Release Date: April 5, 2017
You play as Lucette, crown princess of Angielle (great kingdom name!). She is not a well-loved princess though, as the villagers know her as the Ice Princess. She never smiles, hardly leaves her room, and is generally pessimistic. Who can blame her though, after her mother died four years ago during the Great War, and she’s never been close to her father, King Genaro.
Angielle is plagued by the Fairytale Curse which seems to be affecting more and more people lately, until it finally reaches Lucette. I’m sure you can guess which tale she’s cursed to live out. But it’s not the Cinderella we’re accustomed to. There’s no need for Lucette to infiltrate a royal ball and marry the prince. Her journey goes into the deeper themes of the story, so that she can learn a lesson about how she treats others.
Of course, being an otome game, there is a strong romance element with five eligible bachelors. Rod is Lucette’s step-brother who speaks through an enchanted stuffed rabbit. Fritz is her personal guard. Waltz is a boy she meets doing magic in the streets. Miss Karma is rumored to be a fairy. Finally, Rumpel who is also cursed and has no memories, including his name.
Cinderella Phenomenon does take on a bit of an adventure tone toward the end as Lucette and her friends plan to take back the kingdom from evil! Or die trying.
Cinderella Phenomenon is gorgeous! I loved every single background and there’s a ton of them. We don’t stay in one location for too long, although we do revisit the same places throughout the story. It keeps moving so the scenes never felt stale. I also loved the character designs. Everyone has their own look and are easy to keep track of and tell apart. Parfait was by far my favorite!
The only thing I don’t like about Cinderella Phenomenon is how the “unimportant” characters have no faces. It’s quite distracting and a bit ugly against the beautiful backgrounds. I can understand saving resources by making them featureless…I don’t know. I didn’t like it.
Another small annoyance was how the scene would shake when characters were startled or taken aback. It is a nice touch, but it was used quite liberally. Way too often to be effective.
Sound Effects + Music:
I love the background music in Cinderella Phenomenon. They’re mostly soothing piano and guitar tracks, and some are really great. I found myself leaving the game running the background when I wasn’t playing just to have the soundtrack going. Which is saying a lot, since I don’t generally like background noise.
The game does open with a catchy original theme song as well. That was fun and got me excited for what was to come!
There are other sound effects sprinkled through to add some depth. They’re pretty standard, nothing special to note.
Gameplay + Controls:
Cinderella Phenomenon is a visual novel with no extra gameplay mechanics. You make decisions as the game progresses to get one of ten different endings. There’s a good and bad end for each of the five potential love interests. Simply click the decision you want, press enter to progress text.
There is an option for “Right Choice Indicator” which tells you if you’ve chosen the correct option to get a good ending. I turned it off, because I wanted to just play and be surprised. In fact, my first time through the story ended with a Bad End. Oops. I also wasn’t necessarily going for a good ending. I just went with the option that felt right to me in the moment.
I’m not really familiar with how visual novels calculate their endings, and I’m sure it varies. But after some exploring in game and continuously getting Karma’s Bad End, I consulted a guide to see what was required for the Good End. Apparently, you have to make ALL of the right choices. I had gotten 11 of 21, which is pretty terrible. Don’t let anyone tell you that visual novels are “easy.”
Given that Cinderella Phenomenon has ten different endings, you’ll have many hours of play time to reach them all. Ten full playthroughs for a free game is impressive. My first full playthrough took about 4.5 hours, after which I immediately started popping into my saves to make different choices to find that Good End! It’s much harder than I anticipated to get a happy ending for Lucette!
So far I’ve gotten both endings for Karma. The bad end all on my own, and the good end using a guide. I think for the other routes I’ll turn the indicator on to help me out, because I do want to get the full stories!
I really enjoyed my time with Cinderella Phenomenon. It’s not the most original story, since fairy tale retellings and reimaginings are quite popular (at least in novels). But I found myself drawn to Lucette’s melting icy exterior, as well as the guys. I wanted to see her save her kingdom from the Fairytale Curse!
Leave a Reply