Surviving Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure

When browsing through Steam to spot any survival games I might have missed, I discovered there was one that we had woefully overlooked. Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure.

Now, it’s fair to say I could have been a little more sceptical about the tagging, what with its also being listed as both “Family Friendly” and “Nudity”, but that wasn’t going to deter me. I could also perhaps have perceived it as a sign when, midway through installing, the particular hard drive switched itself off.

It turns out that while some of the tags may have been the result of cheeky monkeys, “Survival” is horribly apposite. But rather than the far more insignificant preserving of an in-game character, Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure is about your own desperate survival.

The first threat is the scant options menu. There’s nothing to be done about the ultra-low resolution, but you are mercifully allowed to switch the music on or off. When it comes to the ‘controls’ section, it doesn’t so much mean “options”, as it means, “they’re these, and they’re insane.” There is no way to switch to a controller, for which the game was blatantly obviously designed, and despite requiring mouse use throughout, the way to back out of this screen is by pressing Shift. Of course.

As the game begins, you’re required to decide on a haircut, eyes, clothes and accessories for your princess. I did my best to make mine as gothy as possible. It didn’t work too effectively. Thrown into the garden of the castle, your princess accidentally turns the enslaved sprites who forcibly tend her gardens into mischievous imps – what a to-do! To do something about this, you’re going to need to chase around after them, and to do that, you’re going to have to use the arrow keys.

SURVIVAL TIP #1 Right handers, clear a large section of desk to the left of your keyboard, so as to be able to have your left hand on the arrow keys. Left handers, feel smug.

Okay, fine, arrow keys to move. Do that (move a bit) and you’ll receive the cry of, “YOU DID IT!” and a sparkly spin. But don’t let it go to your head, as immediately comes, “To jump, press the Spacebar.” Wait, what? Left hand on arrow keys, right hand on mouse, and now my, what, elbow on the spacebar? But yes, that’s how it’s to be.

SURVIVAL TIP #2 Grow a third arm.

Once the imps in the garden are taken care of, things take a turn for the worse. The castle in which you live has a Portal Room, containing gateways to the worlds of faintly recognisable Disney princesses, like Ariel (who wasn’t a princess) and Rapunzel (who wasn’t a princess). The imps have only gone and stolen the crystals they have above their doors that don’t appear to affect if they work or not, so through each you must go, encountering strange, jaggedly polygonal forms of Disney characters, and gathering gems that allow you to open chests that allow you to pursue those all-important goals: getting new clothes, and new things for your bedroom.

SURVIVAL TIP #3 Accessorise.

Throughout the game your guide is a remarkably passive-aggressive narrator, who in her pursed-lipped snippy voice says things like, “You MIGHT want to go see Ariel in the sunken ship,” over and over until you do as you’re told. The rest of the characters are voiced by nothing-at-all-alikes of the actors who portrayed them in their respective films, squawking inane babble at you in unskippable sequences. “Oh no! I’ve lost my magic sparkle hipflasks! Can you collect them for me?!” they might bluster, before you’re required to not do anything of the sort, but instead move awkwardly around the 3D environments with the arrow keys, trying to aim your magic wand at imps and pressing ‘M’. “You found them!” cries the rambling imbecile, as you stare at your hands, wondering what you could be doing with your life.

SURVIVAL TIP #4 Stab a screwdriver into each ear.

It’s true that this isn’t a survival game in the sense that your character will die if you don’t persistently keep her alive, but rather in that you’ll definitely not want to live if you keep playing. You can see why the Steam community have labelled it this way. However, as with all good survival games, you can customise your living space with chaise longue, vases and rockeries, as well as grow things in your garden. Not to eat, admittedly. But if the flowers get sad, then your garden isn’t a happy place.

SURVIVAL TIP #5 If you’re a princess, hire a gardener.

That this game was originally released in 2012 (although has only just appeared on Steam) is something I had to check on a few times. It genuinely looks like it’s from the early 2000s, the incredibly low-res textures sitting awkwardly on what could play comfortably on a PS2. The controls are a special disaster, as if created by a furious programmer, sick with the world, sick with humanity, determined to bring in misery via the only pathetic path available to him/her. And while children are unquestionably idiots, even their simple brains will find this repetitive misery more than they’ll be willing to cope with. It’s a spectacularly horrible game, and one I absolutely could not survive more than a couple of hours. There’s more princess fun to be had in DayZ.

