Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lady of the Castle

Author: Waffrus
Availability: Free, Online 
Format: Visual Novel
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: Everyone

My Scores (Out of 5):

Writing: 2.5
Art: 3
Gameplay: 2
Romance: 2 (Eh, I wasn't totally feeling it.)


In Lady of the Castle, you are Lady Elise. You're celebrating your birthday with your cousin, tutor, and maid when you get a letter from your uncle, the king, informing you that you are to marry the prince of Rozale in two weeks. Happy Birthday, indeed!


The Writing

After the darkness of Saccharine and Reverie, it was kind of nice to get back into a classic “meet and fall in love” romance game. Lady of the Castle is a bit of cute fluff, although it clearly doesn't quite pull off all of the ideas that the author had. The difficulty with anything this short is that the author has a very limited space in which to parcel out all the important information about the characters, setting, and plot. It's important that we get to know these people, especially our protagonist, ASAP, so that the ending has more emotional payoff, and in this game, it feels like a lot of interesting information shows up late and goes whizzing by with little or no elaboration. I know I've said before that I like when stories “bleed off the page” by alluding to things we'll never actually see, but something as critical to a character as “why she's living with her uncle instead of her parents” strikes me as something that should get just a bit more attention in the beginning of the story. Or, maybe that's just me.

The Art

Overall, I found the art to be rather pretty, although the faces struck me as being a little wonky, especially Elise's. I think it's to do with where her mouth is in relation to her jaw, and it's less noticeable on the guys. Still, the clothes and backgrounds are very nice, and the style is a refreshing break from the usual anime/manga look these games nearly always have. I was also pleased to see a suitor with some melanin, since again, these games do have a tendency to be completely White. The only other exception I've found to this rule so far is the Canada-based Heartstring Bugs. Variety is good, people: in games like this, the more different the suitors look from each other, the more tastes you can appeal to.

The Gameplay

Well, one advantage this game had over Saccharine was the giant button labeled “Start”. It was pretty hard to miss. However, the cursor only changes into that “I” shape you see when typing, which is its own brand of confusing.

There are 6 endings in the game: 1 for ending up alone, 2 for one suitor, and 1 for everyone else. It's a little odd to me that only one character has a bad ending, and it's not even someone the plot centers around. I had actually thought that the “official plot-line” would be that cousin Fred himself was secretly in love with Elise, yet his ending only has her end up as his adviser, a detail which other endings also include. As such, it wasn't until I got the other 5 endings that I realized that was his ending. Also, while some options like “Talk to Loren” are obvious in whose ending they build toward, others are a bit less intuitive on the first play-through.


Lady of the Castle is a very short, cute game that's very clearly an early attempt. There are no shocking twists or turns and the pacing needs work, but if you just need a quick dating-sim fix, there are worse ways to spend thirty seconds.

So, what do you think? Is this game fit for royalty, or nothing to write home about? Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments.

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