Visual novels can get a bad rap at times; on the one hand, there’s not much ‘game’ to them, but at the same time that’s kind of the point. Just enjoy a story with some nice artwork and way we go. A Little Lily Princess aims to have its hand in both pies at once, offering up the usual trappings of the genre with some RNG heavy choices to split the tale off into various directions. The end result is much more of game than we’re used to, though one that perhaps doesn’t quite make the most of what it has to offer.
Our tale is that of Sara Crewe, child to a solider based in India. Her father is rather well off, and has sent her back to their home of England to study at a prestigious school run by the stern Miss Minchin. This is Sara’s first trip to England though, so not only must she adapt to a whole new way of life but also try and fit in among the other students, many of whom have already established relationships.
The tale goes through the motions of having those that are mean, or kind, or shy towards Sara with her being the ever strong and friendly difference maker, helping others come around to her ways and improve their attitudes/confidence etc. It’s a fairly trope-laden set up, but one that is fairly engaging. It does seem that the writer (or translator) has invested heavily in ye ol’ English lessons though; a lot of out-dated language and terms are featured, some of which could be seen as mildly insensitive without proper context (and sometimes even with). I’ve read a handful of these types of stories before and it’s usually got a bit of ‘proper’ English in it, but it does seem at odds here with the supposed age of the girls and setting for how thick it’s laid on.
That’s not to say the story is affected much mind. Even through the language there’s quite a sweet tale being told of friendship, difficulties, and hardship, and how all can interweave with each other in unexpected ways. Scenes are fairly short, with only two or three making up each week’s progress, but still manage to develop characters well enough to make me know who I did or didn’t want to interact with in the future.
We can affect who we spend more time with via a social screen at the end of each week. Here, we must pick a chore or task to do Mon-Fri, each of which will give us a certain chance at increasing our stats. These go from Knowledge through Patience, Grace, Belief and more. Once we’ve picked the five activities, the RNG game kicks in to determine how successful at each we were, with our final tally totalled up at the end. These stats are then used to choose who to talk to before the next week begins. One character might require 6 Artistry for example, and if we have enough then those 6 points (out of a maximum of 10) are deducted from our total and must be rebuilt over the next weeks. If we don’t have enough points then we may miss out on the chance to take that path, further affecting our route through the story.
It adds a little something more to the story, and certainly encourages and rewards replays, but the random nature of the outcomes might make it tough to get any endings previously missed reliably. We can make use of the skip function to speed through previously seen scenes or even rewind to try our luck at the RNG again but this just adds an extra layer of friction for those looking to 1000G the game.
It’s also a longer game than I expected, clocking in around 5 hours for one play through. Some of the mid-section could have been trimmed down perhaps but by the time I got to the final act of the story I found myself getting back into the story so much so that my ending was genuinely quite touching – though again very much sticking to the genres tropes. I saw the twist coming a mile off, but it was still quite heart-warming when it happened.
A Little Lily Princess is a visual novel that at least attempts to buck expectations by offering some semblance of gameplay to give us agency through the story. It’s very stuck in the genres tropes, and the language might be a bit too over the top ol’ English, but the tale overall is entertainingly written, with the added bonus of featuring several endings to encourage repeat plays.Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.