Posted in Blogs, Date Sim, Games, Rants, Review

Cinderella Phenomenon: Karma Route Review

Here lately, I’m not sure why, but I’ve been infatuated with Dating Sims. Cinderella Phenomenon is one that I’ve been wanting to play for a long time, and only now do I have the time, energy, and desire to play it through completion (yes, that does mean going out of my way to get the bad endings as well). Let me start by explaining the set-up for the game.

Princess Main Character (I know her default name is Lucette, but her name is customizable so I’m referring to her as that instead of her default name) is simply mean. She’s so bitter, ruthless, and cold to everyone she comes across, that she’s known through the kingdom as the Ice Princess. One day, one of her most favorite and prised dolls springs to life from the shelf and claims to be a witch named Delora while cursing the princess with what’s known as the Fairytale Curse; more specifically, Cinderella Curse, where she is forgotten by everyone from family to palace staff to townsfolk in the street. It’s as if she never existed. She’s found by the witch that cursed her and a fairy named Parfait, who both explain why she was cursed and how she can break her curse. Around her neck is a glass slipper pendant. With each good deed she does out of the kindness of her heart, a piece of a second slipper will appear on her necklace. Once she completes 3 good deeds, she’ll complete the pair of glass slippers and her curse will be broken. Until her curse is broken, she must stay in an inn that acts as a safe haven for cursed individuals and work at the tavern conjoined with the inn.

Since Karma was the first route I chose in my playthrough, I’ll review his route first. The Fairytale Curse doesn’t affect others who are cursed or mystical creatures like witches and fairies; example, everyone who’s cursed still remembers the Ice Princess. Karma is cursed with what’s called the Beauty Curse. If he’s in the presence of a woman who’s not cursed, a witch, or fairy, then they’ll be infatuated with his beauty and will claim to be in love with him. They’ll follow him and smother him in affection. The only way around this is if he tricks the women into believing he’s a woman himself under the alias “Miss Karma”. By the time the princess meets him, he’s given up all hope of breaking his curse. He refuses to talk to others about it, and, when cornered with nagging questions about the specifications of his Beauty Curse, he’s quick to give an answer that’s vague at best then somehow make the conversation about lizards or the weather; whatever will distract the questioner long enough to make them forget that he’s talking in circles. I kid you not, this is a real conversation. “Karma, can you tell me more about you? Maybe something about why you were cursed, or better yet, how to break it?” “My father used to call me his little chameleon because I was always good at hiding. Chameleons are just so cute, aren’t they?” (maybe not word for word, but you get the idea). As his route goes on, you learn more and more about him, like how his main contribution to the tavern is training the guards with swords and gathering supplies from the town.

I really enjoyed figuring out all of Karma’s secrets, like his real name, where he learned to sword fight, and reluctantly, how to break his curse (which I figured out roughly 3 chapters before Princess Main Character did). I also really like the dynamic between Karma and the princess. There’s even a running joke that neither of them respect each other’s privacy, so they both often enter one another’s rooms unannounced, they both make the same argument of “what if I was changing?” but it doesn’t hold any weight because the princess already saw Karma’s bare chest when she barged in the first time. It really shows that, though neither of them can be alone or keep secrets anymore, neither of them have to be alone or keep secrets from one another; their relationship is with 100% open doors (pun intended). There is a point where Karma gets in a really random bad mood, and it’s never explained. He goes for several days sulking in his room, blows off his responsibilities as the trainer for the guards and the errand-boy, he even shoves away the princess, who, at that point in the story, he’s in a partnership with and had signs of chemistry with. However, after a heated argument the lead to the princess snapping him back to the real world, he does return to normal somewhat.

Karma is kinda like the Big Brother type, now that I really think about it. He’s borderline overly protective of the princess, is always there to save the day (or night), and (almost) always has a wink and a tease at the ready. The princess also doesn’t hesitate to amuse herself at his expense. At one point while in town, Karma’s voice get’s drastically deeper, as if from a flick of a switch. The princess, seeing that a woman who knows “Miss Karma” was approaching, encourages Karma to speak up and have a chat, laughing the whole time. Karma does manage to convince the woman he’s caught a cold while attempting to mimic a feminine voice and the two leave. He later explains that Parfait makes him a potion to make his voice more like a woman’s since the only way he could avoid all the girls in town groveling at his feet is to make them believe he was a woman and he didn’t believe crossdressing alone would be enough to convince all the women of his facade. This moment, not only illustrates how far Karma is willing to go to avoid the consequences of his curse, since there’s no real way for the player to tell because this game is all 100% written dialogue and description with absolutely no voice acting, but it also gives a moment for the princess to actually grace her own face with a smile, since until that point, she never smiles (it’s also really hysterical for the player; even though there’s no voice acting, I imagined just how sudden the tone shift would’ve been in his voice and couldn’t stop laughing as I read, even attempting to voice act it out myself).

Ok, here’s your warning. I’m now gonna talk about Karma’s good and bad endings. If you want to find out the conditions of his curse on your own, turn back now, find the game on steam (it’s free to play) and run a playthrough yourself before coming back to hear my thoughts.

………..

If you’re still here, then you either already played the game, or you don’t care about spoilers regardless of warnings.

