- There was once a time where humans, fairies, and witches lived together in harmony, but the tales of one bard destroyed that and lead to the Great War.
- Four years after the Great War, Princess Lucette of Angielle is still trying to recover from the loss of her mother –The Queen– and struggling to come to terms with the King’s attitude and her new step-family.
- However, her own grief and resentment makes her blind to what is happening to the kingdom and its people, though that changes one day when Lucette is cursed by a witch – with help, can she finally learn what true kindness means?
★ ☆ ✰ Rating: 10/10
This review will go a bit deeper into the game in regards to story, the characters, and the story lines within each route. To read my initial thoughts about the game, check out my first review talking about the demo.
***This is not a spoiler-free review.
First off, I must say that Dicesuki continues to impress me with their games in terms of production and story. The art is lovely and all the backgrounds have a lot of detail placed within them, while the CGs are all beautifully done and show the romance and emotion of each scene very well. The GUI also matches the theme well and has a crisp appearance with everything being rather easy to find for the player. The music puts a lot into a scene from drama of learning the truth to the sweeter moments, while being catchy enough that you might find yourself humming along with it. The opening movie is really well done and while I liked the softer version of the OP in the ending credits, it was nice and the lyrics related well to the story. However, it is the characters and their relationships that really make the game.
What’s in a Fairytale, Hans?: Background Story
In the beginning of the game, the player is given a small background story on what has happened to the country of Angielle during the Great War and its aftermath. However, there is still a lot of background information that isn’t given to the player through direct exposition, but rather it is peppered throughout the different routes as Lucette learns more about the Great War, how the former Queen was involved, and who she really is. A lot of those answers are mainly given during Fritz’s and Waltz’s routes.
The writing does a good job in pacing what Lucette and the player come to learn about the world, especially since Lucette has been sheltered from the truth of the Great War for various through various ways and it does explain that a lot of things were out of her control. However, the story is very human-centric and it would have been nice to learn more about the world that the witches and fairies once had and what happened to them in the aftermath of the War, though it is understandable why, especially since Lucette’s has a certain point-of-view about things and she probably isn’t ready to learn about something that has such a negative aspect being shown of the former Queen, especially during this period of her life.
Cinderelly, Cinderelly: Lucette of Angielle
When the player first meets Lucette, the crown princess of Angielle, she is a bitter and isolated little thing that seems to have a lot of resentment and various other emotions lack away due to the way people have treated her. However, she is also very level-headed and mature about the situations placed in front of her, she might run wild with her emotions for a moment, but she quickly gathers them back and tries to make the best out of a bad situation. Though, that itself is also a flaw within her personality since she tends to blame herself for a lot of things that happen within the story with a tendency of calling herself “weak” about anything that are out of her control. While, at the same time, being very stubborn about letting people know her true feelings and that she needs any type of support. However, this is all connected to how she was raised by the former Queen.
Lucette blames the whole world for that way everyone treats her, though she doesn’t fully understand their reasons why, but because the world is cruel to her…she returns it with her own irritable nature even to people that are honesty trying to get to know her. A lot of this is because of the way Lucette was raised by the former Queen, telling that she shouldn’t trust anyone and that the whole world is something that she should close herself off from. Due to this, Lucette revers her mother for the majority of the story, though as she comes to learn more about the truth of the former Queen, it is then that she begins to question what she was taught and is able to learn the true meaning of kindness. It is a real joy to see Lucette’s character development because it does take her a long time to learn the meaning of kindness and why people do good deeds. She needs to form connections and have people constantly reassure her of her own budding goodness, but of others as well. It takes the majority of each route, but Luectte is able to prove that she isn’t just her mother’s daughter, but her own person and it is great to see that she reflects on her actions and tries to seek the forgiveness (with the hope of getting a 2nd chance) from the people knows that she has wronged. Both her and the people around her come to understand that it isn’t right to simply treat a book by its cover.
Outside of her romantic relationships, two of the relationships that stuck with me the most through the game for Lucette were with her father –King Genaro– and Delora. From the beginning, Lucette cannot talk to her father and is under the impression that he is much happier with his new family than he ever was with her and the former Queen. Each route has a variation of how their relationship begins to mend, slowly and surely with the route order making it seem that their relationship is getting a little bit better each time. They both come to realize in different ways that their relationship was damaged by the former Queen, but neither of them fought hard enough to repair it until it was too late. My favorite healing moments in their relationship is in both Karma’s and Waltz’s routes because they manage to forgive each other in some capacity and there are hints of them still caring for each other — such as, Genaro growing concern over Karma’s flirty attitude towards Lucette and both father and daughter having some real bonding time after so many years of silence in Waltz’s route.
