Slay the Princess Review

I can save her.

Released: October 23, 2023
Available on: Steam
Genre: Horror Visual Novel
Developer: Black Tabby Games
Publisher: Black Tabby Games
Review code provided by developers

I knew Slay the Princess was going to be something special when I tried out the demo last year. The demo was updated since then, but I wanted to see the full product and so I waited. You can’t imagine how excited I was when I heard the news that a release date was announced. Just in time for the spookiest time of the year.

Slay the Princess is a hard one to talk about. Not because it’s a visual novel, I have enough experience writing about those by now, but because of the nature of the game. Not only does one of the characters change, but you can get into spoiler territory very easily. I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, but it might not be possible to completely keep it out of my review.

“You’re on a path in the woods. And at the end of that path is a cabin. And in the basement of that cabin is a princess. You’re here to slay her. If you don’t, it will be the end of the world.” These are the first few sentences you’re told and it explains the premise of Slay the Princess exactly. At first, you’re only joined by a voice in your head known as the Narrator. He acts as a guide to you and gives you any answers to questions you may end up asking. One of his primary jobs is to describe the world around you, to set the mood and atmosphere as you will, and truthfully describe the events that take place. The other is to make sure you slay the Princess no matter what. There’s also you, the Player, who is another character here. You don’t get a name or really a good look at yourself, but you do know you’re some kind of bird based on your hands and from the few instances the Princess will lightly describe you. Being the vessel which you are in, you of course control him by the various choices that’ll pop up on the side of the screen. You’ll see the possible actions you can take and dialogue options either to the voices in your head or to the Princess (don’t worry, it’s pretty obvious who you’ll be talking to).

Anyway, back on task, it’s time to slay the Princess and don’t even try to run away from your responsibility. You will always arrive at the cabin no matter which direction you go. As you arrive at the cabin and step inside, you’ll be directed to a knife which you can take or just enter the basement without it. I was going to say this was the first choice that’ll have an effect on the Princess, but technically it’s not. This is when you get to meet the only character you’ll actually see and she’s known only as Princess. She changes a lot, so you can’t exactly pin her down, but she looks like a young adult who has been chained here for who knows how long. No matter if she takes on a meek, polite tone or a condescending one you can’t help but feel sorry for her. Which, makes slaying her not an easy task other than those that can coldly go in, kill her, and just walk away without a second thought.

Unluckily for the Narrator, this is where his plan all falls apart. There is a lot of variations this first encounter with the Princess can end up, but it all seems to end with you dying. No matter whether you decide to kill her or free her, you’ll learn more about the Princess, you’ll end up dead, and you end up back in the woods. This is told in a loop as every death will return you back to the beginning with you and your Voices knowing what happened, but not the Narrator (or so he says). As you walk back to the cabin, which may or may not look the same depending on the loop/chapter you’re on, you’ll see the consequences of your actions. The Princess is not the same as she has changed forms and you need to contend with it. Not only will she look different, but also her personality. She can be deadly, scheming, or even be even more of a perfect, helpless damsel. Maybe you’ll be able to preserver and get out of the loop or maybe you’ll be killed and be sent to the next loop where the Princess still awaits. Maybe in a different form, maybe in the same.

There is a crazy amount of variation you can end up getting. There are 10 different forms the Princess can end up taking and there are even a few variations for those forms. All of them act differently. The most variation comes in what happens in the path you take, though, as you can change one action and it’ll take you on a different branch of that path (even if it seems small). And those paths even have a lot of ways it can end. Even you taking the time to ask questions is part of it as certain paths will log that as time passing. I’ve completed four complete playthroughs and I haven’t encountered the same events caused by my actions.

Every time you die and wake up, you’ll also notice more voices, or “Voices of ___” joining in on this not-so-simple task each with their own personalities. You do start out with Voice of the Hero, who pops in once you’re at the cabin, but the others seem to manifest due to whatever feeling your character held when he died. If he felt paranoid or cheated or even a little in love with her, that Voice will manifest. They all act as you’d think they’d act based on their descriptor, but that doesn’t mean they just stick to that. These new Voices will then join in on the conversation, try to convince you to do what they’d want, and even have some effect in your chosen path.

I do want to mention that there is a meta narrative and meta progression. I won’t spoil it, but you should not click “New Game” until you get to the credits. At the end of a path you’ll be faced with a strange entity who asks to bring more Princesses. After having a talk with her, you’ll be put in a whole new loop at the start. You’ll need to get five endings to paths, and thus five different forms of the Princess, before you’re at the actual end of the playthrough (which takes around four hours). Due to this, I recommend just continuing rather than reloading a previous save to see what would happen if you chose differently. It’s meant to be played all the way through so your progress can be tracked and reloading can mess this up. I know, it goes against all of our VN instincts, but it’s worth it.

