Review: Time Princess - Princess Sissi Visual Novel

The latest visual novel in the Time Princess app shares similarities with the game's first story, Queen Marie. Both are historical narratives about royal European women who made an impact on their time period. Princess Sissi is much shorter and follows a linear story path, while Queen Marie has numerous different branches the player can take based on their decisions. I learned about Princess Sissi after someone recommended the Saban cartoon to me about two years ago. I expected the new visual novel to be similar, yet it only contained the events that were portrayed in the show's first episode. Even though I already knew everything that was going to happen, but it was still nice to play as a character I was already familiar with. This visual novel only explores an early portion of Sissi's life before she became empress. It would have been interesting to see a second chapter about her experiences trying to rule Austria and how she struggled with trying to satisfy both sides of the Hungarian rebellion.

Princess Sissi visual novel cover from Time Princess

Duchess Elisabeth of Bavaria, known to her friends as "Princess Sissi," was a royal woman who married the Emporer of Austria in the mid-1800s. Unlike Marie Antoinette, Sissi was an adventuresome type who preferred climbing mountains and riding horses to dressing up and making polite conversation like her ladylike sister, Helene. Her rebellious nature granted her an allegiance with the Hungarians, who revolted against Austria and many of their policies. In this visual novel, the Hungarian rebels are represented by Ida, who Sissi rescues from an officer early in the story. Though Sissi treats Ida with the utmost kindness, Ida is brash and inconsiderate and often seems unworthy of Sissi's unwavering respect for her. Ida's character design, which consists of a pretty green dress and flowers in her hair, doesn't seem to fit with her scrappy vagabond lifestyle and makes her look more like a faery princess than a starving rebel peasant. Over the course of the story, Sissi gains romantic feelings toward a royal office named Ryszard while her sister prepares her own engagement to Emporer Franz Joseph. I knew from the cartoon that Sissi would end up with her sister's fiancé, so I wasn't sure how Ryszard played into the story but this was explained closer toward to the end.

Sissi introduces herselfIda criticizes the royal classHelene assures Sissi that she should marry for love

This is the first story I've encountered in Time Princess with only one distinct love interest. The other two companions are Ida, the Hungarian rebel that Sissi helps, and Helene, Sissi's docile and kind-hearted sister. The course of the story is mostly affected by how much the player is willing to trust and support Ida. There were a few times that I got a "bad" ending because Ida leads Sisi down a dangerous path, so I occasionally picked the "safe" option for the sake of self-preservation and wound up suffering some sort of tragic end anyway. I soon realized that the game asserts that Sissi's daring and rebellious nature is the very thing that made her so successful and famous as a monarch as well as the reason that the emporer was more interested in her than her submissive sister. Since the visual novel is so short, its linear path does not allow the player to unlock an alternate chain of events that might have taken place if Sissi decided not to aid the Hungarians to change history in the way that the Queen Marie story does.

Ryzsard presents flowers to SissiSissi wins a horse race against IdaIda defends Sissi from Hungarian rebels

My favorite thing about this story is the artwork. It is packed with stunning imagery of royal balls, gorgeous outdoor landscapes, and pretty dresses. The fashions are similar to the ones in Queen Marie, but more elegant and Austrian-inspired. My favorite outfit is Sissi's pink and purple riding dress, which consists of a lace-up corset top, lace apron, and matching braided purple hair. Sure, it's not historically accurate for someone from the 1800s to have purple hair, but it sure looks pretty with the dress. This story also contains the most Cinderella-like dress in Time Princess so far with Sissi's glittering starlight ballgown. The other two craftable dresses are more historically accurate to the Victorian era with their feathered caps, bustles, and high neckline collars. It is a challenge to present impressive new fashions after collecting so many from this game, but the gowns are stilllovely and unique compared to some of the previous options.

Sissi in an elaborate violet and white striped Victorian gown and hatSiss in a glittering silver ballgownSissi in a pink and purple riding dress with matching purple hair

Though Princess Sissi is one of the shortest visual novels in Time Princess, I appreciate that it takes the time to tell a complete story that gives a taste of all the drama and excitement in Elisabeth of Bavaria's life prior to her marriage. It is an excellent option for newer players who loved the historical fiction aspect of the Queen Marie story and are seeking something that's less frustrating to get through due to all the decisions they had to go back and recheck to make sure they've unlocked every possible branch. The dresses have something to offer for both fans of historical fashion and fantasy fashion. I liked that the requirements to complete this story were easier than some of the other recent visual novels and that I only needed to raise my companions' goodwill to level 5 instead of level 7 to unlock everything. Princess Sissi is a step in the right direction for pleasing fans of Time Princess, and I hope to see more stories like it in the future. A Queen Victoria or Elizabeth story might be interesting if they continue down the route of historical royalty.

Comments

PrincessContent said…
All right, when I saw Princess Sissi in the title, I decided that I had to dump some more princess content on you. Maybe I’ve talked about these shows before but I do again if that’s the case.

For a while now I’ve been trying to get into a Cinderella and a Snow White show produced by a company called Mondo World. I like them but I find myself losing interest from time to time since both shows are very slow, especially the Snow White one. Plus I find most of the voice-acting not that very good…

Anyway, Mondo World has uploaded all their shows to Youtube and they are still producing princess shows. One of them is called Sissi – The young Empress. The first season is also on Youtube.
Here are links to all of them! Maybe you will have it easier getting into them then me :)

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYXievo3ibiV5IbrYSabt1ag_dmelKxGl

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYXievo3ibiVJN0R5AeG38SL8lqaclVeH

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYXievo3ibiVJJ0ssTOtdnrAfk0sTarAl
Lisa Dawn said…
Thanks for sharing these! I just watched the first episode of each one, and boy, you sure are right about the voice acting! I'm kind of surprised anyone would think it's a good idea to make an episodic series out of such simple stories as "Snow White" or "Cinderella." It's no surprise it seems slow and boring to watch. The Sissi series looks much nicer and has better acting, but I found the story kind of offensive. It seems like they're trying to copy Sofia the First with a princess who has magic jewelry and can talk to animals, but presenting her as a real historical person who died tragically almost makes it feel like they're poking fun at her story. The Saban cartoon is a lot more respectful of the history.
PrincessContent said…

You're welcome! <3
The Saban Princess Sissi cartoon is such a nice show! I watched it a lot as a kid! <3
It is indeed more respectful to the real history of Sissi.

Despite both shows being very slow and down right boring at times I still want to get through them! They have these details that I’ve never seen in other adaptations before. I really love the tension between the queen and Snow White in the first few episodes. Maybe I should turn up the speed on the videos so that they will be a faster watch? xD

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