Review: Dress Up! Time Princess - Romy and Julius Visual Novel

In a little under two grueling weeks, I managed to complete the latest visual novel in Dress up! Time Princess, Romy and Julius, a reimagining of Shakespeare's classic, Romeo and Juliet. Every time I start a new story, I think it will be because I've gathered so many items from the previous stories, and every time, the game proves me wrong. I was overwhelmed by the difficulty level in this book. At least it was more consistent than Helen of Sparta, which was easy at first and then suddenly got super hard at the end. Two levels in Romy and Julius required a pink set with a gown, headdress, and loads of accessories that were so difficult to obtain that you can forget about completing the story until you've collected every piece from the set. The story is the strongest of the three that were released since I began playing this game. It is a unique take on a beloved classic with several satisfying endings.

Romy and Julius dancing together at a masked ball

As the title implies, you play this story as Romy Montague, a noble lady who falls for a young man named Julius from the rivaling Capulet family. At first, I thought it was silly for the writers to gender bend Romeo and Juliet. Switching which of the rivaling families the two ill-fated lovers come from doesn't make nearly as much of a difference as making the prince from Swan Lake the one who turns into a swan or the princess in "Aladdin" the one who finds the lamp in. Once I got further into the story, I gained a better understanding of why they did this. Romy and Julius are descendants from the families of the original Romeo and Juliet, who suffered their tragedy two hundred years earlier. I thought this was a clever idea that grants the potential for a happy ending without being disrespectful to the original work. Taylor Swift would approve. Depending on which of the love interests you pick, this book has one bad ending, two good endings, and two bittersweet endings.



Unlike with Helen of Sparta, the decisions you must make to romance Julius or Laurence count toward the story's ending in every single chapter, so choose carefully. Friar Laurence was a character who did not make much of an impression on me in the original play, but he plays a bigger part in this version as one of the two potential love interests for Romy. He was friends with her since childhood, and if you so choose, that friendship could blossom into something more. On the other hand, Julius looks and acts just how you would expect a character inspired by Romeo to. As the story goes on, however, it is revealed that he is not quite as innocent as he appears to be. In fact, most characters in this story are harboring some sort of secret, adding suspense and intrigue that the previous two visual novel lacked. Even Romy's innocuous best friend, Bellona, a gender-bent version of Mercutio, is withholding a thing or two from her bestie. There was something new buried among the streets of Verona just waiting to be discovered around every turn.

Romy in an elaborate pink gown with gold accents, fur trim, and a matching pink crown-like headdressRomy in a baby blue and gold ballgown with a matching crown and masquerade maskRomy in a regal green dress and gold circlet over long red hair

The costumes in this story are exactly what I would expect to see when I think of Shakespeare. The regal Renaissance dresses are trimmed with shimmering golden accents and sport puffed dual-colored sleeves over the shoulders. The dresses are not as stunning as the butterfly and goddess looks from Helen of Sparta, but they are still beautiful. Romy's outfits contribute a generous amount of new tiaras to the game's wardrobe, including a tall sapphire crown from her masquerade dress that reminds me of Anastasia. The dresses take a long time to complete, but the game rewards you with jewels when you do, which is more valuable than the gold currency it gives for other outfits. I had the most trouble completing the pink dress, which was necessary to unlock a required item to reach Julius's ending. I checked the in-game shop every four hours for a week before the shoes finally became available for me to purchase.

Romy sleeps as Laurence plays her a song in the dim candlelight of the churchRomy and Julius in-game storybookRomy and Julius travel the streets of Verona

Overall, this visual novel is a vast improvement over the previous two books that were released in Dress up! Time Princess. It places a new twist on an old story and adds a layer depth and intrigue to each character. For the first time since Gotham Memoirs, the love interests felt fully fleshed out, and I was eager to get to know them better. The only thing I found a little annoying was having to go back and change almost every single decision when I wanted to switch between Laurence and Julius's endings. If you don't pick one love interest and stick with him the entire time in this story, you get the bad ending. I hope that the developers of Dress up! Time Princess continue to incorporate the same level of quality into their future stories. I've seen hints that they might do a retelling of "The Little Mermaid,", so I'm particularly excited for that!

Trophy of Romy leaning over a balcony toward Julius that you receive for completing the story

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