What's a girl to do? You've been taken to an alternate dimension by your possible identical twin, you have thirty days to learn how to do ballroom dances by taking lessons from an anthropomorphic rabbit, at least five or six Bishōnen princes are in love with you (maybe), and a pink-haired girl wants to ruin your life. Oh, and you have a flying hamster.
Princess Debut, known in Japan as Ohimesama Debut, is a Dating Sim developed by CAVE (yes, one of your typical Bullet Hell developers) for the Nintendo DS, and released in English by Natsume, the same guys who brought Harvest Moon to the shores of North America. Its target audience is pre-teen girls.
In summary, you discover that your character (whose default name is Sabrina) has an "other self" in a parallel world who just happens to be a princess... and also happens to stink at dancing. Unfortunately for her, there's a huge ball in about thirty days. You agree to switch places with her and learn how to dance so she won't be embarrassed at the ball.
Aside from being a Dating Sim, Princess Debut is also a rhythm game. You use the touch screen to drag a purple ball around to the beat of the music.
Princess Debut provides examples of the following tropes:
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: The prize for winning a dance competition is a new dress. It's also the prize for the winner of the horse race.
- Boss Rush: Ballroom Mode is this; you choose either the Classical or Latin course and you will have to play one song from each genre under your chosen category in a row. In each song, you have to reach a certain target score in order to clear the song and advance, with the target score relatively harder to reach with each song. Fail to clear one song and you have to start the whole thing over.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: If you tell the Princess "Did I say that?" when she asks if you want to go back to your own world, Kip answers with "only the person playing the game will ever know..."
- Brother–Sister Incest: Implied; Liam says that you look like his sister, and yet he's in love with you. Hmmmm.... Revisited later if you end up with him, when you and his sister are together he comments that you actually don't look anything like her after all.
- Cap: For both the player and the princes, the Technique stat and Artistry stat won’t display a number above 99. Strangely enough, even after hitting this point, the player can still level up and receive a message that their stats rose by some positive integer, even though the stat display will still show 99.
- Experience Meter: Comes in the form of 5 stars per level that get filled in based on your performance in dances, where a perfect performance fills in 3 stars.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: The upper screen sparkles when you complete a dance step correctly.
- Funny Animal: It’s normal in the Flower Kingdom for animals to talk and wear human clothing.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: If your partner is Vince during your dance for the king, you'll notice that you're somehow unable to score points during it. That's because Vince injured himself during the horse race, which is why he's been skipping practice.
- Genre Savvy: If it's your second playthrough or beyond, you have the option during the prologue of telling the Princess and Kip that you already know what's going on, and that you need a magical tiara to put on a dress.
- Guide Dang It!: Luciano leaves about halfway through the game, and getting him to come back so you can get his ending is so ridiculously frustrating and obtuse to figure out that it can induce headaches.
- Humanity Ensues: Tony turns into a human if you dance with him at the ball.
- Multiple Endings: 14 of them, depending on who you end up with for the ball and choosing whether or not to stay with them or go back home and end up with your world's version of the prince.
- New Game Plus: You can't court Kiefer until you've beaten the game once. Also, you can use all the accessories you've unlocked over the course of your playthroughs in Practice, Ballroom, and Movie modes.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Mozart's Minuet as a cha-cha-cha? Dancing the jive to Danny Boy? Somehow, it works.
- Princesses Prefer Pink: Your character (whose default name is Sabrina) has an "other self" in a parallel world who just happens to be a princess. The default dress for Sabrina is pink.
- Relationship Values: Highly visible and measured in percentages.
- Shown Their Work: The dances are all taken from the World Dance Council's International Standard and International Latin Competition Dances list, while the dances themselves motion-captured from real dancers.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Isabel tries to out the princess for getting a double—the player character—to take her place. Usually, you’d expect the antagonist in a shoujo title to be believed when making a dramatic accusation against the heroine. Instead, the king doesn’t take her word for it on the grounds that she has no evidence this accusation is true.
- Transformation Trinket: Each of the accessories you obtain transforms you into a different dancing dress.