The Confines of the Crown

Score: 8.0
Ages: 12+

A young and resourceful servant of a prince gets tangled in kidnapping, conspiracy, family secrets and romance in this otome visual novel. The story includes interesting themes of gender and human impairments while providing several romantic interests and intriguing enough mystery for the player to solve.

Otome games are aimed for girls and women, usually containing a relatable heroine and a romantic plot. The Confines of the Crown offers plenty of romance, but has enough of a plot to make the game worthwhile even for the less love-lorn players.

The game is set on a non-magical fairytale kingdom, where the noble titles pass on through female offspring. Three princes have traveled to a distant town to pursue a gentle princess. The protagonist is Madeleine, a valette (a female valet) of one of these princes. The courtship hardly begins when things go awry, and Madeleine has to use her wide range of skills to ensure the safety and honour of her prince.

The happy endings include a few unconventional partnerships which might not please everyone, but definitely make the game more interesting than regular otome dating sims. Madeleine is also rather likable heroine with a volume of skills and wits.

The gameplay has a traditional visual novel style with many minor and a few major branches in the storyline, as well as a bunch of good and bad endings. The visuals are mostly very nice: CGs looks pretty, and while some of the sprites have strange poses and unpolished parts, their facial expressions add to the ambiance.

There is no voice acting and the music can be a bit distracting(ly hilarious) here and there, but the story is immersive and well written. The characters are mostly colourful and likeable, often representing an archetype but not being too one-dimensional. Some them should pleasantly surprise the player.

The game is somewhat short: the first playthrough took me around 3 hours, and to reach all of the endings (while skipping seen content) around 10 hours in total. While some of the routes would have clearly benefited from more length, the game in total didn’t feel too short.

I can recommend the game to all visual novel fans, and would also consider it to be a decent introduction to genre. And while I appreciate all the artistic work put into it, I think this is yet another visual novel that is priced just a little bit too high.

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