Review: Dress Up! Time Princess - Gotham Memoirs Visual Novel

I was going to conclude my Dress Up! Time Princess reviews with Magic Lamp since that was the last princess-related visual novel in the game, but it looks my addiction isn't over yet. While spending a few weeks idly collecting materials, I finally decided to play Gotham Memoirs, the last story I had left to complete, at least until the new one comes out the end of this month. Dress Up! Time Princess is celebrating National Princess Day today, an event that was original created to commemorate the anniversary of the animated classic The Swan Princess, so here is a bonus review of the game as my way of joining the celebration. Initially, I was not eager to play Gotham Memoirs because of the lack of fairy tales or royalty, but I soon came to appreciate the glamorous fashions of the 1920s as well as the extremely dynamic story paths within the book that are far more intense than of the other stories.

Elizabeth from Gotham Memoirs with her two love interests, Vittorio and Davis

Gotham Memoirs is thematically divergent from the other visual novels in Dress Up! Time Princess. It tells the story of a reporter named Elizabeth Colvin who is willing to do whatever it takes to get a full scoop, even if it means colluding with criminals. Starting the book triggers an appropriate warning about the dark and often gruesome themes within the story. Unlike other the other visual novels in this game, in which getting a "bad ending" usually means fall from grace, the majority of bad endings in this story mean getting murdered by the mafia as punishment for getting too close to the truth. The book begins when Elizabeth is hired as a journalist for a newspaper called the Gotham Times and visits a mental hospital where she meets a patient named Jessica. She learns that Jessica's father was murdered and that her daughter had mysteriously disappeared. The rest of the novel depends on how dangerous of a path you are willing to take to uncover the mystery behind Jessica's circumstances.

This story may not cater directly to my personal tastes when it comes to visual novels, but I will say that the gameplay mechanics behind it are done extremely well. It is the visual novel in the game, with a whooping four chapters, and each chapter can take you down an entirely different story path based on your previous decisions. It is the only book in the game that contains some levels that don't link to each other at all. For instance, depending on what choices you make in the first two chapters, you could start the third chapter on level 3-1, 3-7, or 3-15. If you start on, say, 3-15, the only way to access level 3-1 or 3-7 would be to go back and replay the first two chapters with different choices. If you stick to one linear path the entire time, you can speed through each chapter fairly quickly. However, if you are a completionist like me and want to see every possible outcome, the game can be a real pain the neck to get through. After I unlocked the fourth chapter, I got stuck quite a few times trying to figure out which decisions I needed to go back and change in order to unlock new endings.

A mafia boss covers Elizabeth's mouth while keeping a look out with a defensive weaponDavis takes Elizabeth to a fancy jazz event

The decisions you make to unlock the three potential story paths are based primarily on which character you choose to pursue a relationship with or how you go about investigating Jessica's case. The two main love interests are Davis, the owner of the Gotham Times, and Vittorio, a sexy mafia boss who always has your best interests at heart. If you choose Davis's route, you become a full-time reporter and gain his financial and emotional support on your endeavors for the Gotham Times, but you are also judged by other characters for getting too close to your boss and shoulder the burden of responsibility for the newspaper as a whole. If you choose Vittorio's route, you must quit your job at the Gotham Times and go undercover to take down another unsavory mafia boss, risking your life and dignity. This route is more dangerous, but can also be more rewarding because it fulfills a fantasy that many people have of a life of risk-taking and excitement and allows you to make decisions that no self-preserving person would ever want to be faced with in the real world. The third route gives you the opportunity to become an independent career woman and team up with a female prosecutor to take down Jessica's persecutors in court.

A cute peach-colored 1920s dress with ruffles, lace trim, and a curled black bob with an oversized round matching hatA pink and silver jazz age flapper dress with beads and a long white boaA 1920s style page boy outfit with plaid pants, suspenders, glasses, and a cute newsboy cap

Like with Magic Lamp, the fashions in this book were hit or miss for me. This is the only visual novel in the game that has two-piece outfits, making some of the levels extra challenging. Some outfits that contain as many as ten pieces, and you often can't get a passing score without at least half of them. I was a bit discouraged by the required two-piece sets. My favorite costumes from this book were the cute one-piece historically accurate dresses, and I wish it had contained more of those. The most glamorous one that players can craft themselves is a pink and silver jazz age flapper dress with a long fluffy white boa. My second favorite ensemble is a cute peach-colored lace dress with ruffles and bows and a matching oversized cap that goes over a cute black bob. If you're going to be trapped in a dangerous world of mafia, murders, and mystery, you might as well at least go down looking cute.

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