Review: Time Princess - Whispers of the Rain

From the game that brought interactive historical fiction about royal figures like Marie Antoinette and Princess Sissi and creative gender-swapped retellings of Swan Lake, Aladdin, and Romeo and Juliet comes a story about a woman who finds an abandoned baby in the middle of the street. This latest visual novel from Time Princess feels a little out of left field considering how much history, mythology, and fantasy the game has tackled in the past. Whispers of the Rain takes place in 1980s Japan, but the story is so universal that it could take place anywhere. It also contains some of my least favorite costumes in this series to date. Everything looks so plain and boring compared to the extravagant ensembles from other visual novels in this game. With two more new stories coming out just around the bend, it seems like they're phoning it in to release as much content as they can as quickly as possible.

Whispers of the Rain visual novel cover

Whispers of the Rain follows Time Princess's recent trend of gritty crime dramas, though it isn't nearly as dark as Have You Seen Claudia? In fact, this story could have worked well as a TV drama or novel, but not so much in the context of a dress-up game. The setting doesn't feel as culturally diverse as many of the other stories from this game, including Taisho Adventures, which also takes place in Japan. Like Dancing On Ice, Whispers features an ambitious young woman who is down on her luck due to an incompetent parent. Chie is an aspiring art curator who dreams of opening her own gallery. The art world has its share of drama between forgeries and conning patrons, but I personally did not find this setting particularly interesting. What really drives the story is Chie's quest to find out who abandoned Haruko, the baby she finds and decides to care for alongside the two new companions she meets that day.


Since Whispers of the Rain focuses more on parental love than romantic love, the two companion characters--Mr. Takahashi and Miss Ayano--take on the role of co-parents alongside Chie more so than love interests. Both Takahashi and Ayano have dark pasts. The motivation to complete the story relies heavily on how interested the player is in learning their secrets as well as finding out who Haruko's true mother is. Mr. Takahashi is a nice guy, but not particularly interesting, whereas Ayano is the exact opposite. She is stunningly beautiful in a hot pink silken gown and extravagant fur overcoat but she is also rather selfish, which is explained by the tragedy she experienced in her life prior to meeting Chie. These two unlikely companions balance each other's strengths and weaknesses well, which make them good co-parents to Haruko and supportive figures for Chie to rely on.

Miss Ayano under a blue sky with her hair blowing in the windChie desperately hugs Mr. TakahashiGroup photo of Mr. Takahashi, Chie, Miss Ayano, and baby Haruko

Since Time Princess is a dress-up game, fashion is an important aspect. That is where I think Whispers of the Rain falls short. There were a few outfits that I thought were okay, but none of them had that "wow" factor that so many other stories from this game evoke, especially the historical ones. The outfits here are pretty modern, and some of them look downright sloppy. Chie's low-cut white blouse that reveals her black bra underneath accessorized with a red plaid skirt, red lightning bolt-shaped sunglasses, and a double bun with a red streak in it made me chuckle the first time I saw it. It makes sense for an art fanatic to take some risks, but that ensemble is pretty ridiculous when all is said and done. My favorite dress is the black and white gown that Ayano gives Chie to wear to a gallery opening. It is accessorized by an oversized black hat that slants off to the side and reminds me of My Fair Lady. Chie also has many casual looks, including a soft pink overcoat that falls all the way down to her ankles.

Chie in a daring low-cut white blouse, red plaid skirt, double bun hairdo, and red lightning bolt-shaped sunglassesChie in a fancy black and white art curator gownChie in an elegant and cozy long pink jacket

Overall, Whispers of the Rain is nothing special compared to many of the riskier visual novels this game has tackled on history and fairy tales. It feels more like a Lifetime Original Movie than historical fiction. There is some drama and surprises, but nothing particularly mind-blowing. Nothing in this setting particularly screams Japan or the 1980s, and the outfits aren't that fun compared to some of the previous stories in this game. I think I speak for many Time Princess fans when I say I'm far more excited for the next visual novel, which will be inspired by the life of Queen Cleopatra.

Whispers of the Rain story map

Comments

Barbara Schuch said…
How can I unlock the 2-13, to unlock the 2-16?

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