Review: Time Princess - Lunar Legend

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate! Though Time Princess released a limited holiday visual novel, there was a full-length story that came out last week as well, and that is what I will be reviewing today. Lunar Legend reimagines the story of "Beauty and the Beast" with a steampunk aesthetic. It's a rare treat for this game to tackle another fairy tale so soon after Sisters of the Sea, but this adaptation lacked the heart of the original as a result of throwing in so many other subplots that it convoluted the main story. I found that I cared very little about the main couple getting together as there was far more at stake for the rest of the kingdom than a beast's humanity.

Lunar Legend is about a girl named Hannah who is searching for her lost memories while caring for her father, Harry. When Harry is struck by the same deadly illness that had afflicted her entire village, Hannah enters a creepy forest made of iron to find a cure. There, she encounters a werewolf and his cub companion who force her to stay in their mysterious castle. Once there, she discovers the source of the illness she was searching for, but coming up with a cure proves to be a much trickier endeavor. Many people stand in the way of Hannah's goal to find a cure such as a conniving merchant, the mysterious enchantress who keeps showing up at the most inopportune times and refuses to reveal her true identity, and the clockwork doll that came to life and follows Hannah around on her journey who she must protect at all costs.

Of all the visual novels in Time Princess, Lunar Legend has some of the least compelling companions I've encountered thus far. There's only one canonical love interest--Arnold, the werewolf--but he never does or says anything heartwarming enough to truly deserve her love. Bodwin is an arrogant merchant whom Hannah despises on sight and never grows as a person even after learning his backstory. The only companion I cared about at all was Clara, the living doll who could control time with her gears, but she never had enough relevance to the main plot to seem necessary. As much as I wanted to care about these characters, they felt more like the writers were marking off a checklist for a steampunk fairy tale rather than the fully fleshed-out beings from previous stories.

This visual novel places far more focus on its aesthetic than its plot and characters. It's the first story in Time Princess to take place in a steampunk world, and for that reason alone, the outfits are unlike any others that have been released in the game so far. Most of the costumes follow the standard steampunk clich├ęs, such as tophats with goggles on them, clockwork gears, and the traditional brown and beige color scheme. This purely fantasy aesthetic has never held much appeal for me since I prefer brighter colors and grander designs, but the game did a good job with what it was trying to do. There were also a few less steampunk-inspired options including a Tinker Bell-style dress and a "Red Riding Hood" inspired number, playing off the fairy tale elements of the plot.

As pleased as I was to see Time Princess release another fairy tale story so soon after the last one, I was disappointed to find that it focused so much more on the setting than on the heart of the story. Though it was based on one of the greatest love stories of all time, there was very little romance to be found in this apathetic world of ticking gears and disease. My personal opinion is that the novel was trying to tackle too many different things at the same time and was unable to fully develop any of them as a result. As such, I would not recommend this story to newer players. If you are looking for a more robust fairy tale reimaging, check out Magic Lamp, one of the first visual novels the game released.


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