I absolutely loved the story and writing Slay the Princess had. The simple premise instantly grabs you and the Princess comes in to jab the hooks in. Making you wonder what other forms the Princess can take, what’s going on underneath all the layers of the story, and how one choice could have altered events. I also liked how it incorporated the “choices matter” aspect into its theme. The game is paced well, with its short nature really working for it, and all the characters are well written and in a way that you can’t help but like all of them. The Princess can be pretty vicious in some paths, but I can’t seem to hate her for it. I also really enjoyed the writing style, but I guess that’s already obvious. I can’t even choose which Princess was my favorite or even what path. A lot of changes depending on your choices and a lot of the paths have really interesting ideas.

I also surprisingly liked how meta it was. It’s hard to describe, but it’s not in your face so much that it’s annoying, but lightly brushes on the fourth wall. It’s more meta for your character than for you if that makes sense. And talking about the meta aspects, one of the things I wondered after I played the demo was how it was going to end. Well, I can honestly say that the ending was amazing. I especially loved the moments where your past actions get referenced in an interesting and unique way. I was not expecting the ending to be what it was.

You wouldn’t think this game could scare you as well, with it being a visual novel and all, but it can. I know it scared me a good couple times and it knows perfectly well how to send chills down your spine as you wonder what’s waiting for you in the basement. Despite this being a horror VN, there are a lot of funny moments as well. Some intentional, like from the Voices, and some not (I won’t giveaway, but it happens in the Razor path).

There were only a few things that I felt were cons. I did feel some voice lines were a bit too low even after I turned down the music and sound volume a tad. Getting to see everything is also more difficult with the nature of the hidden progression. There are a lot of variations you can do and in a normal visual novel you’ll be able to save and then go back to try out the other choice. Technically you can do that here, but due to the meta progression you’ll also be missing on what happens at the end of a full playthrough since there is a moment where your choices get referenced. Other than that, I was also sad we couldn’t hear thoughts on the last Princess you end up getting as I really liked hearing about the various forms the Princess can take.

I loved the art style when I played the demo and I still love it now. It has that hand drawn, sketchy aesthetic and it helps convey the environments and the Princess well. Even the more gruesome events, like the Princess gnawing off her arm, or the more horror leaning cabin variants look beautiful.

The game also has three effects that you can turn off if you want to: boil, parallax, and flickering. Boil effect basically is the little animation you see with all of the lines of the artwork shaking (or wiggling?). This doesn’t affect the moments where there are actual animations, so don’t worry about that. Parallax effect is where the different layers of the environment and character artwork moves separately as you move your cursor. Basically, giving you the illusion of depth. Flickering is exactly what it sounds like, giving the artwork the permission to flicker like an almost dead lightbulb when it calls for it. This effect might be a bit puzzling as you try to find where it’s used, but that’s due to it being used in two of the paths. You can turn all of these off and you’ll be fine, but honestly there are some pretty cool moments where these are used. Well except the boil effect, but it adds to the atmosphere for me.

The voice acting is great as well. The whole game is voiced by only two people, which was something I suspected as I was going through my first full playthrough and was still impressed by. The Princess’ voice actor portrayed all of the different personalities or forms she can take on exceptionally well. You can tell her mood just by her voice before the Narrator or the Voices says something. I was even like “Yeah she’s lying to us” before one of the Voices said as such. Meanwhile, the Narrator and all the different Voices are voiced by one person as well. I actually thought that wasn’t the case at first with how well the voice actor did to portray all the different personalities. I wonder if it was weird having to argue with himself for the many points in the narrative where the Narrator and Voices argue.


I knew I was going to love Slay the Princess last year and I’m glad I was right as it turned into a visual novel that I would absolutely recommend to anyone and everyone. Its simple premise quickly turns into a unique one as you start to unravel the secrets of this world and the Princess. Not to mention that the wonderfully written narrative is wrapped by the fantastic voice acting, beautiful and expressive artwork, and a great soundtrack.

This is also a game you can confidently say that your choices matter. Everything (aside from a few constants) changes based on your choices, you never know what’s going to happen next, and I have yet to find a path that’s the same as another. I’ve even seen screenshots that I have yet to see in my playthroughs. I can only imagine how much work went into the many many different paths and it was definitely worth it as it made for a unique experience.

Alongside my glowing recommendation for Slay the Princess, I also recommend going for all the different Princesses and paths. It doesn’t feel like a complete experience once you hit the credits and while I haven’t seen every possible path yet, all of the ones I have seen have all been worth it.


♡ ♡ ♡ A witch that goes for anything that peaks her interest no matter the genre. Currently obsessed with the Persona series and trying to make a dent in my backlog. ♡ ♡ ♡

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