If you hadn’t seen my last few posts, this is kinda a continuation. Cinderella Phenomenon simply has too much content to cram into one review. I mean, each of the five routes is it’s own story; no two are even remotely the same. Since Rumpel’s was the third route I reluctantly chose in my quest for completion (his route also concludes the routes you can play first), I will write a review of his route next. Click here if you want to read my reviews of the other routes I’ve talked about so far, but just in case you’re not interested in them, let me sum up the set-up for the game before going into the review.
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.
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. Rumpel is cursed with what’s called the Rumpelstiltskin Curse. Similar to Princess Main Character’s Cinderella curse, Rumpel’s curse forces those who’ve known him to forget his name (however they all keep the memory of what he’s done for them in the past), meanwhile Rumpel himself has no memory or recollection of who he was before he’s found in the street by Parfait. When the princess meets him, his curse is recent enough that he’s just as new to the tavern as Princess Main Character.
Now, I’m gonna be blunt…I didn’t like Rumpel in the beginning. I wouldn’t have been able to go through with it without giving my two best friends constant updates on the game just to get my thoughts off my chest of exactly how much characters with Rumpel’s type of personality gets under my skin. However, for completionist’s sake, and for the sake of the review, I endured all he shallow flattery and dumb puns that I really hate seeing in otome characters. One thing that surprised me was the fact that Karma is more open and honest about what’s on his mind and his curse while the princess is partnered with Rumpel than he was when she’s partnered with Karma himself (on top of that, Karma made several claims in his arguments with Rumpel that I’d argue, saying he doesn’t lie to his partner…wait…off topic…). Rumpel’s journey had a similar mystery as Karma, but since Rumpel himself has amnesia, it’s easy to paint him as an honest person while keeping the mystery of his past alive.
Comparing to Karma (since both in Karma’s and in Rumpel’s routes, people make a point to compare the two of them), Karma has to side-step the truth to keep his curse and background a mystery whereas Rumpel is just as much in the dark with his past as anyone else. While the way to learn about Karma is through prodding and nagging, the way to learn about Rumpel is asking everyone other than him. From the little boy who recognized him as a doctor that saved his life, to his fiancee who possesses all of Rumpel’s journals and diaries, everyone Rumpel touched before his curse automatically knows more about him than Rumpel himself.
Rumpel does break his own curse before the end, unlike Rod and Karma. While I was a little worried/intrigued on what that would mean for their relationship, whether or not Princess Main Character’s curse will start to affect Rumpel, I am a little disappointed that it didn’t take that route. However, I do understand why Rumpel wouldn’t forget about the princess the moment he remembers his name, that would be tragic and cruel to grant him with memories of his whole life in exchange for memories he shared with the princess.
Also, of course, Varg shows up once again, though unlike in Karma’s and Rod’s routes where he showed up at the end, this time he randomly shows up in the middle of the story out of nowhere and serves nothing to the plot; he’s literally just someone who literally bumps into the princess on the street.
Ok, here’s your warning. I can’t talk anymore about Rumpel’s route without spoiling anything since a large part of his route is unraveling the mystery of his past. I’m now gonna talk about Rumpel’s good and bad endings. If you want to find out the end of this story 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.
While Rumpel’s good ending is cute and bad ending is gruesome, both endings nearly brought me to tears.
Just for some background, there are some rumors going around that the palace has been thrown into chaos with witches taking over and the knights staging a coup against the king and royal family. However, the crown is left unclaimed. While out getting medicine with Rumpel, Princess Main Character gets captured and drugged by Varg before reawakening in her bedroom at the palace. She’s informed that Sir Alcaster is dead and Sir Mythros is the one who killed him. Let me just say really quick, it’s kinda clever that in my first route of the game, Karma’s route, Sir Alcaster was the only Big Bad that hires Varg’s sword, in my second playthrough, Rod’s route, Sir Alcaster is only a decoy while Varg’s sword shifts from Alcaster’s allegiance to Mythros after Alcaster’s arrest, and now Sir Alcaster is dead before he even makes an appearance in Rumpel’s route and Mythros is to blame for it all with Varg as a sword for hire. Sorry. Back to Rumpel’s climax; Princess Main Character tries to probe answers out of Varg. Admittedly, she does learn that he is cursed and despises witches, and he himself either doesn’t know or isn’t willing to share why he’s assisting a known powerful witch. When Mythros comes to retrieve her for dinner, she’s told her family will be waiting for her. Once they reach the dining hall, Mythros explains to the king that Princess Main Character is the true Crown Princess of the kingdom and his blood daughter. Admittedly, the player can choose to either play along and confess to being the princess or play dumb and ignorant to what Mythros is saying (just in case you’re stuck and are reading this to figure out which is the better option, it’s playing dumb). Later on, Mythros explains that he plans to groom the princess until her 18th birthday when she’ll become the bearer of the crystal and will have the power to revive her mother, the queen.
