Disclosure: Our review copy of this game was given to us by JAST USA.
Training little witches has never been so hard, in this game which could more accurately be described as a JRPG rather than visual novel it currently represents. Girlish Grimoire Littlewitch Romanesque isn’t an easy game and the resemblance to “Dark Souls” comes to mind when attempting to discuss the mechanics this game utilized.
In Littlewitch Romanesque, players are put in the place of an Arch-mage called “Domini”, who recently discovered a certain “Dark Tower” in the alternate world of Stellamund. This world is defined by a medieval hierarchy, where the strength of swords can’t compare to the power of magic that is practiced freely throughout the kingdom. Certain institutions have been established to research and study this power, but the sheer corruption of these institutions caused strife among their leadership. This Dark Tower inspired Arch-mage Domino to leave the corrupt leadership in order to study the secrets it holds. His institution named “Grimoire “ agrees to his leave of absence, but gives him an ultimatum to complete in exchange for studying the Dark Tower. They demand that he trains the two most inexperienced girls in the academy, in a span of three years when such training usually takes decades. Disagreeing isn’t an option, as they hold the keys needed to unlock the tower, and failure would mean his disgrace among the magic community—combined with restricted future access to the tower.
With that, the training commences. They enter the tower and begin their studies along with attempting to unlock the towers secrets. Although they don’t undertake this task alone, and are joined over time by various beautiful woman from all walks of life with their unique personalities to assist them. They provide the player with certain quests to perform in order to advance the story, and some specific quests to garner affection with each girl. This build up of affection directly influences the end of the story, depending on the focus one gives a girl the most. These different endings contain the majority of the erotic scenes one will come across in this game, along with a small array of scenes that occur before it. The style of these scenes and the general art in the game follow a unique comic book style that is pleasing to look at it, although a lot of art is reused throughout the game—making it a tad too repetitive at times.
All quests influence the different scenes that encompass the ending—either small or big, and the player has to make deliberate decisions when choosing to complete certain quests. This choice lays in the array of spells the apprentices learn that remain locked off until they have successfully gathered “Spirit” by playing the lesson mini-game.
The mini-game starts easy enough, giving three die to each of his apprentices, who throws them in order to perform certain actions based on how they land. Learned spells can be cast if the die face a certain way, and this helps in increasing the amount of spirit one obtains in a lesson. Luckily the dice’s outcome can be altered when clicking on a dice, but this comes with the cost of losing spirit in the process. This little game gets easier the more spells you learn, giving you the possibility to learn even more spells to help form combos, but even these newfound possibilities don’t make the game as a whole any easier—quite the opposite, in fact. This game provides a great challenge to the player and is very unforgiving in most cases. This challenge could be worthwhile to hardcore players, but the difficulty gap is a more frustrating-than-fun way of making the game a challenge. Its difficulty diverts attention from the decent story, and players hoping to see some quick erotic scenes will be sadly disappointed, which is a shame due to the quality art and writing that fleshes every character out well.
Although not all characters are equally important in the grand scheme of things, most appear only twice or three times in the game. This makes this game a good example of quantity over quality, as it fails in making the player feel emotionally invested in the story and lore the developers spent so hard to establish. This is even more apparent when discussing the games replay value, as attempting to complete all the endings is more a chore than a pleasure due to the repetitiveness of the story. Players are sure to become quite familiar with the “skip” button.
The voices of the characters are the only part worth mentioning when it comes to discussing the games audio. Each character has its own unique voice that felt fitting and appropriate to each character. Sadly, these voices are the only auditory experience that felt somewhat pleasing—making the rest of the audio feel insubstantial in comparison.
This visual novel will feel like a fresh breeze to players who want a challenge, and are tired of the usual tropes of current games. Unfortunately most players will find this to be an extremely unforgiving experience, containing far too few erotic scenes to justify the challenge required. Nonetheless, the scenes offer an appealing visual experience when you actually get to them, and along with a well-built story, Littlewitch makes for an interesting new take on the Visual Novel genre.