Monday, April 02, 2018

"The Charming Empire" Switch Review

Billed as a dating sim for women, "The Charming Empire" is an eclectic, full-voice, text-heavy adventure game that plays like a walking sim without the walking aspect. The entire experience is based on dialogue, melded with painterly visuals that help bring the story into focus. You choose your responses, which can press on you heavily as you delve deeper into the text.

The D3 Publisher visual novel, which started off as a smartphone app before making its way to Steam and now Switch, flowers to fuller life on Ninteno's console/handheld hybrid. The big, bright, gorgeous screen allows the visuals to blossom, helping to draw you in to the saga.

Playing as a princess stuck under the thumb of her ambitious prince of a brother, you're forced into the dating pool, wedged into a charm school with the aim to fall into an arranged marriage that coud benefit your personal yearnings, your brother's fiefdom or the kingdom as a whole -- as well as possibly bring ruin to one or all three. The outcome depends on a combination of your choices and the fickle leanings of fate.

"The Charming Empire" is a decidedly niche entry, but tapping through it feels like experiencing the future of the console. Quiet, thoughtful experiences like this tend to draw in non-gamers, making the Switch relevant as an entertainment device beyond the typical scope of gaming.
Publisher provided review code.

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