Review by Jack Bankhead
Game provided by publisher
Visual Novels are of an interesting breed. While not a full on “game”, they have enough visuals, music, and choice involved that they are practically a game. A visual novel is characterized by reading passages with illustrations to go along with them, and maybe some choices and music thrown in. A visual novel is simple, but can be powerful. How does The Charming Empire fare? Pretty good, I must say.
This review will remain spoiler free, but it will shorten this review by a considerable amount.
The story starts with the main protagonist (who can be named) waking up to a regular day. Suddenly, officials from the Empire come to take her away to the capital, where her brother Soshi is the ruler. With her life turned upside down, there’s plenty of handsome men to romance her… After going through the prologue, you can pick one of five guys to romance and go down their story path. After completing one, go back and go down other paths to see the whole picture of The Charming Empire.
Writing was actually rather good, but not top notch. There’s definitely signs of mistranslations and typos, but the writing, again, is pretty good. It’s not going to amaze you, but it easily gets its point across. I encountered some rather funny quotes- some of which I really wish I screencapped, but I unfortunately cannot remember any as of now. There is even voice acting, which is surprisingly good. I don’t know the voice actors specifically from other works, but they do a good job, and I hope they land more voice acting jobs.
Art is the strong suit of this game. The portraits are beautiful. Full of shading detail and looking super high resolution, the portraits are to drool at. Backgrounds are very decent, too. Each character looks distinct, and recognizable. Not just by the hair, either. Backgrounds give a very good idea of where you, the character are. Art is definitely one of the best parts of this game.
There are many quality of life implementations in The Charming Empire. On top of being able to save anywhere, you can have multiple save files. A rather nice addition. Also, you can change text speed, make the text roll automatically, save with a button, and remove the text box to screencap an illustration. This makes the game so much better.
Overall, The Charming Empire is decent. While there isn’t anything quite wrong with it other than some typos and mistranslations, The Charming Empire is missing something special. On top of that, the price may seem a little steep. But fans of visual novels may find this enjoyable on their Nintendo Switch, so check it out if you love visual novels. If not, maybe you’ll like it. I liked it, but again, something special is missing.
Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch, provided by D3 Publisher