SURVIVAL TIP #6 Don’t play Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure.

You can read more Survival Week articles over here.

61 Comments

  1. golem09 says:

    Started playing Rage this week. That one had even worse textures. But I guess the controls are slightly better.
    At the beginning I did feel like a disney queen being toured around though. Enemies pretty much killed themselves for being in my crosshair.

  2. int says:

    Poor Ariel seems to have gone the way of Chrissie from Jaws. It’s a fish eat fish world.

  3. Chris D says:

    If this doesn’t deserve a staring eyes tag then nothing does.

    • Vandelay says:

      I was under the impression that writers weren’t meant to include pictures of themselves. At least John didn’t have any soup in his room!

  4. MuscleHorse says:

    Hey John, my Dad has those glasses.

  5. Kreeth says:

    Is this not originally a Wii game? It looks like a straight port. My daughter quite enjoyed bimbling about in Disney princess land when we had this, and the praising/patronising narrator is about right for a 4 year old. The controls work quite nicely with the wiimote and nunchuk too. Looks like someone decided to make a PC port with the absolute minimum of effort.

    It’s not the world’s greatest game, but as something very forgiving that got her used to moving around using the controllers, timing jumps and aiming during the shoot-the-sprite bits, it was a handy stepping stone on to stuff like Mario Galaxy.

    I guess I would say, don’t play this, unless you are about 4 and like Disney princesses. And don’t play it on PC, by the sounds of it.

    • Guvornator says:

      John will stop being mean about children’s computer games at the exact moment he realises that, with sprog staring droop mouthed at the screen, he can finally get half an hours sleep…

      • Premium User Badge

        John Walker says:

        I have recommended lots of great kids’ games. This is not one of them. This is *horrible*.

        • MajorManiac says:

          Could RPS do a guide for kid’s games at some point?

          That would be brilliant.

          • instantcoffe says:

            By age bracket, that would be even more awesome!
            OT: I’m so sick of playing Toki Tori with my 4yo. I decided to show her Mordor and how we “tame” and ride the beasts. She absolutely loved it! She ran though Mordor, sometimes kicking some orcs while passing by on her mount, sometimes dismounting to pick up blue or yellow flowers. Good times.

          • Monggerel says:

            I used to play the first GTA with my dad when I was about 5. We switched when we died.

          • mr.black says:

            @Mongg: I understood “We switched (a game) when he died”
            It’s getting late…

          • icarussc says:

            I would *love* this! My kids really like Mordor, which they’re convinced is a game about picking flowers while running away from monsters.

          • foop says:

            That would, indeed, be truly awesome. We exhausted the Lego series long ago, and my son is beginning to tire of Minecraft (I know, I never thought it possible for a child to tire of mine craft, but there you go). I want to try and be responsible and not expose him to stuff that is PEGI rated eleven years above his age. But it’s *so* hard finding decent kid’s games amidst everything else out there, especially ones we can play together.

            Fortunately PvZ: Garden Warfare is PEGI7 and is something we can have fun playing together.

      • LordOfPain says:

        Um, it seems sprog meant something else when I was at school….

  6. Doctor Professor says:

    This is so not the point, but Ariel (daughter of King Triton) and Rapunzel (kidnapped daughter of the local king and queen) are totally both princesses in their Disney movies. Or did you mean they weren’t princesses in the original stories that the movies were inspired by?

    • Kreeth says:

      Especially given that the other three Disney princesses in the game are Belle (not a princess until she marries Prince Bloke-What-Was-Beast at the end of the film), Cinderella (not a princess until she marries Prince Charming at the end of the film) and Jasmine (not a princess until she marries the frog at the end of the film).

      Edit: NOT Jasmine. Tiana

      The two he says aren’t princesses are the only two characters in the game actually born royal.

      • jonfitt says:

        Yes that was an odd thing for John to say. Disney’s Ariel and Rapunzel are both princesses to start with (and both marry down. Rapunzel marries an orphan thief, and Ariel being a princess of a kingdom spanning 70% of the earth’s surface marries some Prince of what? Denmark? Psht!)

    • sonofsanta says:

      Oh thank god I’m not the only person sad enough to feel the need to comment and correct on this CLEARLY incorrect statement.

      Having children really does change you.

      • LordOfPain says:

        I don’t have children and I was going to point out that was very wrong… :/

    • bill says:

      Thank you!

