We've all heard the story before: evil wizard captures beautiful princess, so the stalwart knight comes to rescue and marry her. Unfortunately, things got mixed up in this tale a bit, and someone accidentally sent Two Princes! In this puzzle platform adventure by Arctic Arcade, control both heroes, Sir Valiant and... err... Steve, on their heroic quest to save the princess before they wind up killing each other.
While there may be two of them, there's sadly only one of you. You'll have to use the the [Z] key to alternate control between the princes, the [arrow] keys to move the currently selected prince, and the [spacebar] to attack enemies and interact with objects. Both of the characters need to work together to make it to the green flag in order to progress to the next level. Fortunately, each prince has a certain advantage at their disposal. Sir Valiant can swim underwater, while Steve can travel inside caves and has a cooler looking helmet.
Sometimes the best route isn't the most direct, and being a little curious can lead you to one of the many secrets sprinkled throughout the game. Not only are there gold coins to collect in order to buy new weapons, there are also feathers hidden all over that transport you to a bonus level with even more goodies inside. If you manage to capture the red gem at the end of every bonus level, you might find a surprising advantage later on.
Now it wouldn't be any fun if there wasn't some risk involved, so sometimes even the wildest flail of a sword won't save you when one of your princes kicks the bucket. Instead of a trek back to life through the realm of Hades, you take a cue from Eros and shoot through floating hearts with a bow to regain your health. Admittedly, this mini-game can get tiresome quickly if you're stuck on a particular deathtrap or a difficult boss, but it does beat having to go all the way back to the start.
The 8-bit graphics, spot on music by Rayne Leafe, and the homage paid to classic console games are sure to please retro fans, while the snarky humor and challenging gameplay can make it a fun experience for any gamer. Unfortunately, nothing is without flaw and Two Princes is no exception. The lack of a save or level select feature is a frustrating omission, especially since it takes some time in one sitting to make it through all the way to the very end, and there are some levels where it's possible to get permanently stuck. Even returning to the main menu requires you to restart the game from the very beginning, which isn't the kind of replayability most people have in mind. If you can put aside that one shortcoming however, what you're left with is a charming modern interpretation of beloved classic games. Two Princes is a real gem, and you don't need to collect a secret feather to find this one.