The Royal Trap (

When Prince Oscar and his companion, Madeleine go to Gwellinor in the hopes of making Oscar the groom of Princess Cassidy, a mysterious kidnapping takes place and Madeleine is the prime suspect.  Now she must clear her name and discover a terrible family secret.

In games like these, you would normally take on the role of Princess Cassidy and pursue each potential suitor.  Instead, you take on the role of Madeleine and choose which character’s route you wish to take between Oscar, Gaston, Nazagi and Callum.  Did I mention that Callum’s route also comes with a secret path? I have to say that playing as Madeleine is a nice change of pace from the usual heroine you play in these types of games.  Not only is she a strong character but the story isn’t all about her.  Madeleine is just a servant who unintentionally got involved in a huge mess.

The game play is your standard visual novel.  You make choices that determine which character route you want to go on.  Each one has a good, bad and normal ending depending on the choices you make.  Not only will playing the game unlock pictures for the CG gallery, it will also unlock songs for you to play on the jukebox.

This game is fun and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10; an original take on a common genre.

The Royal Trap Demo (

As Prince Oscar’s companion, Madeleine Valois’s job is to train him so that he can marry a princess.  Unfortunately, Princess Cassidy has been abducted and Oscar is the prime suspect.  Now Madeleine must clear his name and discover the truth.

I normally don’t review demos unless the full game won’t be out for a while but I made an exception due to a promotion Hanako Games was running.  As for the plot, other than Prince Oscar, Princess Cassidy has two suitors.  One is the dark and mysterious Prince Nazagi and the other is the over the top Prince Gaston (no relation to the character from Beauty and the Beast).  One of them may be responsible for Princess Cassidy’s disappearance or they might not be.  In addition to these characters, there is also Prince Callum who seems fascinated by Madeleine.  The story was so intriguing that when the demo was over I had to remind myself not to purchase the game right away (waiting for payday).

This game is in typical visual novel form.  You play the role of Madeleine and pick a set of choices after reading the dialogue.  Some choices will help you form relationships with various characters.  If you’re playing the game again, you can choose to skip unread text.

This game is intriguing and beautiful.  If you would like to purchase the game click here.

Long Live the Queen (

Princess Elodie’s mother has just died but she doesn’t have time to grieve.  14-year-old Elodie has to train to become the next ruler of Nova.

Will she become the queen her people are looking for, or become corrupted by power?  Will she even survive to reach her coronation?

Elodie has a difficult road ahead of her and it shows.  She has all the luxuries of royalty but it also comes with responsibilities.  Every action she takes determines the fate of Nova.  Every decision she makes shows if she is capable of the task given to her.  Various subplots can show her relationship with the other characters.  Her relationship with her father is very special because he’s trying to point his daughter in the right direction, yet he still sees her as his little girl.  There’s also a fantasy element to the game where Elodie discovers that she has a hidden power inside her and can train it if she gets the crystal.

This isn’t your typical princess game.  You’re not just wearing pretty dresses, having parties and falling in love.  You actually have responsibilities as a ruler.  You can train in a variety of subjects ranging from the athletic to the intellectual.

If you raise your stats enough in a specific skill, you unlock a new outfit and only one of them is a beautiful dress.

You can attend parties in the game but if you haven’t trained yourself in social skills, well let’s just say that the other nobles won’t think well of your abilities as ruler.  You can even marry but it will be more for political gain than for love.  During the game, various scenarios will test whether you’ve trained Elodie enough in certain skills.

You can also take a break in your studies to do an activity of your choice.  What you pick affects your mood.  The choices you make affect what type of ruler Elodie will become.  If you don’t make the right choices or fail to train Elodie enough in certain skills, she might not survive to her coronation.

The game is challenging yet addictive.  I give it 8 out of 10, an original take on a game about royalty.

Cute Knight Kingdom

When you were a child, a strange creature told your adoptive parents that one day you would find your wings. Travel the kingdom and discover your destiny.