      Having daughters means you very quickly develop an encyclopedic knowledge of disney princesses, so that was annoying me too.

  7. Anthile says:

    At least you don’t have to press semicolon to reload, so that’s a plus.

  8. mister_pete says:

    Well-intentioned relatives bought the Wii version for my daughter when she was very small. Fortunately she seems to have come through with no lasting side effects.

    Thinking of starting a charity walk for kids exposed to bad tie-in games.

  9. cqdemal says:

    Any tips on how to grow that critical third arm?

  10. Wowbagger says:

    Kingdom Hearts 3 is doing well then?

    • pepperfez says:

      You know, this is the most depressing thing: KHs are fully batshit and often not great games, but they are some kind of games, and they’re weird in occasionally interesting ways. I’d probably play a similarly loopy game focused on the princess franchise if it were treated as a game. Instead we get this, “Girls don’t care about games anyway, give ’em whatever shit.”

      • Wowbagger says:

        I very much enjoyed the first two iterations of Kingdom Hearts, I was being needlessly flippant here. I thought the world building and quality of animation in KH was spot on.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          KH helped me fall back in love with Disney. I really wasn’t expecting it to be even half as good as it turned out to be.

        • pepperfez says:

          Oh, that was what I took from your comment. It just brought home to me how legitimately great a princess-themed KH could be if it was taken seriously as a game.

  11. Gothnak says:

    On the monitor in the background of the main picture, has the game ripped off the Sanctuary from fable 3?

    It does look rather similar…

    link to moug-portfolio.info

  12. hatgnat says:

    Great article. If generating cheap laughs from savage takedowns of easy targets is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

    When talking about the media children consume, the prevailing attitude seems to be “It’s okay if it’s terribly made, it’s just a kid’s (game/show/book)!” Which is not the attitude we take towards, say, car seats.

    • apa says:

      Well, your kids won’t die when playing terribly made kids’ games in a car crash. Um…wait…

  13. tonka_92 says:

    John, I own those exact speakers, I’m using them right now in fact
    well, I’m using them with the mesh covering and metal stand bits, but the speakers are the same!

  14. Everblue says:

    In the Disney film, Rapunzel was a princess. Just sayin’.

  15. Steven Hutton says:

    John has really big hands.

  16. lowprices says:

    I’m glad this turned up. I was worried I was losing it when I saw Belle in the Survival Week banner earlier.

  17. Heliocentric says:

    Joy2key surely?

  18. LionsPhil says:

    It’s no good slumping dead with your left hand on WASD, John.

    We don’t recognize those controls here, in the land of madness.

  19. Iain says:

    What is that hideous keyboard? Looks like something out of the mid-90s.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      It’s one of the old Microsoft multimedia keyboards. I had the same at one point, except black and wireless.

      Keyboards can last a pretty long time (though in my case, the little legs that hold it at a slant tend not to)

    • Premium User Badge

      John Walker says:

      It is indeed an olde worlde Microsoft keyboard! They don’t make them any more, but I managed to find somewhere selling them, and bought six. I get through about one a year, and cannot face the idea of typing on anything else.

  20. jnqvist says:

    I had a genuinely good time reading this. I love articles like these,that bash stuff but not in a hating,but a humorous fashion. And the last picture is just gold.

  21. mr.black says:

    Yeah, thanks, I’m gonna go and be smug – we lefties (although I actually use the standard hand position (right on mouse, only I use left for arrow keys, not wasd) are used to these situations. Nothing a quick Autohotkey editing wouldn’t solve…

  22. whytecraft says:

    Ariel and Rapunzel are both daughters of kings and actually both princesses. An otherwise entertaining insight.

  23. bill says:

    Is it John or Alec who had a sprog recently? Is it a girl?

    If so, give it 3 years and he’ll develop a much greater knowledge and appreciation for princesses and such games.
    Haven’t played this particular one, although I can see it being pretty good for my daughter at age 4. 2 years ago I’d have dismissed it out of hand, but now I’m considering it.

  24. caff says:

    In that last picture, you’re clearly trying to mash the keys with your face.

    PRINCESSFACE.

  25. Bassem says:

    It’s been a while since we had a good old Walker-style evisceration of a bad game. It never disappoints.
    That final photo is the cherry on the cake. That tiny screwdriver.

    PS. I use Autohotkey to remap controls in stubborn games. I’m certain this would have completely changed your experience of the game and made it an entirely WONDERFUL experience.