Review: Time Princess - Little Women Visual Novel

The Time Princess app has been really picking up the pace with its releases of new visual novels. Shadows of London just wrapped up, and we already have a new story inspired by Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, Little Women. Both Little Women and Shadows of London take place in the 1800s, but the fashions and storytelling techniques are completely different due to the drastically opposite lives of their protagonists. Caroline from Shadows of London is a wealthy English debutant who wears glamorous gowns in the hopes of being courted during the social season, while Jo is an independent American career woman with a relatively low income. Though Little Women does not use the game's encyclopedia feature like Shadows of London to provide history lessons about the time period, the overall story and conclusion are a great deal more satisfying.

Little Women storybook and description from Time Princess

The Little Women visual novel gives players an opportunity to step into the life of Jo, the most independent of the four March sisters from the novel of the same name. As a writer, myself, I found Jo's struggle to publish her books and share her stories with the world extremely relatable and was eager to help her find success. She starts out working for a soulless newspaper publisher who cares more about money than quality writing, but her path veers into two potential new directions when she meets two young men who are supportive of her work. Depending on which love interest you choose for her, Jo can continue to attempt publishing her novel independently or switch careers to become a playwright. As someone who has written both screenplays and novels, I found that both of these paths were a mirror reflection of my own endeavors and goals. It doesn't hurt that both men who want to help her achieve these dreams are very charming and attractive.

Friederich encourages JoA wealthy publisher discourages JoFranklin introduces Jo to the world of theater

I have never read Little Women, so I have to rely on what little knowledge I could access to determine how accurate this visual novel is to the original story. It places more focus on Jo than the other three March sisters since she is the one the player controls. Amy March makes a few appearances as a static talking head, while Beth and Meg are only mentioned in the dialogue or narrations. Of the two love primary love interests, I believe only Friederich Bhear was the only one from the original novel. Friederich is an intelligent philosopher who becomes Jo's new beau after she turns down the advances of her childhood sweetheart, Laurie. Fans of the original book who were disappointed with the way Jo and Laurie left off have an opportunity to redeem their relationship in the visual novel, but he doesn't have any of the pretty romantic artwork that the primary two love interests get, so I found this path one of the least satisfying endings. Franklin Lee, the stage director, is a brand new character for this visual novel who gives Jo an alternative but equally appealing career path. He is charming and outgoing but lacks the soft humility that Friederich possesses.

Jo in a pale blue tea dress accented with white lace, ruffles, a feminine white hat, and white parasolJo in a flowy black skirt, white blouse, and gray wrap with floral accentsJo in a grand blue theatrical gown with big bows and a lace fan

Like the last few visual novels in Time Princess, Little Women has five outfits that players can craft. I liked that they emphasized Jo's personality as a career-focused woman who doesn't care for frills. She does, however, have one frilly dress that satisfies our feminine desires in the form of a costume for Franklin's play. It is an oversized blue Disney Princess-inspired gown covered in big bows, lace, and a matching fan. This is the first open fan I've seen in the game, as the two from the Queen Marie novel are held shut to her side. I also liked the frilly white parasol that she holds behind her simple blue and white tea dress. The levels in this story are fairly easy to pass once you have the outfits, but I found the clothing items to be some of the most difficult to craft among the stories that Time Princess has released so far. Almost every item requires you to craft something else first, forcing me to make endless copies of the two black skirts in the game just so I could use them to make something else. That did get a little frustrating, but I was still able to complete every set in about two weeks.

Jo in a serious discussion with FriederichJo's novel, Little WomenJo posed in a fun scene with Franklin for his play

Overall, I think Little Women has something to offer any player of Time Princess, whether they are fans of the original novel or keep things strictly professional. It has a number of satisfying endings depending whether you pursue the path of an author or a screenwriter and if you want to have a romantic relationship with your business partner or not. Amy's resolution changes as well depending on the path that Jo takes, so you can pick the resolution for two of the March sisters to some extent. I loved exploring the various trials and tribulations of the worlds of publishing and theater as well as Jo's relationships with two very different types of men. I can't say if reading the original book would have heightened or lowered my enjoyment of the visual novel, but I do think it's one of the best stories Time Princess has released since Romy and Julius.

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