Like the last game, the story depends entirely on how you play it. Except this one has more suitors to choose from, and one of them is a girl. Another difference is that the last main character had no one to go to while this one has parents that are always there for her. There is just one thing that makes this game inferior to the last one. Cute Knight had two funny endings, one of which was laugh out loud while this one doesn’t. There is one ending that tries to be funny, but it just falls short.

Again, you have a choice of many different endings, and every single one that you collect ends up in the gallery. There are many different event endings, and if you turn 21 before reaching the end of said event, the game ends. Instead of clicking on random places, you are actually taking control of your character by moving her around the 2D graphic kingdom. You have many choices of classes and jobs, but you have to actually expend energy and concentration in order to do well in either one. What stats you have determine what ending you get when you turn 21.

Not very different from the last game, except for a different style and having to actually contribute to your jobs and classes. I give this game 7 out of 10, not worse than its predecessor and not better than it.

Cute Knight

When a young girl leaves the orphanage, her fairy godmother tells her to go to the next town and find her destiny.  She just isn’t sure what her destiny is.

You’re probably wondering if there’s actually a story going on in this game, and it really depends on how you play it.  There are fifty endings in the game, and some of them rely on what events you set in motion.  There is only one ending that fully explains the main character’s origin, but there are still questions that remain unanswered until you achieve two other ones.  If you turn 21 before reaching an event ending, the game automatically ends and what happens to the main character depends entirely on how you played the game.

The game itself has many career options available.  You can work in the library, assist the doctor in the slums, work in a store and even go pillaging in the dungeon for treasure.  You can even attend classes in college to bring up your fighting skills, your magic skills and many more.  You also have a dream skill, which decreases when the main character fails at a job and increases when she succeeds.  The higher your dream, the better your ending.  You even have a stat known as sin that increases as you steal or kill and decreases as you do jobs at the church and volunteer for the doctor.  There is sin required for some of the more evil endings.  Each time you get an ending, you add a picture to the gallery section of the game.

Despite the game’s simple premise, it’s still challenging trying to get certain endings.  I can spend hours trying to collect every ending.  The better endings are harder to come by, like trying to get what you want out of life.  I give this game 7 out of 10, fun with many possibilities.

Fatal Hearts

Christina Robinson seems like an ordinary teenage girl, except for one thing.  She has recurring dreams about a couple from the past.  Meanwhile, wolves are howling in the night and young women are found violently murdered on the streets.  You take control of Christina and find the answers.  One wrong move, and she becomes just another victim.

No this is not Twilight the visual novel, it’s way more interesting.  While there is a vampire love interest, you don’t have to get with him.  You can get with a wolf or a vampire, and the human characters are pretty cool too.  You also can become a vampire or a werewolf, and you can choose who to side with.  You don’t even have to side with any of them and if you play your cards right, you can bring peace between them.  As for Christina, you can choose whether to have her be a worthless pawn, or take control of her own destiny, it’s all up to you whether she’s strong or weak.

There are also plenty of mini-games to keep you from getting bored.  Some of them are just classic puzzles such as the flour cup game.  You can even get lost in a maze, and there’s even a video game with two dragons.  Many of the mini-games show the characters, but they turn them into game pieces to make it look more like a board game.  If the mini-games are too difficult for you, you can just go to Hanako Forums and download the strategy guide.  Only problem is you’d have to become a member to access it.  Even if the strategy guide doesn’t help, you can just use a cheat code provided in the guide to skip it.  If you’ve already beaten the mini-games, you can just skip them without the need for a cheat code.

The story is very intriguing and the mini-games are really fun.  I give this game 8 out of 10, a great way to pass the time and a good story to play through.

Date Warp

When Janet agrees to go on a blind date with a boy named Bradley, their car breaks down in the middle of the rain.  They seek shelter in a mysterious mansion with four strange people inside.  These people are hiding something and it’s up to Janet and Bradley to find out what.

