Review: Dress Up! Time Princess - Swan Lake Visual Novel

I already wrote a general review of the smartphone game app Dress Up! Time Princess, but each visual novel within the game is so intricate and time-consuming that it warrants its own review. Immediately after I reviewed this game, I learned that it was about to release a new story based on the classic fairy tale ballet "Swan Lake," which is even more relevant to my blog than the other available stories since this is the only one so far that allows you to play as an actual princess. It is the shortest of the visual novels in the game (not counting side stories) with two potential love interests and three distinct "good" endings. It has fewer dress options than the other stories, but the ones in this book were some of my favorites. The only thing I didn't like was how much extra work was required to make them, which was probably intended to compensate for its length.

Princess Signy from Swan Lake ready to rule on a royal throne wearing a regal crown and gownPrincess Signy dancing with Prince Aldous in a royal ballroom

In order to incentivize its players to participate in its visual novels, Dress Up! Time Princess adds a unique twist to its otherwise familiar stories. In this case, it presents its players with a gender-bent version of "Swan Lake," featuring a princess who must rescue a swan prince from his curse instead of a princess who was cursed to become a swan. Even though the genders were reversed, this game tries harder to follow the names from the original ballet than the animated classic, The Swan Princess, which named Princess Odette accurately but changed Prince Siegfried to Prince Derek. Here, the princess was named Signy, a clear female alternative Siegfried, and the princes were Aldous and Audwin, which vaguely resemble masculine phonetics for Odette and Odile. Just like in the ballet, this novel has a good "white swan" and a wicked "black swan," who tries to impersonate the good one at Signy's engagement ball. The only major difference in this version is that the sorcerer Rothbart was combined with the black swan character, further simplifying the story for its shortened format.

Princess Signy faces off against the evil sorcerer, Audwin, the "black swan"The white swan, Aldous, and the black swan, Audwin

Swan Lake takes on a more linear story map than the other visual novels in this game and is only one chapter long instead of two. There are no decisions that split the story into two separate paths, but you could accidentally prevent yourself from being able to choose either love interest at the end of the game if you don't make all of the right choices. Therefore, you must make sure that every decision you make is in favor of the prince you want to be with and never change your decisions if you repeat a chapter. The level of difficulty in this story is much higher than Queen Marie, the first visual novel players can unlock. Every level must be completed with a "Perfect" score in order to obtain the required blueprint required to unlock the next level. I was not too bothered by the large amounts of materials needed to complete each outfit because the dresses are among the most beautiful ones in the game. My favorite is the purple Wisteria Capriccio gown, which is the only ensemble with a tiara that you can unlock without having to get lucky from the balloon minigame. I did, however, dislike the fact that some levels did not give a "Perfect" even after you craft every single item for the recommended outfit. For that reason, I would only recommend this story for advanced players who already have leveled up relics from other visual novels in the game.

Pink and purple Wisteria Capriccio gown with matching tiaraMisty Morning Roses dress

The most disappointing thing about Swan Lake was not the length, but the love interests. A lot of fans have complained that Aldous is the least attractive love interest in the game so far. Though looks aren't everything, his personality is as basic as a piece of cardboard. He is a stereotypical heroic prince who would sacrifice anything to protect his princess. Signy develops a friendship with Aldous from when she knew him as a swan that she lovingly called Snowy, but we see so little of him in his swan form that there isn't even a drawing or animation of him as a swan. I think this story would have been more interesting if they gave Aldous a task that he would only be able to perform in the guise of a swan. Audwin, who takes on the role of both Rothbart and the black swan, turns into an owl at will, but we never see a visual representation of it in the game either. Though his backstory is more interesting than Aldous's, he is such a despicable character who tries to force Signy to marry him and doesn't have enough time to properly redeem himself during the novel's rushed ending. It's a shame that he's such a difficult character to like because his ending is more satisfying than Aldous's if you choose to make Signy fall in love with him.

Visual novel screenshot in which Princess Signy says to Prince Aldous "What a wonderful life it was."Visual novel screenshot in which Audwin talks about the curse he placed on Aldous

What the Swan Lake visual novel lacks in length and character depth is compensated by the beautiful gowns the player can unlock for Princess Signy. While I do not think this is the best visual novel in the game, I loved the original twists on this classic fairy tale as well as the famously catchy ballet score that plays when you open the story map. I would recommend this story to experienced players of Dress Up! Time Princess who love fairy tales. If it is your first time playing the app, I recommend that you complete at least half of the Queen Marie and Magic Lamp stories before attempting this one due to the level of difficulty to obtain a "Perfect" on all of the required levels. It took me close to three weeks to complete this story, during which I spent endless hours grinding, crafting, and borrowing items. In the end, I think it was worth it for the beautiful dresses and artwork, but not so much for the plot and characters.

Swan Lake story map 1Swan Lake story map 2

Comments

Jack said…
The most disappointing thing about Swan Lake was not the length, but the love interests. A lot of fans have complained that Aldous is the least attractive love interest in the game so far. Though looks aren't everything, his personality is as basic as a piece of cardboard. He is a stereotypical heroic prince who would sacrifice anything to protect his princess. Signy develops a friendship with Aldous from when she knew him as a swan that she lovingly called Snowy, but we see so little of him in his swan form that there isn't even a drawing or animation of him as a swan. I think this story would have been more interesting if they gave Aldous a task that he would only be able to perform in the guise of a swan. Audwin, who takes on the role of both Rothbart and the black swan, turns into an owl at will, but we never see a visual representation of it in the game either. Though his backstory is more interesting than Aldous's, he is such a despicable character who tries to force Signy to marry him and doesn't have enough time to properly redeem himself during the novel's rushed ending. It's a shame that he's such a difficult character to like because his ending is more satisfying than Aldous's if you choose to make Signy fall in love with him.
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