The resident romance reviewer is back, and I have played nothing but this game for a week. Cinderella Phenomenon is a free to play, classic Otome style game developed by Dicesuki. The player plays as Lucette Riella Britton, the Crown Princess of Angielle. She is cursed with the Fairy Tale Curse and thus begins her journey to break said curse.
Her curse is Cinderella, but reversed. She goes from riches to rags, and she must complete three good deeds to get her life back. There are five suitors to choose from, all with good and bad endings. But, two suitors are locked until the player completes at least two unlocked routes. I will review both the game as a whole and each route, but this time it is not a ranking, just my somewhat objective opinions. There will be some spoilers, read at your own risk.
The game as a whole is wonderfully well done, especially for a free to play game. The game felt very complete, and I did not notice any typos. I quickly became obsessed with the opening for the game, fittingly titled Broken Cinderella. But the opening was not the only enjoyable music in the game. The soundtrack as a whole suits the feel of the game, and makes it much more immersive. The art is lovely, the computer graphics (CG) are stunning and really add to the storytelling.
All the suitors have very different personalities and routes, meaning there is probably at least one that the player will love (for me it was Karma). The fact that all five had their own curses that were tailored to their personalities and stories was a very interesting concept, and Dicesuki executed it very well.
Let me just say though, Lucette is almost intolerable at the very beginning, but that is kind of the point. I didn’t mind it because it was a nice change from the standard in Otomes where the maiden is helpless, and passive, and needs saving. Lucette is stubborn and strong willed, and she retains that throughout the game, even as her icy heart thaws.
Now, moving on to the suitors. I played through both good and bad endings for all the suitors. They will be reviewed in the order that I played their routes.
I’m going to be honest, 90% of me playing his route was me just fangirling about how much I love him, it’s the long hair, it gets me every time. Karma is a very conceited and secretive man. If the player chooses to be his partner they don’t find out about the true depth of his curse until his final chapter, only knowing it as the Beauty’s Curse. His lesson for Lucette is that you can’t just be beautiful on the outside, you must have inner beauty to be a good person, a fitting lesson considering his fairy tale.
The way that the relationship builds between him and Lucette feels natural and was a joy to playthrough. Lucette in this route is probably my favourite, she refuses to be idle and learns to wield a sword. His good ending just feels so genuine and sweet. And his bad ending, hit me like a truck. It’s not my first time playing an Otome, but it is the first one I’ve played with a truly bad ending, as opposed to a good and a great ending. If you’re in the mood for tears, I suggest any bad ending from this game.
My first impression of Rumpel was “I hate him”. He’s an overly flirtatious amnesiac, but as you play through his route you learn there’s so much more to him. He ends up being an incredibly honest, earnest and kind person. Rumpel’s route felt the most domestic, it plays out very sweetly. His curse is, of course, Rumpelstiltskin. However it’s been reversed, no one, not even him, knows his name, and he has to regain memories and his name in order to break it.
His route is special because Rumpel is learning about himself along with Lucette, so the player doesn’t really have a clear concept of what he is truly like until his curse breaks. He shows Lucette the value of trust and selflessness. And in turn, Lucette shows him that being a little bit selfish is okay, and that you need a balance in life. I enjoyed his route far more than I expected, that goes for his character as well. His good ending is somewhat sad, but it is by no means the most tragic good ending to play. And his bad ending, naturally, is upsetting, but as a whole it is probably the least so.
Where do I start with this one? Rod is Lucette’s step brother, which I must admit gave me pause at first. After all, that is not great. The problem is, their relationship is a lot more complex than that, something the player learns as they go through his route. Rod’s curse is The Little Mermaid so he speaks through Sebby, a stuffed toy, most of the game. As a character I love Rod. I think he is adorable and his cold demeanour is often betrayed by Sebby speaking Rod’s true thoughts.
His route is notable because it is the story that is closest to the original tale. Rod was an amazing singer (by the way, if you imagine he is the one singing the opening it makes it more impactful), and dancer, just like the Little Mermaid was. Realistically the only difference between Rod and the original Little Mermaid is what they trade their voices for. Both his good and bad ending left me in tears, but for very different reasons. His good ending left me so conflicted, they are step siblings, and yet they are so perfect together and their relationship is so complex. His bad ending, well, let’s just say if you’ve ever read the original Little Mermaid then you know how the story goes.
Waltz’s route is the one I had the biggest problem with. The pacing felt off in this one. Lucette is supposed to be icy and become more open and kind as she goes. In this route she seemed to overcome her icy demeanour very quickly, it is the only route where she breaks her curse before the final chapter. I do, however, understand that Waltz needs to break his curse early in the story due to the nature of it. He has the Neverland Curse and is stuck in a child’s body, despite being 22. And the thought of playing his route with him as a child was certainly off-putting, so I am grateful that no romance actually occurs until he has returned to his adult form.
With that being said, I think the story of his route is very neat. It is one of the locked routes, and the story plays out very differently than the three unlocked routes. I liked him as a character, I just wish his story was a bit longer so it would’ve felt less rushed. His good ending is sweet, and it satisfies lovers of the childhood friends trope. His bad ending arguably hurts the most. Although he doesn’t die in his bad ending, what happens might be worse than death.
I didn’t like Fritzgerald (Fritz), but I loved his alter ego. Well, they are the same person but I preferred the scenes with his alter ego. Fritz himself felt very plain to me. He felt like he was too good a person, if that makes sense. I suppose the fact that he and his dark side are one in the same does make him interesting, but really they don’t feel like the same person at all.
That being said, the pace of his story is much better than Waltz’s. Both routes cram a lot in, but Fritz’s does it better. Lucette’s character development didn’t feel rushed in this route. I expected it to be boring, after all I had played through essentially the same plot four times already, just with different guys. But all five routes ended up being different enough that they were all interesting in their own right. Fritz’s is the most different. I enjoyed his story, regardless of my dislike for him as a character. His good ending is tragic… and his bad ending is tragic. I must give him credit though, as boring as I think he is, his good ending is probably the most interesting out of the lot.
While I was writing this a second game called Cinderella Phenomenon Evermore released. It is a fandisk, which essentially means it’s just a long epilogue. It’s not long enough to warrant its own review, but I enjoyed it equally as much as the first game. Currently it does have some small bugs, but they are not game ruining. This one is not free, but the first game was so good I didn’t mind paying for this one.
The concept is “after the happily ever after.” There is only a good and great ending, so no tragedies in this one. The choices made in the game change the scenes the player sees quite a bit, unlike the first game where it primarily impacted the ending, which is nice. Once again the game has a killer opening and soundtrack. The characters received slight design changes seeing as the game takes place two years later. Somehow it makes them all even more handsome and gorgeous. As a whole Evermore provides a nice resolution to the good endings in the first game.
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