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The Cruel King and the Great Hero Review

Game: The Cruel King and the Great Hero
Genre: RPG
System: Nintendo Switch (also available on PS4)
Developers | Publishers: Nippon Ichi Software | NIS America, Inc.
Age Rating: US 10+ | EU 7+
Price: US $29.99 | UK £26.99 | EU € 29,99
Release Date: March 11th, 2022 (EU (Digital only), March 15th, 2022 (NA)

Review code used, with many thanks to NIS America, Inc.

The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a RPG game by Nippon Ichi Software published by NIS America. The game features a storybook-inspired art style similar to childhood storybooks. The Cruel King and the Great Hero is written and illustrated by Sayaka Oda, who previously worked on The Liar Princess and The Blind Prince.

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The Cruel King and the Great Hero

Many years ago, a brave hero emerged victorious after a battle with a dragon known as The Demon King (the cruel king). Instead of killing the Dragon, the hero cut off its horn and declared the Dragon must atone for its sins. Through time the hero and the Dragon became great friends.

Years later, the hero suffered a deadly wound, and he asked the Dragon King to look after his only daughter Yuu before he died.

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Cuddled up with the Dragon

The Dragon Father

The Demon King kept his word. Yuu would be raised under the watchful eye of the Dragon King; the former wicked tyrant turned father to a young child. Yuu loved listening to tales of her birth father’s many adventures from the Dragon King, even wishing that she would become a hero herself one day. The Dragon King knew that one day this would come true.

So begins the Dragon King and Yuu adventures in The Cruel King and the Great Hero, a side-scrolling RPG with a pretty linear path.

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Go off exploring on your own Yuu.

Determined and Feisty

Young Yuu is a cute, determined and feisty hero-in-the-making who can’t wait to get out into the world and prove her worth. However, the Dragon isn’t so sure that Yuu will be safe in the world; after all, she is only armed with a twig as a weapon. So the Dragon decides to accompany Yuu on her journey, but unbeknown to Yuu, the Dragon follows along at a distance.

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Dragon is hiding

Flame Slash

Keeping an ever-watchful eye on his young charge, the Dragon adds an interesting twist to this RPG. You see, when you move Yuu throughout the game, you can see Dragon King secretly following Yuu as he hides behind the background scenery. Of course, the Dragon King does not directly participate in any battles.

However, when using Yuu’s special attack, ‘Flame Slash”, the Dragon indirectly helps by blowing breath into the weapon to inflict a fire effect. The first time I saw the Dragon King blowing onto Yuu’s sword and turning it into a sword with fire, it made me smile; it’s a nice touch. The Dragon also help out in other areas of the game, such as clearing objects from the path.

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Flame Slash

Typical JRPG

The Cruel King and the Great Hero plays like a typical RPG with turn-based battles. Yuu has her normal attack with her wooden sword, her original weapon of a stick breaks and gets replaced by a wooden sword. Yuu also has special attacks like the Fire Slash and Gale Slash, to name a few. She can also defend, run, and use an item during battles. All Yuu’s skills use Skill points which recover by some each turn.

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Plenty of characters to meet

Unique Characters

In addition to Yuu, you can control her three companions. As you progress through the game, you will meet them one by one. Although the trio provides help fighting enemies, they also use their special skills when searching for items hidden on the map.

All of the characters that Yuu meets along the way are unique. They each have their own background stories. In addition, Yuu can fulfil quests for certain characters she meets, though they are called Acts of Kindness in the game.

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Act of kindness completed

Music and Voice

The game is not voice acted in English nor can you change the settings. I liked the story being voice acted in its original language as I felt it added more to the storyline and the relationship between the dragon and Yuu. The music through-out the game is a treat for the ears, though near the end of the 12 to 15 hours to finish the battle music did get repetitive.

What I liked about the game system that stood out for me was the ability to save using Quick save. Of course, in most RPGs, there are ‘save points’ where you can save game data. But having the ability to save at will at any time and anywhere on the map is great; you don’t have to worry about it.

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Returning home to the dragons’ lair

Pacing issues

The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a gorgeous looking game, the battles begin as pages turn in a storybook. But it suffers from pacing issues, with the random battles. The encounter rate is dreadful. Every single area you’re walking through will trigger a fight every few steps you take, and getting from one side of the screen to the other can take a long time.

Later in the game, when Yuu gets stronger you can move through areas you have already visited without as many random battles. It’s a nice idea, but it takes so long to be a high enough level to do this that it’s too little too late.

Time for bed.


The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a gorgeous looking storybook RPG with an engaging story if a little lighthearted. However, the game doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, and with the pacing issues around the random battles, it can get repetitive quickly and become a little bit of a slog to reach the end.

Final Verdict: I Like It  I like it

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