Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
PublisherNippon Ichi Software
Platforms: PS4, Switch
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 04/03/2022
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.

After 2018 cracking title The Lier Princess and the blind Prince, i was excited to see that NIS is back with a follow up title. The cruel king and great hero like their prior title it was the art style that sold this for me. I had no idea what it played like or anything about the story. Well the story shines here, and it pulled a few heart strings being a dad. 

In The Cruel King and Great Hero you take control of Yuu, a human girl in a world of monsters. Where her dad is the Dragon King that rules over the monsters. 

The Dragon King wishes for peace with the monsters and humans, even if there has been a conflict going back hundreds of years. The Dragon King totally dotes over Yuu, his daughter. 

Yuu loves nothing more than to don her pot helmet and go on heroic adventures on the mountainside. The adventures are inspired by the stories that her dad tells her every night about the Great Hero. She wants to be like the Great Hero and she wants to help all she can, be it human or monster. 
The story is a bit of an emotional roller-coaster depending on the person who is playing it and their own experiences. I connected with the story as I am a father and I want to protect my kids, and the way my kids fall asleep with me and so on. The story might not resonate with everyone.

The cruel king and the great hero gameplay

The Dragon King and Yuu

The entire story revolves around the love and care given by these two characters to each other and other around them. I found myself more drawn to the Dragon King than Yuu. 

Like all fathers, we have a natural urge to protect their kids. Well, the Dragon King does just that. He lets Yuu go on adventures on her ‘own’ but yet follows her through the forest, to make sure she is ok. When Yuu’s health is low, he will look worried. When she wins a fight, he looks proud. He will also use his flames to help Yuu if she is stuck or to give her fire based attacks. He is letting her be on her own but still keeping a close eye and you can tell he loves her. 

For Yuu, who you control, she is out in the monster filled lands helping out as she can to the denizens of the mountain when they need it. Yuu has formed this mind set due the stories she hears and night from her dad. So she is a brave warrior. Who is still just a young girl, as when she sees her dad she runs up to him and hugs him or when her favourite stick breaks, she cries. There is nothing special about this stick, but to her, it is everything. 

It was good to see the contrast in Yuu as being so young things still upset her and like all kids cry over the little things. While watching her dad, a fearsome dragon sneak about, protecting her from just out of sight. And watching the pair grow both personality and watching this odd pair grow together as a family. 


The Cruel King and Great Hero, the devs, opted for a more traditional JRPG style game play. With random battle encounters and turn based combat. With only one actual difference, to what you would expect in a straightforward JRPG. The mana system works slightly differently. The mana is limited and your party will recover 1 mana a round. Making for some tactical choices when to set Yuu’s wooden sword a flame and smite the enemy. 
There could be one stumbling block for the battle system. Random encounters are frequent. I don’t mind this, as I like the grind. But for others, I could see this being a total pain. There is a way to negate most of the random battles. Once Yuu is a high enough level, she can run through these areas. 

God Damn CUTE!! 

Everything in The Cruel King and Great Hero is adorable and beautiful at the same time. The hand drawn pencil like world and its inhabitants are simply stunning. Evolving the art style of the prior game by adding more colour and more detail to the game. 

Let’s not forget Yuu and her pot (her own crown) running around with a wee smile on her face, and the dragon king popping in and out of the background protecting and his own facial expressions. Every detail of the game is a joy to see. 

My only complaint is not the art style itself but the lack of variety of enemies in any given area. The game has a good amount of enemies to take down, but the encounter rate will see you take on the same mobs way too many times.

Overall, The Cruel King and Great Hero goes all in with story and art style but makes the rest of the game overly simple. With the story, it will either click or the feels will be lost to you. The simple pick up and play battle system and a beautiful art style, makes for a great wee game. 

I have to recommend The Cruel King and Great Hero, but I also acknowledge that it is not for everyone. 


Fore more reviews, check out Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space and EGGLIA Reborn

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