First of all, despite being months late with this comment, I would love to say congratulations to releasing another wonderful game! I loved how "Locked Heart" turned out and have deeply fallen in love with Cinderella Phenomenon! Due to this, Dicesuki has officially been rewarded a special place in my heart - technically unquestioning loyalty
From here on out, whatever game may be released by Dicesuki, I feel like I'll play it in a heartbeat! (Although... it will take several of my heartbeats to finish the game XD Even more since my heart races fast with the characters)
1. What do you think of the plot?
What do I think? E. Enchanting, entrancing. EXCELLENT. I can state no more than my undying love and fascination with the story, with the interactions, with the characters, and with the character developments! The curses in itself are original. Especially Fritz's curse. The other curses seemed self-explanatory, but Fritz's curse was the most original. Additionally, I completely adored the fact that there were specific ways in order for each curse to be broken. I also loved the "antecedent action" prior to the game. I doubt I had EVER played a visual novel where the protagonist was an anti-hero, but Lucette was such a doll! So delicate, so cold, yet so beautiful. I may have been unable to connect much with her cold-heart, but from an objective point of view, Lucette stuck to who she was throughout all the routes (although, I haven't played the bad routes yet. It's so painful to pursue someone and NOT save them ;-;)
Although, there are some gaps here and there, but all in all, I'd express 10/10 for the plot. The plot was original and worked well in developing many things. Not only that, but I also adore the idea of having a specific play order so that the plot would gradually be able to unfold. Just fascinating!
I love visual novels with a distinct plot that plays throughout every route since it immerses me into a whole different world. It also boosts the "unique" factor. To only have visual novels that revolve around pursuing a guy... Well, it somehow just becomes dull. The only problem that needs to be solved would be hooking up in order to save them. I'm not against the relying factors of a relationship, but it doesn't exactly make things memorable. I liked the background, and I liked how the characters were introduced without making it seem like their introductions were forced.
2. Which route did you liked the most and why?
Honestly, I adored ALL the routes, but since some characters won over my heart more than another, I did end up having favourites.
In regards to the character himself, I think I agree with other players that he indeed tied with first place, or slightly beat another bachelor. Probably because the main plot wasn't completely involved in his route I ended up falling for his character more since his route was more based on the interactions between Lucette and him. I also loved the fact that Lucette was able to make amends with her step-family in this route. It was the central aspect here. I mean, my heart was breaking during the prologue because she wouldn't try giving any of them a chance. And, how funny, for Cinderella to have a step-family but instead of them not liking her (except for Rod), she doesn't like them! What a wonderful twist! I also adore the love-hate relationship between Rod and Lucette XD The tension is suffocating – in a good way (as in, it made my heart race).
Then there's Sebby! Oh, bless this stuffed bunny! Sebby boosted the cuteness factor with this route (and I adore the font used. Suits Sebby a lot). If it weren't for Sebby, I feel like Rod wouldn't have the same... appeal, I guess. Not to say Rod isn't okay the way he is, but Sebby just added more depth into the route; like, this pure stuffed animal actual had a ROLE. Sebby wasn't just an accessory or something to add cuteness like some otome games, nor was it just there to voice Rod's... voice. Sebby had a distinct character that allowed Rod's route to advance. His existence was necessary. It was unique and it actually gave Rod an advantage compared to the Little Mermaid. At least he's able to voice what he wants to voice... and it's different from either making him learn sign language or writing down his thoughts.
Back to the familial relationship, this route focused a lot on that aspect. Her interactions with Emelaigne and Ophelia were heartwarming. They provide a great foil to Lucette and Hildyr. Ophelia cares about Emelaigne and encourages her to do better when she makes mistakes but Hildyr discourages Lucette when she makes mistakes. This highlighted Lucette's need to be loved and not forced to be the Ice Princess she is. I liked how that interaction sent a beam of light into her heart. Not just that, but Ophelia made her feel loved in a way that Hildyr was never able to express. Although, I'd like to mention that after reading Shakespeare's Hamlet before this, I was quite amazed to see the name "Ophelia" again. There's no great connection other than the name and status of the two characters. Additionally, I'd like to comment on the supportive nature of these two characters in the route. As of all I know in regards to the Good End, Emelaigne fully supported Lucette and Rod's relationship even after realizing the inevitable nature of the relationship. Instead of discouraging it, she went out of her way just so that the relationship could prosper. I also feel that Ophelia secretly wants it to happen, but it may give her conflicting feelings to have her children... Well, it's understandable why you'd implement this secret relationship because it would disturb certain players because of the "incestuous" nature. I, in general, do not mind since they're not blood-related.
