Review: Time Princess - White Snake Visual Novel

There was a heightened level of anticipation for the latest visual novel in the Time Princess phone game. This was the longest the app has gone without a new story in quite some time, and I was informed by some fellow social media players that the Chinese Legend of the White Snake is incredibly popular in Asia. Although I was not familiar with it before reading this visual novel, the popular myth has had several recent film and television adaptations. Upon first glance, I was worried that this story would just be a copy of Tang Dynasty Hunter, another recent visual novel from this app, but after playing both, I realized that the similarities were purely superficial. While both stories take place in China and follow their mythology of demons as objects or animals that can transform into humans, Tang Dynasty Hunter follows a human who hunts demons, and White Snake features a demon in disguise as a human.

Chinese artwork from the White Snake visual novel of Suzhen and Xu Xian approaching an old woman

White Snake tells the story of Suzhen, a white snake demon who spends her time on Earth as a human doctor working in an apothecary with her sister, Xiaoqing, a green snake demon. The two sisters desire to do good deeds and raise their status to that of the immortals, which are the Chinese equivalent of mythological gods and goddesses. Once they set up shop, they heal many patients and earn renown among the village, but soon the rumors spread about their true identities, which diverts their usual customers to Xu Xian, a competing doctor who has nothing but respect for Suzhen and her work. Though the legend of the White Snake is widely regarded as a romance in modern times, this version of the story did not appeal much to my romantic side. For most of the visual novel, Suzhen and Xu Xian treat each other more as colleagues than as lovers. In fact, if the player selects Xiaoqing's route instead of Xu Xian's in the second chapter, the story has virtually no romance at all. Xiaoqing was not a very appealing character to me. Though she cared deeply about protecting Suzhen she was impulsive and had an awful temper, similar to Ida from Princess Sissi.

Suzhen and Xiaoqing's master tasks them to do good deeds in the human worldXu Xian expresses his respect for SuzhenSuzhen reveals the challenges of being a demon in the human world

This story is longer and more complete than other recent visual novels from Time Princess including Tang Dynasty Hunter and Princess Sissi. It allows ample time to explore the mortal and immortal realms, although it glazes over any technical details about how Suzhen and Xiaoqing heal their patients, so I didn't learn much about their professions, despite being a major focus of the story. White Snake gave me a better understanding and appreciation of Chinese mythology and how anyone could be a demon even if they look human and regardless of their intentions. The senseless racism and violence toward demons in is reminiscent of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials and how women were tragically killed over suspicion of having magical powers, regardless of whether they used those powers for good or evil. In this world, demons have the capacity do a great deal of good, but people like the wicked monk, Fahai, are determined to expose them and lock them away just because they are not natural-born humans.

Suzhen's flowing blue immortal dressSuzhen's black snake dress accented with gold scales and ribbonsSuzhen's medical robes and veil

I was a little worried that the costumes in this story would be too similar to the ones in Tang Dynasty Hunter since both take place in ancient China, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were not only different, but far more unique and creative. Instead of traditional Chinese robes, Suzhen has some lovely flowing dresses, many of which are accented with clever snake-like imagery that hint toward her true nature. I especially loved her blue immortal gown, which was covered with layers of ribbons, lace, and bows that flow like water, and topped off with gorgeous long lavender hair pinned with a silver jewel-encrusted hairpin. My second favorite outfit is her slinky black dress that is decorated with golden snake scales and playful ribbons and tassels. Many of the jewelry pieces for these sets are also snake-shaped or snake-inspired. The attention to detail that the designers placed on the theming in this book makes me even more eager to see what they would do with a mermaid story.

Suzhen and Xiaoqing attend a lantern festival togetherSuzhen sacrifices herself and reverts to her snake formXu Xian reaches a welcoming hand out to Suzhen

Overall, this is one of the better stories in Time Princess in terms of worldbuilding and gameplay. The decisions were challenging and less straightforward than some of the other stories. I genuinely wasn't sure which choices would give me a "good" or "bad" ending. In terms of romantic appeal, however, this story is one of the most lacking. There is only one potential love interest, and the romance between them is forced unnecessary since the story, at least in this incarnation, is more about racism than true love overcoming odds. I also wish this visual novel contained more original artwork since the few images that it has are incredibly beautiful and stylized. I also love the creativity that went into the snake accents on all the outfits. If you want to learn about Chinese mythology through Time Princess, I would definitely recommend White Snake over Tang Dynasty Hunter. However, if you are looking for something with more romance, I would lean in the direction of Romy and Julius or Little Women.

White Snake storybook


Unknown said…
I really liked how you were so thorough with this post! I've also been looking for blogs that reacted to this game because I'm debating on whether or not to download it too! After reading this, I couldn't help but install it! I agree, albeit hard to get (for me), all the dresses are stunning and unique! I hope that you can have a look at my blog too to help me a bit with my writing:! Thankyou for this!
Lisa Dawn said…
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your blog! I have posted a review for every visual novel in this game so far. You should be able to find all them in the "Games/Music/Misc." section in the menu bar of my blog. Time Princess shares a lot of free diamonds, stamina, and gold for various events, so if you play it for a long time, it gets much easier! I didn't even have to wait to collect any of the items I needed for this story because I had been stocking up for so long. I took your survey and thought it was a lot of fun. Do you watch the YouTube channel called The Take by any chance? They talk a lot about modern media and female empowerment. I was only familiar with some of the terminology in your survey because I watch that channel so much. Have a great day!
sajid said…
hey lisa thanku for sharing i like it and going to sahre with my freinds ia m from kolkata ff
Amber said…

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