CFK's Princess Maker Go!Go! Princess takes the premise of the Princess Maker series – to guide a young fairy-turned-human through her formative years by planning all of her social interactions, classes, work and leisure time in order to make her into the best princess she can be – and turns it into a board game. Instead of making choices and strategically filling in a diary in order to affect your princesses' various stats, here you simply slap a button to roll a dice and let fate decide the future. It's a novel enough idea that does manage to capture the essence of this niche series in board game form, but it also removes almost any reason to play as it relies entirely on luck, excising whatever small amount of strategy and challenge the original games contained to begin with.
Starting out in Princess Maker Go!Go! Princess, you – and up to three friends in local co-op (you can also play alone with up to three bots) – get to choose a princess character from the franchise and are then placed randomly on a board representing your kingdom. The object of the game is simply to impress the prince and become the best princess in town by completing challenges and improving your stats by landing on squares around the board which represent work, schooling, leisure pursuits and all the other activities which the main games in the series would usually have you enter into a diary. Challenges – or missions – are issued from the palace and consist of moving your chosen princess by rolling a dice until you land on the exact spot at which the current challenge is taking place. And that's all there is to it. You must land exactly on the spot, which involves a lot of going around in circles, and the first princess to manage it wins the day and takes a step closer to glory.
It's an extremely flimsy set-up for a board game, especially one in which rounds can last for an absurdly long time, and it never tries to hide the fact that everything taking place is being completely determined by a dice roll. It doesn't take any risks or do anything very interesting or new with the Princess Maker concept and actually only really succeeds in taking all of the challenge out of the central conceit of the series. There are a few reasonable ideas – if you land on the same square as another princess you can initiate a battle, the outcome of which is, disappointingly, also determined by a dice roll – and there are some items and boons to use along the way; however, these can't be bought in the game's store, and are instead issued by chance or as a reward for completing a mission.
Furthermore, any narrative interest that's contained within the other Princess Maker games is done away with entirely here. This does help with respect to the shoddy translation job done by CFK over the course of the series' western releases so far as there's not quite so much broken English to battle your way through, but it also further reduces the level of meaningful interactions you have as you play. CFK has also continued its trend of providing absolutely no instruction or tutorials regarding any aspect of the game, so you'll need to explore and get to grips on your own in order to figure out what's what. There's also the issue of having to enter the game's menu and choose "map" every single time you want to freely scroll around to add up how many squares you have left to your destination or just get your bearings in general; it's annoying and the ability to scroll around the board at any time should have been a basic provision.
In terms of presentation and performance on Switch, this is a much more modern and clean-looking game than most of the other entries in the series; it's bright and colourful and the board itself changes to reflect the various seasons passing. Also, as is expected for such a simple game, it performs without a hitch in both docked and handheld and is a breeze to set up and play with friends by simply sharing a single Joy-Con between four. Indeed, if you can manage to get three interested pals together for some princess-on-princess action that's certainly the way to go, as playing against bots is a lonely and boring affair, one where we definitely got the feeling on more than one occasion that our AI opponents were having a suspicious amount of good luck in how the dice was falling for them.
Princess Maker Go!Go! Princess has a reasonable enough idea at its core, taking the central gameplay elements of the Princess Maker series and adapting them to a four-player board game. However, in reality, this shift only results in removing all of the narrative interest, skill and strategy from the main games and leaves you with a very simple experience which quickly becomes tedious and repetitive. Rounds are much too long, everything is 100% dependant on dice rolls and really, once you've spent about thirty minutes with this one, you'll have seen everything it's got to offer and more.