An additional comment: I might agree that Rod may not exactly be the best partner for Lucette but more of a brother who'd exhibit a major sister complex. But... I also like his interactions with Lucette that I somewhat support a one-sided romance between the two... ahaha... Then again, considering Rod's self-sacrificing nature when it comes to his loved ones, I guess it works with Lucette too. I mean, Lucette "never" really had someone who would commit themselves to her that her happiness outweighed their own. She deserves someone who would do that for her. Guilty as charged, I somewhat wanted Rod to show some affection to Lucette again whenever I came across him again in another route XD I felt pain when it didn't come ;-; Haha. Just my selfishness.
Enough of character adoration, but I would say that starting with his route was the best suggestion because it made the player want to know MORE. Like, what did Mythros want from Lucette? What was the reason? I also loved the Little Mermaid since I was little, so I liked the adaptation in this game, just that, instead of legs, it was a title XD I also quickly caught onto the fact that there was another remedy to Rod's curse because the curse only required for the one he "loves" to love him back. I just didn't understand why the curse was laid upon him. Never thought it would be because he wanted to be his crush's "Prince Charming". I thought it would be to save her, but it would have been really similar to Rumpel. And this route felt less complicated in terms of death. It was the "death-free" route. Whenever I saw death, I would want to go back to this route because it felt like it would heal my pain! But... I wouldn't be able to interact with those in the Marchen as much ;-; The paaaiiin.
I really love Rod's hair and eyes, though! Like, they're very mystifying. Just like with Lucette, his eyes pop out when he blushes ><
I always wondered why his name was "Karma" and why he dressed up as a woman. Was it because his curse was placed on him because he did something bad? Like, "what comes around goes around" type of karma? To think it was an acronym for his real name, though. It was a genius idea! ... but also flabbergasting since his name is extremely long. For a person's full name to consist of at least three would be understandable (considering Lucette), but FIVE!? Plus, Llama too. It makes me wonder if it's some... "tradition". Anyways, I loved the interaction Karma first had with Rumpel. At least the player knows he isn't cross-dressing for fun... and to attract both genders. I honestly liked the idea of Beauty and the Beast in his route. Like, his appearance attracts all girls (except for the exceptions) so he thinks of such an ingenious idea to cross-dress in order to negate the effects! ... I slightly understand it, but also not. Haha. Like, I guess the females of the time were straight. However, the charm does not escape, so the curse hadn't been completely negated. I just thought that... during the night he was male and during the day he was female. I was so wrong. So... so wrong. Anyways, the way the curse developed seemed nostalgic. It seemed like I had already seen a similar development occur before: someone falls in love with this person but the person turns into a monster which eventually scares the someone away. I guess Karma having an anecdote about the experience was nice, but maybe it would have been more effective if he had met that girl again. His fears as well... are understandable. To fall in love... and be afraid to be hurt so they push the love away.
I'm also happy for Garlan and Jurien. I already had a feeling about the nature of their relationship, but it was cute to see this development! It also very well suits the route. The concept... the idea... it plays well with what the route wanted to establish.
Although, I did somewhat feel conflicted whenever Karma had his tantrums. Either I never caught on to it or not, I felt like the reason behind it lacked. Was it due to lack of sleep? Stress? I feel like it was both. Maybe because I played his route until around 4 or 5 in the morning that I had forgotten such details. I also did feel biased due to his egotistical personality, but that did help him cope with his curse, so I let it slide.
Another bias may be due to the fact that I'd have to redo his route in order to get his CGs since I believe I caused an error in the game that didn't allow it to save. However, due to this, I became very wary whenever I achieved a CG XD Whenever I got one, I'd save and check if it was saved. So, all good.
Edit: I replayed his route (good end) and I can slightly grasp that part of the reason he was angry from time-to-time was possibly due to the curse as well. So... the Beast somehow had its own personality... like the cold-hearted concept from the original tale.
Since I hadn't read the game descriptions of the characters, I could have sworn he had something to do with Rapunzel XD Anyways, Lucette in his route was a complete tsundere. To think that type attracted him makes me feel like he's a masochist. A... masochist... A doctor who's a masochist... That just seems very ironic to me haha. But it was very sweet for Lucette to buy that sick patient's medicine so that Rumpel wouldn't worry. Somehow, this trope reminds me of certain typical anime relationships, so it didn't exactly feel fresh ^^" However, it was definitely a shocker to find out he was a doctor! And a very selfless one at that! Plus, the way he got the curse really reflected the original story and it was interesting. For the twist to be that his identity would be forgotten instead of only him knowing who he is... It's interesting.
