Centuries have passed, and mankind has begun to flourish.
A shadow now looms over the land. The monsters have risen up against man. It is a time of great fear and suffering.
And so begins our tale...
— The game's opening narration
Code of Princess is a Beat 'em Up game with customizable RPG Elements for the Nintendo 3DS and Steam by Agatsuma Entertainment and distributed by Atlus' parent company Index Corporation, heavily inspired by Guardian Heroes. Character and World Design were handled by Kinu Nishimura, famous for her work on the Street Fighter series and 999 (as well as its follow-up, Virtue's Last Reward).
When the kingdom of DeLuxia falls to a monster attack, Princess Solange Blanchefleur de Lux decides to take up her family's sword, the legendary DeLuxcalibur, and find the root of the monsters' sudden violent behavior. Meanwhile, the mysterious and wicked queen of Distron, Queen Distiny, and her Distron Army swoop in to take care of the monsters, pinning the blame on DeLuxia's royal family. Now a fugitive on the run, Solange will need all the help she can get to evade the Distron Army while also fighting her way past scores of vicious monsters. On her way out of the royal city, she runs into several people who join her side as allies, including:
- Ali-Baba, a lone thief who was betrayed by her second-in-command and kicked out of the group she once led.
- Lady Zozo, a necromancer currently walking around in a body made of spare parts. Totally Not A Zombie (and don't call her one, either).
- Allegro Nantabile Cantabile, a cowardly but loyal Bard who claims to be just a few EXP from becoming a sage.
During their travels, they also run into others who have been affected by recent events. They include the powerful, but gentle martial artist Master T Drakkhen, the Blind Samurai Shooting Star Tsukikage, and the strict Battle Nun Sister Helga Wilhelmina (often known as "Sister Hel" due to her strict ways). As these people all come together, they soon realize that Queen Distiny is not who she seems... Hot on their tail is also Marcopolis "Marco" Neko, a dangerous feline merchant to whom Allegro is indebted, though Marco is more than happy to sell equipment to the party despite the debt.
What makes the game's story stand out is the very funny script, gentle jabs at RPG and fantasy conventions, and the quirky, occasionally hammy cast of characters.
Atlus released the game in the USA in October 2012. It was later re-released on the PC through Steam in April 2016. An enhanced HD version, dubbed Code of Princess EX, was released for the Nintendo Switch on July 31, 2018 and for Steam on October 1st, 2020.
This game features trope examples of:
- Absurdly High Level Cap: The level cap is 99. However, by paying lots of gold (more with each "revert"), players can "revert" a level 99 character back to a level 1. This gives the "reverted" character extra stat points. The process can be repeated.
- Affectionate Parody: Of The Hero's Journey, with some fourth-wall breaking thrown in.
- After the End: Near the end of the game its revealed that the setting is actually far into the future, after humanity's growth went unchecked and they nearly destroyed themselves. The gods created the Empyrean Stone, the source of the world's magic and monsters, to keep humanity in a constant state of Medieval Stasis.
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: The North American boxart still uses Japanese art, but still qualifies.
- And the Adventure Continues: The "Reborn" ending in which Solange decides to leave the stone alone, confident that things are as they should be and that their descendants will take care of Distille when she emerges from the stone in 1000 years. Zozo's body is still missing, so they all run off to go find it.
- Arson, Murder and JaywalkingDistille: I am Dios Diablos Distille! Angel of Death, Destruction, and Awkward Social Situations.
- Author Appeal: It seems Kinu Nishimura was given free rein on this game, credited with Original Story and Character Design. Her well known appreciation of the female form is in spades here.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Solange Blanchefleur de Lux.
- BFS: DeLuxcalibur.
- Berserk Button: Do not call Zozo a zombie.
- Bittersweet Ending: Both endings to varying degrees, see the spoiler tags in Multiple Endings for details.
- Boss in Mook's Clothing: The dragons. Their stats are well-beyond above even the Final Boss's stats. They hit hard. Their roars can also reach out to the next plane. Their defenses are stupidly high even if you go out of your way of making a Glass Cannon. Oh, and this game sees it fit to toss two or more dragons at once. Have fun not screaming louder than 2 roar attacks.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: At one point, Allegro will mention character levels.
- Calling Your Attacks: Emble and Semble, to the point that getting Blown Across the Room is called "HANGTIME!!!" or "AIRBORNE!" Solange occasionally shouts "Finishing BLOW!" Zozo is also pretty talkative when fighting.
- Childhood Friend: Ali Baba once went by the name of Alcena and had met Solange several years earlier; she was nearly executed for stealing a royal heirloom, but the sweet and innocent princess vouched for her by calling Alcena her friend and said heirloom a gift. Although Solange didn't recognize her right away, Ali did, which is why she helped her so easily in the beginning despite her cynical nature.
- Contemptible Cover: The North American box art◊ only displays Solange and happens to use an earlier portrait with big lips; contrast that with the better-received Japanese box◊ featuring the full cast.
- Counter-Attack: In this case, it is called the Back Counter. This counter works if an enemy attacks from behind just before receiving the blow and then press the B button (weak attack). It can also work against a chain of attacks too, even if you did get hit.note
- Deuteragonist: Ali is Solange's longest-lasting companion, and both of them are Heterosexual Life-Partners and Childhood Friends.