I know, that sounded a lot like the Rocky Horror Picture show, but the game is way more serious, then again it’d be hard not to be.  Not only is the game a dating sim, it’s also an intriguing visual novel.  You play as Janet and get a choice between five love interests.  Bradley, the honorable jock; Linds, the lecherous scientist; Alben, the mysterious hothead (my personal favorite); Nathaniel, the wealthy gentleman; and Raphael, the sweet but shy assistant.  Each character comes with two endings (a good one and a bad one) with the exception of one who I will not mention.  Try to get every single one, because each storyline reveals the plot little by little.  Throughout the game, there is one recurring theme; would you sacrifice the life of someone else to get a loved one back?  There’s also another theme that contradicts itself in the story.  When it’s revealed that one of the characters had a girlfriend who had a promiscuous lifestyle before meeting him, that character just said that it didn’t matter because he loved her.  However, Janet has the option to sleep with one of the characters, and when you do; you get that character’s bad ending.  That’s like-, well, I think sfdebris’ micro-review of Enterprise’s Stigma sums that up perfectly.  Oh, and don’t tell me that it’s wrong because Janet’s dating Bradley, going on one blind date with someone does not automatically make them your significant other.

During the game, you are making choices, but you are doing so in a unique way.  What you do is play futuristic game of pipes to connect a light bulb to that choice you make.  If you are replaying the game and making that exact same choice, you can skip the mini-game.  You also have the option of fast-forwarding through previously read text, something you’ll be very grateful for.  There is also gallery you get to add pictures to and a list of endings you’ve achieved.  One ending can only be unlocked when you’ve reached all the other endings, and at best, the other endings are bittersweet.

This game was my first introduction to visual novels.  It’s a mystery, sci-fi, fantasy and romance rolled into one, and it has a recurring theme of love and sacrifice.  I give this game 9 out of 10.  I took a point off for the contradicting theme, and it didn’t have a huge emotional affect on me.

Magical Diary: Horse Hall

When you were thirteen, you had a choice to attend a school to learn magic, or forget about magic and continue living your life as an ordinary teenage girl.  You chose the former and now you make friends, find romances and your teachers throw you into a dungeon for your exams.  Be careful, or you could end up on the wrong path.

If this sounds like a Harry Potter fanfic to you, let me tell you that it practically is one.  They based the game off fanfiction in general, and they admit it.  You can create your character to look however you want her to look, and her default name is Mary Sue.  Not to mention that everyone’s life seems to be hell until she comes along.  It has everything a fanfic has, the student/teacher romance, the girl that redeems the bad boy and brings the shy quiet girl out of her shell and even fixes the lives of her best friends.  The best part is that the game doesn’t take itself seriously.  The makers know that it’s nothing more than an escape fantasy and drags you along for the ride.

As for the romance able characters, each one has their own charm.  Professor Grabiner is the strict and sadistic professor with a secret heart of gold (like the Professor Snape we see in fanfics).  Damien is the troubled but cute half-demon that everyone tells you to stay away from (he’s also my personal favorite, because I liked screwed up stuff).  Donald is the lovable prankster just trying to find an identity for himself.  Virginia is your tomboyish roommate with a love for sweets.  Ellen is the shy bookworm you help bring out of her shell.  There’s also a secret character, but I’m not going to tell you who that is.  If you want, you don’t even have to romance any of them.

The game plays out like a visual novel mixed with life simulation.  Every Sunday, you can choose your schedule.  You can learn five types of magic, workout at the gym, study, or just sleep in.  Every Saturday, you get to either visit the mall or stay in and study.  You even have two extra attributes, cute and weird.  You can choose how to respond to various conversations and sometimes your responses drive up either your cute points or your weird points, based on how you respond.  You can even collect pictures to put in your gallery and win various trophies based on certain actions you take.  Try to collect them all.  Wow, I sound like an ad for a Pokémon game.

There are some scenes that make the magical world seem like 1984, but the game is still a fun play through.  I give this game 7 out of 10.