I love his personality and his devotion to want to change and his career. Honestly, after reading his selflessness with his career, it only motivated me. I want to be a doctor just like him that I feel like I'll use him as an inspiration for it! Just, no deals with witches to save someone. Honestly, out of all the bachelors, I feel like he's the one bachelor who really doesn't need the MC to help him. He doesn't really have much problems with love... nor does he have major problems other than his extreme selflessness that it turned into selfishness. All he needs is a companion who would understand that innate part of him. Otherwise, he doesn't really need a companion. He seems to fare easily well by himself. He's pretty independent. Although... considering the Good Ending involved him killing someone, that would really require him to need support. Then again, if he didn't involve himself with Lucette, it wouldn't have happened. ... He's still such an exemplary human-being nonetheless. I would say that his character was the most disconnected from Lucette, but it was nice for her to encounter a complete stranger. Like, there's barely any similarities between them and they had never talked prior to the events, so it was nice not to have some familiarity with this character.
I very much liked how his hair was designed. Every time I see his sprite, I'd just sit and... stare.
Hoo, boi. This boi. That boi. Oh boi.
I never felt any suspicion from him at all. No, not until I saw Varg in Rod's route. However, even then I could feel Fritz's sincerity like he was completely disconnected from Varg. Him declining that he was cursed... it was sincere. Honestly, I should have known from the main screen that his curse revolved around Little Red Riding Hood, but I just couldn't see the connection. Where did it play in his curse? I mean, the double persona in one body kind of thing... I was quite familiar with the like already, but I never saw the connection until further into the route. I second-guessed and thought... maybe his curse was "Robin Hood" but instead of being virtuous at night, he was the villain at night. In all honesty, the connection was VERY original. The Hunter wants to protect Riding Hood while the Wolf is out to kill her (whether he likes it or not). And it was really obvious that Emelaigne had quite the crush on Fritz XD Just... I feel like there's someone better for Emelaigne with her gentle nature ^^"
I just felt like the development of Lucette's feelings in this route was never really clear. I mean, it's understandable that since she had only been surrounded by betrayals, she found solace in Fritz's sincerity towards her. He never complained or hated her. He expressed genuine care for her well-being and expressed a loyalty that is very rare nowadays. I just... wasn't able to really grasp what part of his life made it seem like he could sympathize with Lucette. Was it because he was technically a "good-for-nothing" and so people didn't like him - especially his father - since he was deemed "weak"? As such, he saw himself in Lucette? I mean, his undying loyalty is sweet. It had been expressed in other routes too. I just felt like their relationship was never really established properly. Was it because he unknowingly connected with her because he had a darkness in him that she also had?
Then there's Varg. I felt like his route was more invested in the plot than Lucette's relationship with Fritz. Like, Varg had been by her side more than Fritz in my opinion. Varg seemed to be more like the one who we were learning more about that I was rather drawn to know more about him than Fritz... Varg showed vulnerability that compelled me. Since Lucette is a straightforward girl who stays her ground, I felt that she could easily smash his mask (haha, such a nice way to play on this idea). I guess I did feel somewhat disappointed that Varg's feelings for her were only present because of Fritz. It was sweet of Varg to comply with what Lucette's heart desired. Lucette only really did see Fritz...
I did love Fritz's route nonetheless! Despite all what I had stated, it was the one route that brought me to the verge of tears! So many deaths... It was so heartbreaking! Which reminds me of Delora. This was the only route that emphasized Delora's character within the whole game. Delora never showed such vulnerability or care to Lucette but here. To think that she saw Lucette as a daughter because Hildyr, that evil witch, killed her own daughter because she had not complied to the Tenebrarum Bearer's wishes. Honestly never thought Delora was a mother that I somewhat shipped her with Lucette or Parfait hahahaha! Feels awkward. But I do support her being Lucette's older sister! But... then she died... and the hot chocolate became a symbol to Lucette. Just recalling it is really heart-wrenching...
Although I feel like I'll need to replay the route in order to grasp Lucette and Fritz's relationship, I loved the development of the plot and the added significance of characters such as Delora. It was painful to see Lucette believe everyone in the Tavern were traitors but it is only to be expected with her character. It is also understandable since this route was made just for the player to see what would happen if Lucette never did break her curse through three good deeds. But I never thought it had to bring such heartbreak...
Edit: I replayed three routes and I've come to realize just how much Fritz mattered to Lucette prior to the curse. For some reason, I feel like she already developed feelings for him but rather unknowingly... or she learned to cherish him as a friend. I mean, she had continuously taken notice of Fritz's presence... or rather, lack of presence. If I didn't know Waltz was the true route, I'd follow the possible trajectory that after she was brainwashed, there was some emptiness in her heart that couldn't be filled no matter how many dolls she received. She already forgot Waltz's existence. Alas, Fritz came around and presented her with a warmth nobody dared expressing towards her, and unbeknownst to her, Fritz had melted part of her ice cold heart. What she and Waltz had cannot be revived but she could start again with a newfound friendship with him. Fritz became her present. Something like that was what appeared in my mind. I still feel like that Varg could have had some potential to be a bachelor though, but since his sole purpose no longer exists... he must cease to exist since he's technically a discrepancy in that universe... you could say. Plus, on your part it would have been more than enough workload needed that it may have taken until next year to complete... Postponing future projects.
