Slay the Princess springs to life on Steam and GOG
Demo available on itch.io for subversive choice-driven dark fantasy visual novel
Traditionally princesses are innocent damsels in distress, in need of rescue by a hero braving dangers to free her from her captor. The title character in Black Tabby Games’ newly released Slay the Princess is definitely NOT that kind of princess.
The game begins, as many fairy tales do, in a forest. End of similarities. Your destination is a cabin beyond the woods at the top of a hill, in whose basement a princess is held prisoner. But you’re not here to save her, but – as the title suggests – to kill her. Not because you’re evil, but because the Narrator tells you that if you don’t, it’ll mean the end of the world. Of course, once you meet the sweetly innocent-looking young captive, you’ll have reason to question your orders. Perhaps you should “hear her out – after all, she’s the one locked up, and the Narrator is the one telling you to murder her.” But she’ll do “everything in her power to stop you. She’ll charm, and she’ll lie, and she’ll promise you the world.” If you’re foolish enough to let her, she’ll even “kill you a dozen times over.” But no matter what you do, your singleminded goal always remains the same: slay the princess.
Presented as a fully voiced, black-and-white visual novel illustrated by Ignatz-winning graphic novelist Abby Howard, Slay the Princess is a surreal horror story with a “looping, branching meta-narrative where every choice shifts the context of what was once a simple request.” Regardless of your approach, with each attempt you’ll find that circumstances have changed from before, perhaps even dramatically. You could encounter new personalities to interact with, or you could unwittingly stumble back to finish the job, only to find a monster who “bit her own arm off to break free of the chains.” You’ll never know what to expect, or whom to trust, including the Narrator, who clearly isn’t telling you everything he knows. In your quest to kill, prepare to die – a lot – but the looping narrative allows you, encourages you, even forces you to experiment and “experience déjà vu like never before in … warped, hilarious, and unpredictable ways.”
If you’re ready to square off against this formidable royal, only your conscience can stop you, as Slay the Princess is available now on GOG and Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux (with Steam Deck compatibility). To take a free first stab at the game, so to speak, a playable demo can downloaded from itch.io. And if you like what you see of this game, the developers have another narrative roleplaying experience available through early access called Scarlet Hollow, with four of seven episodes currently ready to play.