The same thing can be said about Lucette’s relationship with Delora. While, she loved her as a doll, Lucette finds it very hard to agree or even listen to anything that Delora tells her – they almost seem like bickering sisters. At the same time, Delora has a certain image of Lucette because she is her mother’s daughter, but that changes as she spends more time with her and she seems to worry a lot about Lucette, even if the young princess has a tendency of fighting back. However, it is during the last routes (Fritz’s and Waltz’s) that the player comes to learn more about Delora’s past that the player truly gets to see how much she cares about Lucette and how the princess comes to have a stronger relationship with the Delora than she ever had with the former Queen.
Lucette does a lot of growing up within the story, but she certainly doesn’t do it all on her own. Her partner is always there to help her and though it is through different methods, she comes to realize the true meanings of “happiness” and “kindness”.
Teach Her Kindness: The Cursed Bachelors
Lucette has the choice of picking between 5 men to be her partner, so that they can help break each other’s curse. Each has their own way of going about teaching Lucette what kindness means, though everyone is patient and understanding with her since they seem to know more about her real past and who the former Queen used to be than she does. It is intersting to see that each man has their own ideas on what kindness is and how they view it towards a certain type of person. Through different means, each bachelor’s curse is a big mystery to Lucette and she tries her hardest to solve the mystery and find a way to break it. Each route also does a good job in pacing and character development for Lucette , though it is a little different when it comes to the romances in terms of pacing and it really depends on the player and if they want/enjoy a slow romance (Rod/Karma), a romance built on a shared past (Fritz/Waltz), or “love at first sight” as Rumpel likes to put it.
Dicesuki give the player an order to follow of: Rod –> Karma –> Rumpel –> Fritz –> Waltz. Personally, Rod is a good way to welcome the player into the story since his route doesn’t really deal with a lot of the background story that is introduced during the last 2 routes, but does show the player the main problems and the potential villains that they will come across through the rest of the game. His is a clumsy and sweet romance, though they both struggle with openly expressing the feelings that they come to develop and even asking for help at times. Both Rod and Lucette still seem to have a lot to learn but they have someone who is steady and resilient next to them in order to go through that process. His good ending leaves a lot opened for the fandisc, but his bad ending is just sad because neither of them really learn to trust the other. A similar process can be seen in Karma’s route, though it is mostly about Karma opening up about his past and what his curse really means to Lucette, including what she has to accept in order to break it, because her not really knowing makes a her heart breaking bad ending.
Rumpel’s story is a good middle break between the drama of the first 2 routes and the darker stories, especially Fritz’s, and the various story developments that come from the last 2 routes. Rumpel is sweet and corny that his attitude might be too much for some people, as shown with Lucette, but he does care a lot about everyone to the point that it becomes his curse. It is interesting to see how different he and Karma are from each other and how they point it our for the player whenever they are seen fighting. The problem at the center of his curse is a little curious and it seems that he needs some of Lucette’s personality to overcome it, which is kind fun to see and doesn’t make her initial personality something that the player should completely hate, since people need to be selfish at time too.
As previously stated, Fritz and Waltz have routes that show the most story exposition since a lot of the mysteries that are shown in the beginning of Cinderella Phenomenon slowly start to unravel in these routes. At the same time, they both have a unique perspective to Lucette since they have known her during different points in her life and see through the things that she usually tries to hide. However, Fritz’s route is a lot darker due to his curse and how Lucette handles everything that is happening within the castle and the situation surrounding the mysterious Varg. This really shows a different side to Lucette and how much she actually cares about Fritz, though it might be a bit to hard for her to express openly. Waltz’s route is a bit lighter in terms of the relationship and while Lucette finds it hard to believe him at first, they seem to support and desperately want to protect each other. This is very important since Lucette has to face a lot in order to gain her title back and protect her country. However, it can be said that she learns a lot, but also has to give up a lot in order to save the people that she cares about and her country, but Waltz is always by her side making sure that she doesn’t completely lose herself to the cause.
Each route has a good and bad ending is really well done and invokes some type of emotion from the player, though it just seems to gets worst and worst in terms of the bed endings as the player further down the game.
Overall, Cinderella Phenomenon is a great game in terms of both writing and production. It has good art and the GUI is done well without being too much to look at. The music is also done well for the scenes. The story takes a concept that most people know well and gives it a fresh new spin and interesting twists with how the curse connects to each bachelor. At first, the player make not like Lucette, but the story does a good job in explaining her situation and making her character development a steady process that is believable for the player. The story is evenly paced in each of the route when it comes to the romance and in everything that both the player and Lucette comes to learn, but it would have been nice to seen more of the background of the Great War and Lucette’s reaction to it, especially when it comes to her mother’s involvement and the strange dynamic she seems to have with both Parfait and Delora. Nevertheless, the game isn’t just about romance since Lucette comes to form both friendships and familial ties that she never had before.
The good endings leave all the stories in the good place for the fandisc and I am looking forward to seeing what happens to all of them and how their relationships develops once their lives are no longer in danger. Dicesuki has created 2 games and both a great games, but Cinderella Phenomenon really blew away all the expectations that I had for it and I look forward to whatever else the company has in story for their future games. So, if you have the time, please consider checking out this great game.