Alright, finally down to the true route!
After playing his route and finding out their past relationship, I felt complete heartbreak. What if Waltz loved her even after being separated and cursed? Then seeing her with another guy in each route must have broken his heart! He was the one who instigated keeping the painful truth from Lucette when she had been cursed... It really must have been painful... And for her to forget him... Oh, the pain...! (Cue 707 feels)
I did, however, feel like Waltz being Lucette's anecdote did feel a bit lackluster. Maybe him revealing their past happening just once or twice... I mean, I do love childhood romances and such, but I didn't want their relationship to only evolve from what their past had. I guess I just didn't want to see Waltz so desperately clinging onto a past they currently couldn't return to. The backstory was really adorable though. "Little Star"... to allude to the fact that Delora sang that song when Lucette was cursed seems quite amusing. And I guess Waltz and Lucette's circumstances had switched. Waltz "turned" five years younger than Lucette. Plus, instead of Lucette saving Waltz from darkness, Waltz is saving Lucette from darkness.
I have to admit that Waltz is indeed the best person for Lucette as he had enlightened her of her strengths. Lucette did the same for him too. They're like a balance of light and dark. I mean, my favourite CG even incorporates that theme (the one with the light orbs <3). Although he does tend to be overly overprotective of Lucette which would dampen her strengths, it is understandable with his character. He had already lost his whole family, but to lose the one person who made him feel like he had a family for a second time... that's painful. Especially after reuniting with her after... maybe five years?
His route felt the most fulfilling in terms of a satisfying happily ever after. All the curses had been broken, the towns people possibly no longer hate witches but they most definitely don't hate Lucette anymore, Lucette found a family within her step-family, and she became a gracious Queen! To add to that, she has someone who would be there for her and support her: Waltz. I loved the scene where the towns people were handing her lilies! It was so heartwarming and I wanted to embrace Lucette because she was such a darling. No, not just that, but she finally was able to reconcile with her father. I had a feeling the secret birthday parties were indeed hosted by Genaro, but I never did understand what "M" meant XD But then... he died... freaking Hildyr. However, I do understand her circumstances. All she felt was pain because the humans who she once loved began to hurt her and the witches just because of a simple fairy tale. At first I thought she killed Hans, but never did I think it was the former king. And that last dream! There really was some kindness in Hildyr... I wish there was at least one way to help her, but I guess she was just completely corrupted after her first murder that there's no other way to save her.
Also, I was wondering about Varg and how Fritz was able to overpower him. Is it possible that after Mythros died, Varg disappeared? Or was Lucette able to dispel that curse?
This route also incorporated the most development in Lucette. I was continuously routing for her to buy that teddy bear for the sweet girl! Oh, and I loved the inner turmoil expressed within her. The jealousy that had been delayed and the epiphanies she never had until after she was cursed.
Anyways, Waltz's route was a satisfying conclusion! ... I'd wish to say but I'm yearning for more XD
So... In my opinion I felt that my favourite routes fall to this: Waltz = Rod > Rumpel = Karma = Fritz
3. Do you have any questions? Critiques? Feedback?
All in all, once again, I'd say 10/10! I loved how the game mechanics were implemented!
When I found out that after accomplishing a route - or I think the good ending (since I haven't done the bad ending yet) - the main screen changes with the addition of that character with their respective gem. I was AMAZED when I found out about that. The fact that you added instructions or "facts" about the game so that the player won't be lost was wise. I mean, it did give "Cinderella Phenomenon" the game vibe, but it was nice guidance. I never knew of certain keyboard shortcuts before. Then there goes the "Right Choice Indicator". I'm glad that it's there in order to guide the player with their choices. I mean, for those players who'd prefer to complete the Good End first (like me), it's an ideal installment as it doesn't just leave us wondering if we chose the right answer or not. Then again, some like surprises XD
Maybe it's just my computer, but the "Log" screen never worked for me so I had to rely on "Pg Up". I believe that's the only problem with that.
Also, I'm wishing you all the luck with the fan-disk! Sometime in the future, I'd love to find a way to at least buy it in order to support your future games, but as of my current circumstances, I am unable to. So, instead, I wish that your fan-disk will become a great success!
huuuuu I still really want to know what happens after "happily ever after"
I do want to ask something, but it might seem very odd.
When Genaro mentions that he was put under a spell one "night" by Hildyr, was that night the supposed night that Lucette was conceived?
Anyways, I will forever look forward to your next games! I love you guys! I'm very grateful that you've made this game free too! Such quality... It's such a blessing that it's free.
Haha... sorry. This just turned out to be one huge essay ^^"