Review: Yes, Your Grace

Yes, Your Grace is a charming video game with strategy and visual novel elements in which the player takes on the role of a king who has daily meetings with his subjects in order to maintain the well-being of his kingdom. Though you cannot play as a princess, the king has three daughters, who each have unique personalities and quirks. The decisions that the player makes throughout the story directly affects their fates. Though it is possible to give two of the princesses a happy ending, one of them is a victim of circumstance, and there is nothing you can do to save her, which diminishes some of the replay value. Yes, Your Grace can be completed in about half a day and has a surprisingly engaging story filled with fun characters and challenging situations that simulate what it might be like to run an actual kingdom.

Yes, Your Grace royal family and logo

The story kicks off when soldiers from an enemy kingdom show up to claim Lorsulia, the eldest daughter of King Eryk and Queen Aurelea, who was promised to them as an act of desperation. In order to avoid marrying her off to a barbaric thug, the king and queen decide to go to war with the kingdom. Since they do not have a big enough army to defend themselves, they formi an alliance with a king, who asks for Lorsulia's hand in marriage to his son in return. They decide to marrying her off to a prince is better than marrying her off to a barbarian, but later come to regret that decision. Lots of drama ensues after this, especially between the three princesses. Asalia, who is closest in age to Lorsulia, is disappointed that she can no longer play practical jokes on her big sister, while Cedani, the youngest, is sad that she can no longer play games with Lorsulia or her pet cat, Dusty.

The first portion of the game allows the player to make alliances with his kingdom's nobles to build an army and save up money for Lorsulia's wedding on the side. After that, funds can be saved to fortify the castle for a series of wars with seemingly impossible odds. The gameplay is measured by weeks leading up to each key event. Every week, the king is able to invite a noble to visit him, send out his agents to inspect  problems in various villages, and stock up on money and resources to support his subjects. He has a general, a witch, and hunter at his disposal, but it seems like one of them is always away on another quest when someone needs their help. The line of visitors in the throne room is similar to the ones that Rapunzel met with during the musical sequence of the Queen for a Day special in the Tangled series. After speaking to each week's lineup, the player can visit other rooms in the castle to check up on the queen, princesses, and other royal visitors.

My favorite thing about this game is how real the characters feel. Playing as the king allows you to feel the struggle between trying to balance work and family lives. It is certainly possible to be a good father and a good king, but something must always be sacrificed one way or the other. Over the course of my playthrough, I grew just as attached to the three princesses as I would have if they were my own daughters, which motivated me to make good decisions to protect the kingdom. Princess Lorsulia throws a temper tantrum when she finds out she is being forced into an arranged marriage to protect the kingdom, but she eventually apologizes and has a touching scene where she tells her father that she doesn't want her last memories of her family to be of them arguing. Princess Asalia goes through a rebellious phase and comes out as queer, which solidifies what a bad idea it would be to force her into an arranged marriage unless you want to intentionally play as a bad father. Finally, Princess Cedani spends the majority of the game trying to replace Lorsulia's cat with a new pet. She finds every outlandish option from a hedgehog to a bear, but she's just too cute to say "no" to!

Overall, Yes, Your Grace is a fun and relaxing game that simulates the experience of running a kingdom while trying to protect a loving family. The game is just challenging enough without becoming frustrating. I only got a bad ending one time when I ran out of money, and it was an easy fix. The only thing I didn't like is that certain events are impossible to change no matter what decisions you make. It tricks the player into believing they have more power over the story because of all the choices it allows you to make, but they don't always make a difference in what follows. Despite this, the game is definitely worth one playthrough for its vibrant and fun cast of characters.

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