Review: Time Princess - Shadows of London Visual Novel

There have been many recent updates in the Dress Up! Time Princess app with the most notable being that they changed their name to simply Time Princess, which is how I will be referring to it from this point on. Another major update from this week was the second half of the latest visual novel, Shadows of London, a Victorian vampire story. This is the first visual novel in Time Princess that was released in two separate halves since I started playing it. I thought the wait time would be frustrating, but I found that it gave me ample time to craft the items I needed to access the new story levels so I wouldn't get stuck when the rest of the game was released. This is the easiest story I've played so far in Time Princess, but that might be because I've been playing it for so long. I was able to get through all the story levels from each of the two releases within a single evening.

Caroline in a romantic scenario in the arms of the vampire Vincent under the moonlight

The main character in Shadows of London is Caroline Rayes, a young lady with a tragic past who is sent to stay with her debutante aunt, who wishes to set her up with a stable match. Instead of  Jesse Lindvall, the wealthy young man her aunt wants her to be with, Caroline spends the majority of her time with Edward Grey, a friendly doctor, Vincent Savile, a pale-faced mystery man, and Priscilla, a goth girl who is ahead of her time. The closer she gets with these troubled companions, the more she learns about the mysterious virus that has been plaguing the citizens of London and with no cure. There is a lot of lore behind vampires stories, giving each one its own unique appeal. Depending on the setting, the vampires have different reasons for not being able to go outside during daylight hours, methods of feeding on blood, ways to transform mortals, and ways to be defeated. Shadows of London does not explore any of that. In fact, the visual novel doesn't even delve into the existence of vampires in this Victorian version of London until the story is practically over. It focuses instead on the courting rituals of eras long past. In that respect, it is reminiscent of the popular Netflix series, Bridgerton.

Dr. Edward Grey, one of the love interests in Shadows of LondonPriscilla, one of the companions in Shadows of LondonVincent Savile, one of the love interests in Shadows of London

When the second half of the novel was released, I hoped it would answer the many questions I had about the virus and Caroline's past, but instead, it left me with more questions than it answered. The ending was similar to another Time Princess visual novel, Helen of Sparta, in that it doesn't matter which ending or love interest you choose because the story goes unresolved no matter what. I was hoping it would be more similar to the game's last visual novel, Romy and Julius, which had four very satisfying ending options depending on which love interest you chose and whether you prefer happy or bittersweet stories. The only reason to appeal to the love interests in Shadows of London is that the story has two events in which one of them needs to rescue you in order to continue the story. However, I had more trouble getting the bad endings where I didn't get rescued than I did unlocking the rescue sequences. I felt like I got shafted when I realized that no matter who I chose, the novel ends with Caroline alone on a train. I would have even been satisfied with an ending that featured Priscilla, one of the most interesting characters in the story.

Black vampire dressBrown casual Victorian gownGorgeous Victorian ballgown covered in lace, purple ribbons, and flowers

I've always loved Victorian fashion, and the outfits in this dress-up visual novel are no exception. The purple dress is one of my absolute favorites in Time Princess so far with its oversized lace, ribbons, and flower accents. I would love to own a dress like it in real life. The casual brown dress reminds me  of Back to the Future III. I love the style and material soft-looking suede material, though I would have preferred a different color. The black mourning dress is the closest craftable outfit to a vampire costume, although there is another one you can win in the game's lottery system that looks a lot prettier and more like something a vampire might wear. I was surprised by how few costumes there were that gave off gothic vampire vibes, but I suppose that's because of the novel's larger focus on the courting season. This is the first visual novel since Gotham Memoirs to use the game's encyclopedia system that allows the player to research historical terminology used throughout the story, which helped to enhance the setting.

Overall, Shadows of London has a promising premise and well-researched historical setting, but the sci-fi elements of the story are barely explored. The game doesn't give the player a chance to get to know either love interest or get close with them in a romantic setting. The ending is by far the most disappointing aspect of the novel. So many scenes imply that there is a hidden world just below the streets of London, but every time you get close to discovering it, something pulls you back out into the mundane world. Though one mystery of Caroline's past is revealed near the end of the game, her future remains a huge question mark no matter which path you choose.


Lars said…
I did this history, and hope that Will have other book to continue it.

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