Karma’s good ending is really heartwarming and a perfect storybook ending while his bad ending, while believable in the circumstances, could’ve easily been avoided if 1) Karma spoke up about the conditions of his curse and 2) the princess actually bothered to read a fairytale or two.

For some context, let me shed some light. The Royal Family (excluding Princess Main Character) is put it life-threatening peril from the Captain of the Guard, Sir Alcaster, and his knights. The prince and princess, Rod and Em (I can never remember her full name; I couldn’t even read it) escape to the tavern and request reinforcements from Parfait and Delora. Their request is granted as Delora leads a small group containing the two guards, who are both ex-knights of the Royal Family, Karma, Princess Main Character, and Waltz, a man with what’s called the Neverland Curse (I’ll dedicate a blog to him later). Karma begs the princess to reconsider going, but she insists that, since it’s her father and step-mother in danger, she must go, if nothing else than to set things right with them. He then alters his plea to her staying behind him at all cost and to run away if things get too dangerous, despite having trained with a sword for months at this point. Fast forward to the rescue, Karma gets frequent pains in his chest, claiming he’s fine. His only explanation is that the princess would either hate or fear him if he told her. She backs off with the promise of an explanation when they return home. The group then gets ambushed, the princess is captured and separated from the rest of the group. She’s soon faced with Sir Alcaster and a man in a mask claiming to be named Varg (I thought it was a little late in the story to introduce new characters, since this guy is never introduced by name or appearance until this point in the story. I have a feeling he’s either Fritz, the personal Body Guard for Princess Main Character before her curse, or somehow tied to him because Varg and Fritz look similar, as well as a few other hints that I don’t really wanna go into now). After Sir Alcaster’s big Villain Monologue about how Princess Main Character’s mother was the best ruler, mastering the fear struck into her subject’s hearts, there are reports of a beast that suddenly appears from nowhere and is attacking all the knights it comes across. The beast does make its way to the princess, and here’s where the two endings split.

In one ending, Princess Main Character runs away, running into some knights that claim they’ll protect her from the beast. She argues that she doesn’t need protection, and then the beast begins attacking the two knights, narrowly missing her. She readies her sword and attacks the beast, believing it’s a more dangerous threat than the knights at Sir Alcaster’s command. She swiftly brings the beast down, finally seeing a pendant on it that she gave Karma earlier. She finally realizes the blood of her beloved Karma is on her hands as she sobs over him and his dying words are basically the most tactless “I told you so”.

First off, I wanted to scream and shout to the Princess Main Character that if there’s a beauty in a fairytale, there’s a beast. I figured out that there was some incorporation of a beast somewhere in his curse as soon as I saw the rose tattoo on his bare, naked chest. However, I guess I can give the princess a pass since she was never really allowed to read fairytales because of her mother; she only read one before her mother disposed of all traces of fairytales, all she says about the one fairytale she read is that it features a Genie.

In the other ending, Princess Main Character still is able to escape the battle between the beast and Sir Alcaster’s knights. She soon meets with the beast again, suddenly feeling the need to trust it. She puts her back to him, remembering in her training that it’s always best to fight back to back when surrounded or caught in an ambush (which they were). While fighting the knights, she looks back and sees one of the knights dangerously close to striking the beast. She quickly rushes over and blocks the attack with her own sword. After that, the two fight on until the battle is finally won. Princess Main Character finally gets a good look at the beast, figures out it’s Karma, and declares her love, breaking his curse. She also looks at her own feet, where there are glass slippers, meaning her sacrificing her life for him was her third and final good deed. Now that the two of them have broken their curses, they find the king and explain the situation; saying that she was under a curse that made him forget her existence for nearly a year, and that Karma is actually Crowned Prince Klaude Aidric Renaldi Mattheus Almonte, the lost prince of a neighboring kingdom, as well as Princess Main Character’s lover. Karma returns to his home kingdom to inform his parents and younger brother, Llama (both of them go by acronyms of their long names), that he’s not dead yet and so he could request a proper betrothal to Princess Main Character. He returns to the princess’ castle just in time for her 18th Birthday Banquet. From there, he talks about how nervous he is to share a meal with her father, how he wished she’d visit his family, and how they’re now betrothed and will live happily ever after.

See what I mean by “perfect storybook ending”? There’s not really that much to say about it. It’s pretty much just, their curses are broken, so now, they’re just a Crown Prince of one kingdom and Crown Princess of another kingdom betrothed to be married, where the biggest problem facing them is gaining approval of each other’s families. It definitely paints a Happily Ever After picture to the storybook end. Still, after all this, Karma still barges into her room without knocking and he’s still acting like the Teasing Older Brother type.

All in all, I think Karma’s my favorite (and not just because I hated Rumpel from the moment he was introduced while Karma sees Rumpel as a frienemy at best all because he looks a little too good in a dress). I simply like the Big Brother types, right next to the Secretive Mysterious types and the Fun Optimistic types. Arguably, Karma could fulfill all three of those.

What do you think? Do you agree with the Big Brother type, or is someone like Karma more thorn than rose for you? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments, and while you’re down there, let me know who of the three starter options (I know there are five guys, but two of them are locked until you complete two routes with two of the three bachelors) did you pick first? Karma with the Secretive Big Brother type? Rumpel with the Flirty type? Rod with the Tsundere Little Brother type? Let me know. Next time we’re taking a dive under the sea; ’til then, have a beautiful rest of your day~

Leave a Reply