- Die, Chair, Die!: Various objects such as barrels appear on the battlefield.
- Disc-One Nuke: Level up Solange, and focus on maxing her attack power & making her into a Glass Cannon. Do that, burst mode, and target lock, and bosses go down like butter being cut by a chainsaw.
- Dramatic Unmask: Liongate takes a direct hit to the face from Solange's BFS, shattering his mask in the process. He's really Schwartz, Solange's brother.
- Expy: Ali is pretty much a flatter-chested Moriah.
- Feelies: First-run copies of the game come with the Sound and Visual Book, a CD with 8 music tracks housed in a small booklet containing character profiles and art.
- Flat Joy: Zozo's battle banter comes across as this.
- Gainaxing: Solange's idle animation, as pointed out by the ESRB.
- Heavy Mithril: Allego, the elvish bard who fights with The Power of Rock with a wooden guitar.
- HeelFace Turn: Juppongi and Liongate (the latter was being mind-controlled, while the former was not and simply was not fully informed of the true intentions of Queen Distiny), as well as Alchemia in the Destroy the Stone ending.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: You would think the face of Princess Solange would be more recognizable to her subjects. Worse, she and her father are being framed for treason.
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: Distille steals Cocoa Macchiato's body to pose as Distiny, Cocoa steals her sister Milk's body to pose as Alchemia, Milk possesses a body of corpse parts. Which loses bits and pieces. Including some of her code which belongs to Distille...
- Last-Second Ending Choice: At the end, the player is given the choice of whether to destroy the Empyrean Stone or not, which determines the ending you get.
- The Man Behind the Man: Dios Diablos Distille, the Fallen Angel.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Like Guardian Heroes, you can use pretty much every character and enemy in Versus Mode. And yes, that includes the villagers again.
- The Magic Goes Away: The "Destroy" ending, where Solange decides to Screw Destiny and destroys the stone with the faith that humans will be okay without it. This results in all magic going away forever and Zozo regaining her original body by necessity.
- Maybe Ever After: There are hints that Ali wouldn't mind dating Juppongi again... if he survives his encounter with the dragons.
- Mistaken for Prostitute: Solange, of course. They don't say it, but it's a very clear Parental Bonus.
- Money for Nothing: Averted. Money is always useful in-game, first to buy out Neko's store. Then, once you have level 99 characters, you'll need money to pay Neko to "revert" them back to level 1s (which gives them more stat points).
- Multiple Endings: Two of them, hinging on a choice in the final chapter of the game when Distille fuses her lifeforce with the Empyrean Stone, source of all magic and monsters in the world:
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Zozo, Tsukikage, and Master T all contain parts of Distille's split up "Code," and the DeLuxcaliber is the only thing that can recombine them. Oops.
- Please Put Some Clothes On: Liongate, AKA Solange's brother Schwartz begs Solange to do this before she and the others go on an adventure to find Zozo's body in the second ending.
- Regenerating Health:
- Justified, as Zozo's an immortal necromancer.
- MP also regenerates for other characters, too.
- The Reveal: Zozo's real name is Milk Macchiato. Alchemia is Milk's older sister Cocoa, using the former's original body because hers was stolen by Distiny.
- RPG Elements: Used in-game and parodied with Allegro's dialogue relating to his plans to become a sage.
- Spanner in the Works: The Big Bad's entire plan was to revive herself after sealing her "code" (life force, kinda) into a group of humans and then have them challenge her using the one weapon that can put it all together, thus making her NighInvulnerable Her one mistake....one of those humans was a necromancer that frequently discards pieces of her body and Code. IE, she didn't have all of it.
- Spiritual Successor: To Guardian Heroes. Some of Treasure's former employees are the ones who worked on the game. There's even a Shout-Out in the packaging: In the back of the box blurb "Be the guardian of 50+ heroes", the words "guardian" and "heroes" are written in a different font and arranged in such a manner as to form the title of the earlier game.
- Solange, good lord. Lampshaded when two soldiers mistake her for a prostitute. Despite her claims that it's a designer gown, even her brother stated that she needed to put some clothes on.
- Zozo to a lesser degree. She doesn't show nearly as much skin as Solange, but she is bottomless, save for a pair of panties. Also, a close look at official art reveals that, were it not for her overly-large scarf, we'd be seeing some underboob as well, and some of her midriff is in plain sight.
- Sword Drag: Solange does this as she's a princess instead of a professional warrior, and the DeLuxcalibur is bigger than she is.
- Theme Naming: Weapons have a tendency to be named after celestial bodies (Jupiter, Moon, Venus, etc.) or angels (Seraph, Cherub, etc.).
- Title Drop: By the king in Solange's intro.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Ali-Baba and Solange.
- Totally Not a Werewolf: Played for Laughs. Whenever people firsts meet Lady Zozo, they will immediately assume or call her a zombie due to her appearance. But can you blame them?◊ She constantly has to correct them.
- The Voiceless: Played with. It's mentioned early on that Zozo herself can't actually talk due to her tongue having fallen off, so she uses the skull on her staff to talk. She actually has plenty of spare tongues, she just doesn't see the point in reattaching one since she's not a people person.