Sunday, September 4, 2016

"Cinderella Phenomenon" Review (demo).

Note: Click on the images to see them in full size and high quality!

Cinderella Phenomenon, produced by Dicesuki, revolves around a princess named Lucette. She is known as the "Ice Princess" by many for her cold demeanor and her harsh actions. Due to this, a witch named Delora has put the "Fairytale Curse" on Lucette: the Cinderella Curse, as punishment. To break it, she must fulfill three good deeds.

If you want a short version of this review (without the pictures though), you can click here. It will lead you to a document containing the exact notes we have put down (and the condensed things we put down below; we put more in the actual review than in the notes though). Yes, this review contains two people's thoughts in this game, not one. It's like a collaborative review with Otometea and Kibou-desuka. However, we will be using first-person in reviews.

Although I had intended to do a full-fledged review on this game, I had found myself reading through this game out of enjoyment rather than reviewing purposes. However, I did manage to make myself a page of notes worth mentioning in this review, both things that are already good and things that can be improved upon. I am used to reviewing books, but this is my first visual novel I am reviewing; it will be different, as in addition to the writing itself, there is also art and music.

The game dives into its opening movie once the application is opened. It leaves quite an impression on you. I love how it's thematic to the story, both art/animation and music wise. After all, the music in the opening movie is completely original and made specifically to fit for this game! Although I did enjoy the lyrics, I thought the vocalist could use a bit more work. Other than that, it has fulfilled its main purpose in a flashy way: introducing the characters and- briefly- the setting.

I would also like to make a brief comment about the main theme: it is stunningly beautiful. It is original and it captures the general theme perfectly. The harp and the brass playing together creates a romantic and calming atmosphere, so the music has no problem.

Alright, I thoroughly enjoyed the visuals provided at the very beginning when the history and setting is explained, but there is just a few nit picky things I would like to comment on: both the "Great War" and the "Fairytale Curse" are overused and completely cliché names. The concept is unique, original and creative, but the names of these concepts bear no originality whatsoever; it's clear little to no effort has been put into naming these.

However, I love the GUI artwork. It is simple, but very specific to the theme and characters. Especially this screen. I love the "Contract" thing; I feel like I got to know the story just a bit more just from this little feature. It's a unique way to ask for the player's name, and that is what I think makes a good visual novel.

Putting artwork aside, I would like to get more into the story. The first thing I would like to mention is Lucette. Yes, she is cold and she is indeed an "Ice Princess", but she does have her reasons, and I could easily connect with her. In other words, when she said she felt painful, I also felt the same way. It's because it's easy to be in the mindset of Lucette. Her personality is really developed as well, which I like. There are many times where I read a visual novel, but the main protagonist has nothing unique about them. Well, Lucette does.

This story is meant to be a bit dark; Lucette is a bit pessimistic throughout the story, and to top things all off: Rod (who happens to be the "prince" of the kingdom and Lucette's stepbrother) is very opinionated and hates Lucette.

However, I am happy with this story's balance between its dark and light moments. Yes, there is a lot of dark prejudice going on, but what's a story without its humor? There is a lot of humor in this story; I can name off a few from the top of my head. However, my most favorable funny moment was Rumpel's appearance. Even though he emits some sense of mystery, he is very, very funny (in a flirtatious way, if I may add).

He loves to flirt with the ladies, and I also laugh whenever his glasses start to shine. It's hilarious, and very "anime".

I also laughed very hard at the part where Rumpel flirts with Karma. Even though at that time specifically, Karma was a woman instead of a man, that still doesn't change the fact that Rumpel was flirting with a man. He even mentioned her breasts, and the way, well, everybody reacted was very funny as well.

There are just two things. (1) I know Rod is supposedly mute, but the way it looks on the screen looks as though Rod himself is speaking. If he can't speak, but is still communicating, I would use a different text format, such as italics, as doing nothing with the text normally indicates and implies that the character him or herself is speaking. It's good to avoid confusion that may occur, and (2) Using second-person pronouns to express a thought is awkward; when you think, usually you use first-person pronouns, unless Lucette is directly referring to her mother's words, in which case quotation would have to be used.

However, other than that, I think the story is very well-written and done. The characters were brought to life, and it's honestly easy to connect to all of them, one way or another.

I would also like to make a few general points as well: The text box is beautifully done and thematic, but I find it really annoying when the textbox disappears and then reappears every time a character changes their expression.

Secondly, I liked how the CGs sort of "zoomed". I think it's a good way to present the CGs. Also, I love how everything is worded and flowed well. The setting and plot is explained in a concise yet simple way, so it's easy to understand and immerse myself into the world. Also, there were some extremely minor grammar errors I found sprinkled throughout the game, but I don't think they're worth mentioning. Now that the general things are out of the way, now comes the "nutshell question": would I recommend this game?

I say yes. This is a story that will bring you into a whole other world from beginning to end; every interaction is engaging, and sometimes it even has the capability to get your heart racing in anxiety or anticipation.

All in the demo. Imagine what the full game would be like: full of twists and turns, I would imagine. If you enjoy dark fantasy, and romance... I will say go and give this game a try.

I guarantee you that this game will leave you wanting more. The full game's release- as the producers claim- will be released in January-March 2017, so make sure to keep a look-out if this interests you! The demo link is provided in their LemmaSoft post, so if you're interested, download it and play it!

This is kibou-desuka (+ otometea for this post) signing out!


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