Days pass and finally Delora, Rumpel, Jurin, Garlen (no idea if I spelled those names right, but they’re the two knights that were kicked out of the palace and hired to defend the tavern and cursed individuals), Waltz and Karma come to the rescue. While Karma, Waltz, and the knights fight the witches and corrupted knights, Delora and Rumpel save the princess from her room in her tower. Rumpel and the princess flee, but are stopped by Mythros and his knights and witches. He makes the knights fight each other, and the fight entrances Rumpel into a daze.
In the bad ending, The princess tries to shake him out of the daze, but is unsuccessful. She decides to take matters in her own hands and pick up a sword to fight, forgetting that this is not Karma’s route and therefore she never learned how to fight with a sword. However, with the knights now focused on her instead of each other, she’s backed into a wall and only holds her sword out with her eyes closed. When she opens them again, Rumpel is the one pierced by her blade.
Rumpel’s bad ending deserves its achievement title; Spool of Needles. It’s sad, and I nearly cried. It’s tragic and gruesome, though not quite as tragic as Karma’s bad ending (hey, if characters in the game are gonna compare these two, then I might as well join the bandwagon).
Now, in the good ending, it’s pretty much the same up to the point where Rumpel gets entrances into a daze by the knights killing each other, only this time, the princess literally smacks him out of it, and Parfait shows up just in time to save them with a shield, along with Delora and Waltz, who somehow miraculously broke his curse and is now a hot young adult looking straight out of Hot Topic. It’s never explained how he broke his curse, but with his curse broken he now has full access to his witch magical power. However, Waltz, Rumpel, and the princess find that Mythros escaped from Parfait and Delora and has Princess Main Character’s step-sister hostage in the throne room. They try to talk him down but to no avail. The princess finally grabs a sword and comes close to killing Mythros, blade right at his throat, but she stops when she remembers Rumpel saying that all life is precious. Her showing Mythros mercy and sparing his life is her third and final good deed. Mythros doesn’t repay the kindness and goes in for the kill. To the character’s shock, Parfait, who quickly showed up to help, is the one who died at Mythros’ hands. She has just enough life left to congratulate Princess Main Character on breaking her curse before she passes in Rumpel’s arms, him still trying to convince her and himself that he could fix it, close her wounds, nurse her to health, and she’ll be better. Waltz decides to execute Mythros for his crimes, but Rumpel slits the witch’s throat before Waltz had a chance. After confirming that the royal family is alright and unharmed, the king offers Delora and the others rooms for the night as thanks for saving his family. Rumpel and the princess retreat to her room and console each other for the loss of Parfait and the burden of Mythros’ murder. The king is weary after these events, and, while he allows Princess Main Character to go into town as often as she pleases, it’s not without guards and her step-siblings. He’s also weary of Rumpel courting her, him being no prince nor knight but simply a poor doctor, but to him, it’s a problem for another day.
That’s a lot to get through. Don’t get me wrong, the other endings were long and had a lot to build up for the climax, but this….it’s a little ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable, and a roller coaster, but this barely scratched the surface. Even still, I’m not 100% confident I described everything right, even though I literally just played this route before writing this review.
While Karma was a clear tragic bad ending vs. storybook fairytale good ending and Rod is a little of a mixed bag both ways, Rumpel is just depressing. Both his endings hammer in that people are mortal. In both endings at least one person dies, and in the aftermath of both endings, the princess and/or Rumpel have to deal with PTSD that comes with killing someone.
To sum it all up, Rumpel surprisingly came close to surpassing Karma as the best guy. I like Karma a lot, and every time he showed up I literally cried for a return to my “Beastly Prince Beauty”, however, Rumpel did something I didn’t expect and had something I personally look for in a romatic partner; devotion to a smile. Between those two it’s a very close tie; a lot closer than I expected going into it. At the end of Rod’s review, I challenged Rumpel to surprise me with gold, and he did just that.
What do you think? Was Rumpel able to make you smile, or did his doctor puns not spin gold 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. This concludes the three guys you can start out with, so next, we’ll soar to the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning; ’til then, have a beautiful rest of your day~