead once I do. However, the voice acting from Jonathan Sims and Nichole Goodnight does such a good job at conveying tone that I enjoyed waiting to hear their full lines. I thought the princess sounded familiar, and didn’t even realize that it was Goodnight, known for her work on the NoSleep Podcast. So Slay the Princess puts players in good horror-driven hands.
Though PAX East is currently coming to a close, players can check out the very same demo I played and wishlist the game on Steam. The developers hope to release Slay the Princess on PC sometime around fall of this year. And while the choice-based game poses many dilemmas, it makes it easy to want to check out once more.