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Maybe it wasn’t a very good idea to play a game about death right after playing a game about death. However, death is constantly looming, either slowly in the background or right before our eyes. It can be but a little diluted concept in the back of our minds, or it can be announced on a visit to the doctor. It can be a gamble because of our lifestyle, or it can be a gamble because of a diagnosis. It can come due to old age or earlier due to unforeseen circumstances. When people say that we should cherish the moments we have with each other it can come as a big cliche, and indeed it is. You can find the most beautiful words to describe the inevitable but, in the end, it’s very much our nature and the nature of all things living.

Try to imagine a world without death. I’ve tried it many times. It’s the realm of the impossible but we can make the exercise. How many would we be? Would we be constant for all eternity, or would more people be born? How could someone come into existence in a world where there’s eternal permanence? Would there be conflict and consequence like punishment for all eternity, without means to alleviate pain and suffering? Would there be eternal happiness in the arms of a loved one guaranteed to live forever? Would we jump into another relationship after those failed 500 years of marriage? Would there be years and the concept of time even? Would we become of another nature to adapt to a nature without renewal? Why would someone want this? There’s someone who wants this.

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It’s very easy to spoil a game like Slay the Princess (StP) or any visual novel for that matter. Even games from other genres are a little difficult to write about if we don’t decide to include spoilers. Hold your thoughts about death because they will be a constant while you navigate StP. Not everything is about death, there’s more to the game and its nature, there’s loops and loops, of constant coming and going, and in the process, we witness love, violence, despair and our own reflected image in the mirror. All of it happens inside a cabin, or in another cabin in another time. The memories remain, but the path is another, although the same. StP felt more like a roguelike visual novel than a visual novel with many routes. It is in fact a visual novel with many routes and sub-routes and sub-sub-routes, but I liked to entertain the idea of a roguelike game where I was constantly dying and could come back to where I started now armed with valuable knowledge only to be surprised that nothing was how it was before.

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You have to slay the princess; you just have to. And if you don’t, the world is going to end. What will you do? Look, I did everything or so I thought. I played the game for about 6 hours, and I got about three endings. If you decide to play the game the achievement bar is a good indicator of your progress. I’m at 37% therefore I haven’t seen half of the outcomes in the game. The princess is inside a cabin chained inside a basement. Your task is very straightforward, but which cabin you end up in or which princess will you find depends on your choices. It doesn’t matter if you live or die for the princess will always be communicating something. However, how do we know we have to kill the princess? We have a voice – the Narrator – that tells us to do so. But, since we go back and forth (or only forth) in this loop, how many are they?

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The game is not only a quest about slaying the princess and preventing the end of the world. It’s also about the player and their journey to find their own identity. After all, we have to find a clue about why we have to kill a princess in the first place, and where to find some answers as to how to proceed towards the conclusion of our quest. It seems more complicated than it is. Even though it doesn’t look like it at first, the game has a start and an ending, and each route doesn’t take long to complete. The help of a guide for the completionists should come in handy.

Slay the Princess was created by Black Tabby Games and released in 2023 for PC. It has great art and extremely good voice acting. It was one of the indie games I looked forward to playing upon release, in 2023, but I only managed to play it now.

https://swordofseiros.wordpress.com/2024/02/27/slay-the-princess-pc/

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