[identity profile] got-quiet.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] playingstory

Name: Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem
Status: Demo
Site: http://sevenkingdomsgame.com/
Rating: PG -13?
Pairing: M/F, F/F

Description: You're a princess sent off to summit along with exceptional young people from around the region. Once there you're expected to mingle, forge political bonds, and possibly fall in love. An extremely ambitious stat management and ren'ai game from a mother daughter team.

Art: Anime, and maybe just this side of amateur. The UI is probably the worst thing about the game. Lots of clashing patterns and colors.

Writing: Considering how complex the pathing likely is I've very impressed with how smoothly everything reads. The narrative has a bit of a tongue-in-cheek voice sometimes but it's nice to have that in a narrator rather than something lifeless and dull. It's obvious that this is where the attention has gone.

Plot wise, it's difficult to tell how things will go not just because this is a demo, but because there are soo many branching paths there didn't seem to be much of a cohesion of plot. There's the summit, a plot surrounding it, a romance plotline, and what appears to be a personal crisis that depends on the background you end up with in your game. A ton of things get thrown at you all at once, and the narrative is well aware of this, mentioning how overwhelming some parts of the situation are. For me it was almost too overwhelming. It was hard for me to figure out what it was that the game wanted me to focus on, what was important, when I was locking myself out of one path or opening up another, and so on. A lot will depend on whether or not the story can tie itself up properly, or if all these strands get knotted together into something ugly.

Choice: Before I had even met anyone besides my maids and butler I had already been prompted for 35 choices, mostly for the purposes of character creation. I didn't think I would ever really say this, but there are almost too many choices in this game. Then again, I don't think that it's the choices that were an issue for me per se, more the way the choices dictated the narrative caused me issues. More on that below.

Suffice it to say, if you want a TON of choices in your games this has that.

Gameplay: The game is essentially a massive clusterfuck of stat management. There a number of public stats to be managed, and likely a large number of invisible stats dealing with relationships and if/else checks. This is done by your general choices, as well as a small map based segment where you pick what room to visit during certain times of day.

There also appear to be clearly wrong answers, even though the right ones aren't always as obvious. This causes a gameplay dilemma, because it's easy to backtrack and choose something else, so if you're looking for a positive outcome all you need to do is try one choice, realize it was wrong, go back, and choose again.

The developer has also made the decision not to telegraph moments in which stats are raised or lowered. You can only tell something has changed by checking your character sheet. This made it hard for me to tell what the effects of my choices really were, which is maybe more realistic, but not in my opinion the most satisfying gameplay wise.

To top this off there are stat checks that can result in end game. A story mode is included that will get you through the whole thing, but the mere presence of an easy mode suggests that this is not a simple visual novel.

Overall: It's hard to say from a demo how this one will turn out. There's enough complexity here that a lot will depend on how meaningful that complexity is in the long run. Will some stats turn out to be trash? Will options be too narrow? Will the pathing remain logical? There are already a few things I'm a little wary about, for example it seems that you close yourself out to who you can romance relatively early in the game. This means making the right choices very consistently, which means tracking stats, saving often, and testing. Anything that requires the use of spreadsheets to manage a plot is a bit much for me but I think this game will appeal to people who like that sort of thing. And even if as a game it turns out to be kind of a mess, the characters might be worth engaging with anyway.

I needed the in game cheat sheet to keep track of characters all through the game.


Reviewing games with an emphasis on story or chara

July 2016


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