Game Review

Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

A Virtual Console vegetable medley

After making several appearances on various Japanese personal computers and then being ported to the Famicom system, Hudson decided to bring the unique vegetable-themed text adventure Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom over to American NES gamers. The game was obviously quite a change of pace from the majority of titles released on the console, and while it wasn't very popular at the time it's gained quite a cult following over the years and has become a highly collectible NES cartridge. Now Hudson has decided to give the game a second, affordable chance on the Virtual Console.

For the most part, Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom plays like the old text adventures found on many personal computers in the early 80's. You've got a display box in the middle of the screen that shows you the areas that you're currently in. Since the NES didn't have a keyboard, the game uses a list of command buttons that run along the right and left sides of the display box. You have 14 commands to choose from that include: Move, Check, Talk, Take, Use, Give, along with many others. Every action you take in the game is controlled by these commands, even your actual movements.

The majority of your time will be spent exploring the many areas of the game and trying out various commands in an effort to progress in the game. Many times you're sent on fetch quests to locate certain items in order to move on to new areas, whereas other times you'll have to take on enemies in finger wars, which is basically a version of the classic "Scissors-Rock-Paper" game. There are also very tricky caves and mazes that must be explored and can be very challenging to maneuver through.

Since this is basically a text-style adventure, there's very little action going on inside the game and requires more problem-solving than anything else. The game has quite a number of different areas to explore, along with a cute and engaging storyline to keep you interested along the way. The simple gameplay scheme makes everything playable for all ages and there's plenty of challenge to be had in later areas of the game.

Since most of the scenery is seen through the small display window in the middle of the screen, don't expect a lot of visual flash or detail in this title. While the static images used throughout the game are very colorful and do show some detail, the rest of the screen is basically only black and white command buttons with a small text display at the bottom. There are a few occasional animations here and there to liven things up, but for the most part this is still a very standard text adventure that very seldom tries to venture beyond that.

While the sound effects are fairly standard, the game does feature some very good 8-bit audio for you to enjoy. Another plus is that there are also quite a few different tunes to hear throughout the adventure. The catchy tunes tend to be rather short in length, so if you find yourself stuck in the same area for too long you will eventually tire of the same tune being repeated over and over again. It's difficult to complain given how creative the music is, but it still would have been nice if the developers had made them a tiny bit longer.


Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom isn't the type of game that's going to appeal to just anyone. You have to take into account that the game offers very little in the way of action and generally requires more problem-solving skills than fast thumbs. The silly humor and challenging gameplay make for a fun adventure if you're willing to sit down with the game and stick with it, but those expecting more of an RPG experience will need to look elsewhere because that's not really what this unique NES title is really about.

From the web

User Comments (30)



TwilightV said:

That "Saladron" reminds me of the enemies from Orbulon's boss microgame in the original WarioWare.



bro2dragons said:

sounds like something i'd enjoy, and a good alternative to spending $100 on Monkey Island and Strong Bad.



Stuffgamer1 said:

'Tis a fine game, and a good review as well. Definitely not for everybody, but good fun for those who like this sort of thing. I'm glad I downloaded it.



Porky said:

Looks as if Princess Tomato was made for young children. How serious can you be while playing this with vegetable people lol.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Ezekiel: The game does have something of a light-hearted feel to it, yet it's a bit dark as well in its own weird way (vegetables left out in the field without water to wither, evil farmers, killer salad dressing...okay, so that last one is just plain silly). It's also probably a bit too hard for most kids, so I'd say it's really meant for people who aren't afraid of something a bit different.



BooJoh said:

This has been one of my NES favorites for ages. If you like games like Shadowgate and Deja Vu, and think you can handle playing a cutesy game without all the deaths (I'm struggling to remember if you can even get a game over,) then it's really a great game.



BlueBandanaJake said:

Always wanted to play one of these types of games but never had the opportunity... I think it just presented itself. I'll most likely give this a shot, seems like my cup of tea.



brooks83 said:

@Ezekiel - While this game is certainly light-hearted, it still can be challenging and I guarantee there will be parts where you will be stumped about what to do next. The whole premise of the game is silly, but that's what gives it it's charm. When you meet characters named "Wat Mel" and "Hon Dew" you just can't help but smile.



Sneaker13 said:

I'll get this for sure. I'm a big adventure fan so I really hope this will reach Europe soon.



evilralfwiggum said:

The release of games like this is why the Virtual Console is so great. A lot of people missed out on a lot of these games first time round, now they have them readily available to play. Good times, good times.



TheLonelyGamer said:

Great review Corbie.
But yeah, this game isn't for anyone, but I enjoy these type of games, and I really enjoyed this game.



Aenaida said:

I'm actually kind of interested in this game. I'll probably pick it up in the future someday.



Stuffgamer1 said:

Yes, Ezekiel...this is clearly not your kind of game. But even the video reviewer you linked says it's good for SOME people. I just finished this game tonight, as a matter of fact, and I definitely think it was worth my $5. Though I do agree the battle system is retarded. Fortunately, there's aren't really all THAT many fights (though most of them are clumped together at the end, which gets old fast).



wiiplayer26 said:

MY EYES.... How could you think of skipping this great game. Well to a person his/her own opinion.

I recommend this to everyone (except if they don't like text adventures)
An Absolute Masterpiece
Worth every point



EdEN said:

Always wanted to play this game back in the day but never could find it. Downloaded it and now it's waiting for it's turn in my SD Card menu.



fairybats said:

I remember playing these type of text/point and click adventure games in the early 90's before having gamefaqs to give you a hint now and then. What a headache! But well worth it in the end too. Princess Tomato definitely gets props for being unique with the characters and stuff.



FyreeTSG said:

WHY is this game on VC??
I don't care HOW "good" it was--it should NEVER have been ported to the VC, over so many OTHER great games that we'll never see...

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