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  • Writer's pictureAntal Bokor

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown Delivers on its Metroidvania Promise

Screenshot: Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Screenshot: Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

I’m a bit of a sucker for metroidvanias, so when I heard that there was a critically acclaimed Prince of Persia game using the side-scrolling metroidvania formula, I thought to myself, “hey, I’m a critic, I can acclaim!” I’m very happy to report that while Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown may not be perfect, it definitely lives up to the hype.


Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a side scrolling action adventure game in the metroidvania style. That is, you explore the map looking for the next power-up or ability that will allow you to overcome novel obstacles, survive or destroy certain hazards, etc. And while The Lost Crown does that a fair amount and in predictable ways, the game also managed to subvert my expectations and surprise me a few times. 


In The Lost Crown you play as Sargon, one of The Immortals led by Vahram, as you enter a strange city lost to time to rescue the prince of (you guessed it) Persia. The Immortals themselves have a recurring role throughout the story. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, because The Lost Crown does a magnificent job of crafting a tale that is full of twists and surprises–something I can’t really say I’ve seen at this level. 


Screenshot: Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Screenshot: Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

But that’s not the main draw. Exploring the map and obtaining new abilities to get past novel obstacles is your main activity. Interestingly, you can choose whether or not you want The Lost Crown to be a pure metroidvania experience, or one that shows you where to go via waypoints. This is along with numerous other difficult settings that can make it easier for those that want to play a game for fun, and not necessarily tackle a white-knuckle challenge.


If you do want a challenge, however, The Lost Crown delivers that in multiple ways. Combat can be relatively challenging, and enemies are of a mixed variety of ranged and close-up damage dealers with different behaviors. Each major zone also has a boss or two to create their own unique challenges. 


As Sargon you fight using your dual swords, bow, and chakram. These can be upgraded, and you can also upgrade how many potions you can carry–they replenish at every wak wak tree, in soulsborne style. You can also equip different abilities called Athra Surges. These range from a projectile you shoot to giving you enhanced combat ability for a while. Amulets are also able to be upgraded, however, I wish the system for this was a little easier. You can’t upgrade them directly from your inventory, so you'll have to select which to upgrade while at the blacksmith. This led to me looking back and forth to double check names, as some later upgrades require you to spend hard to acquire currency.


Screenshot: Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Screenshot: Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

Amulets are another way to change the way you play as Sargon, and they can really change things significantly. Amulets can enable extra attacks in a combo, give you temporary health, increase ability damage, and so much more. I found with the right amulet and athra combo most combat scenarios were easily defeated–even bosses.


Beyond combat, there are some great traversal challenges or what I like to call “jumping puzzles.” There was a time when platforming video games seemed quaint and out of style, but since Super Meat Boy I’ve craved hard and deadly platforming. The Lost Crown delivers on this in a great way. There are also further jumping challenges that are incorporated into The Lost Crown organically as a way to test yourself beyond what the main game requires. 


Screenshot: Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Screenshot: Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

My time with The Lost Crown wasn’t perfect, however. I did encounter a fair amount of bugs along the way, some of which actually soft locked my game, forcing me to restart. This didn’t just happen once, or in the same spot–but multiple times. I even got Sargon stuck in the world geometry a few times in a way I couldn't extract him. If I run into a bug that makes me lose progress, it’s frustrating. Having it happen multiple times in a playthrough can be maddening. If The Lost Crown wasn’t as good as it is, I would have given up after the second soft lock.


Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is certainly the darling the critics gushed about earlier this year before Palworld and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League took over headlines. It’s too bad that this flash-in-the-pan might be forgotten by year’s end. Though I suspect it’ll pop up on some game of the year lists, even despite its bugs–which I hope are fixed by then. If you manage to take a break from Palworld and are looking for some great platforming metroidvania action, The Lost Crown is a great choice. 


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