This gem of a visual novel was developed by Fervent and published by Afterthought Studios. It was released in March 2016 and has many positive reviews already. I think that this novel is such a little jewel in the free-to-play section of Steam and is really worth playing. You take the role of Rosa‘s mom, helping her on her path, consoling or scolding her through decisions that change the story’s outcome, which takes place in the 18th century of France. Rosa is a shy girl who was abused and lives in the street as a rose vendor when she meets Catherine and the Marquis. Strong bonds will start to grow between those three, but darker days await them. Each of them has a dark past that will soon catch up to them. This is the tragic tale of Rosa, Catherine and Guilleme that you will experience in this free-to-play visual novel, which is sort of like a playable story that you determine the outcome and choices for throughout – like an interactive movie.
The consequences of your choices in the game can be really heartbreaking. The story is very complete with 4 different possible endings and 67 achievements. If you take a look at the steam store page for the game you will also see that it has: fantasy and sexual violence, blood and gore, sexual themes, partial nudity, language and strong sexual content, giving the game a rating of Mature Audience. For those who wishes to enjoy the story without explicit content, don’t be sad, when you open the game you are offered the chance to play the censored version. The story will be the same, but you might not get all the illustrations and exact words. However, this game still might not be for you if you are not at ease with sexual content or do not enjoy Gothic events.
I expected this visual novel to last me no longer than an hour. However, this was not the case, which was very satisfying. Finishing the story for the first time can take a few hours and when you reach the end, you are invited to play again with a teasing achievement. You can also unlock an epilogue if you get the right ending or get all of them. However, this game is not for everyone. It has a very Gothic romantic story that touches many taboo subjects such as sexual harassment. They approached those in a way to make it bring a lot to the story. The scenario is well written, is very interesting and only makes you want to get to know more about the mysterious characters in it. There is nothing that is being spoiled too early on and it can only make you wonder about the true identities behind the protagonists. I also love that they added many French words and expressions. As someone who speaks the language, it helped me to feel the story even more, but it also brings an authentic addition to the background since the tale happens in France.
I didn’t feel that there was too much gore or nudity in the game, but if you are sensitive to those things, the censored version should let you enjoy the story without having graphic illustrations. There are not that many sexual scenes in the novel, so that it doesn’t take away from the main subject of it. They were also well written and should not shock a mature audience that is at ease with such things. The gore-filled scenes were not always explicit which is a good thing. In this story, almost everything (gore, violence, nudity) happens for a reason and isn’t there just to draw attention.
Names have power. Titles have power.
The art behind the words was rather simple, but pretty. The style was like a manga, similar to a lot of visual novels. However, some artwork seemed to have a traditional medium feel to them which really brings something unique to the player. The background art that you see through the dialogue was colorful and represented well the era in which the story took place. They were not too detailed, but it worked well not to not distract me from the characters.
I have to keep writing. It’s the only way to tell my mind is still my own.
The character’s designs were also very great – the color palettes for each of the characters were representative of their personalities and attitude. The costumes were really classic and well designed with an 18th century style in mind. An Artbook is also available via their website for anyone who wishes to see more of the behind the scene!
The music was also really amazing. It was a classical style with very light sounds. You can access to this great soundtrack in the game’s bonus section Music Box. Most of the pieces were played on a piano or a classic guitar and they really bring a lot to the ambiance. The developers said in an article that all of the songs were found either on Youtube, Soundcloud and via Google since they didn’t have a budget to hire artists. However, they really understood how to use simple classic music at their advantage, which is something that a lot of people have forgotten.
This game in itself is a very beautiful story with lovely art. It is one of the few visual novels that I would read and play again. It is worth trying if you love Gothic romances with some explicit content! There are also a lot of bonus features for any players who are interested in more stories, art and even jokes from the crew.
Fervent, the developers behind Cupid, are working on a new project. They did not announce anything yet about it, but we will make sure keep an eye on any updates!
All screenshots and illustrations are copyrights of Fervent, Cupid developers and Afterthought Studios.