Review: Time Princess - Infinite Shimmer

Infinite Shimmer is the latest visual novel in Time Princess. It was released in two parts and was well worth the wait. This is easily my favorite new visual novel this year. A great deal of time and effort went into making this an engaging story for long-time players of the app like myself. Infinite Shimmer is unique, beautiful, and insightful. It turns the science fiction genre, which is typically male-oriented, into something feminine and aesthetically pleasing, something that had never been done before except for the Barbie movie, Starlight Adventure, which was mediocre at best. When most people think of cyberpunk, they picture a bunch of depressed people walking around the remains of destroyed buildings carrying deadly weapons to pull on a dime wearing ripped leather and robotic limbs. Though this story takes place in a similar setting, it features an optimistic daydreamer who lives under the safety of a dome and dresses in glamorous pastel iridescent gowns that shift colors in the light.

In Infinite Shimmer, you play Aurora, a love psychologist who is one of the few people who still enjoys fairy tales despite living in a post-apocalyptic world. Aurora is incredibly relatable to those of us who have trouble identifying with the gloom-and-doom protagonists of most science fiction and cyberpunk universes. Instead of being guarded and standoffish, she focuses on the beautiful parts of life like love, kindness, and gorgeous fashion. It is for this reason that Theos, a tech developer, believes that Aurora is the perfect person to troubleshoot his latest product, an AI hologram named Novi whose sole purpose is romancing women. The story drops some obtuse references to Pygmalion, the Greek myth on which it is loosely based. Though this myth has been adapted before in various films such as One Touch of Venus, Mannequin, and the Disney Channel Original Movie, Pixel Perfect, it has never been done in a sci-fi setting like this. The story is incredibly relatable to anyone who has ever been in love with a fictional character. The visual novel's three lengthy chapters explore some insightful ideas such as what makes us human and whether fantasy can be just as moving and powerful as reality, especially when that reality has become a bleak dystopia. The exploration of AI's potential is particularly relevant for today's society in which AI has turned the entertainment industry on its head.

All three companions in this story are top-notch. An honorable mention also goes to KAITO, the lovable AI sidekick kitty with the brain of a dog. He is easily the most adorable sidekick out of all the visual novels in Time Princess. Novi and Theos serve as the primary love interests and allow players to choose between fantasy and reality if they wish to take a romantic route. Though Novi is programmed to love all women, he takes a liking to only Aurora and develops feelings toward her that seem to go beyond the limits of his programming. Theos teases Aurora about her love of romance novels but is clearly taken with the idea of such a light-hearted woman thriving in such a dark world. Personally, I prefer Novi between the two because this is one of the few stories that does not punish the player for choosing fantasy over reality, but the visual novel's multiple-ending mechanic allows players to choose whichever route is best for them. The third option, for players who are less interested in romance or more interested in exploring LGBT potential, is Selene, Aurora's childhood friend, who is an earthy mystic who loves reading tarot cards. Selene's route allows players to fully explore the corruption behind this post-apocalyptic world and find a way to make things better for everyone in it.

Alongside its inspired plot and setting, Infinite Shimmer also excels in the dress-up element of Time Princess. Far from the leather, metal, and grunge styles that cyberpunk characters typically prefer to wear, this story features stunning lavender, pink, and silver holographic pastels on each one of its out-of-this-world fashions. Even the most basic and easiest-to-obtain clothing items are breathtaking from the way they change colors as the player rotates them in the light to the unique silhouettes they create. As a fan of iridescent shades of lavender, I instantly fell in love with Aurora's Creed, the first gown that is available in the story, which forms a fit-and-flare silhouette of shimmering lavender starlight, long flowing iridescent hair, and a glowing tiara made of crystal. Other unique looks throughout the story include a galaxy-themed bodysuit with flared iridescent sleeves and train and a matching disc-like halo, a medieval-inspired shining armor ensemble complete with a golden gas mask to brave the destruction of the outside world, and some more casual two-piece outfits that are just as holographic and stunning as the more glamorous ones.

Infinite Shimmer stands out as a stunning addition to the Time Princess universe, captivating players with its unique blend of science fiction and feminine aesthetics. The visual novel's protagonist, Aurora, offers a refreshing departure from the typical brooding characters found in the genre, instead celebrating love, kindness, and enchanting fashion. The narrative deftly explores the boundaries between fantasy and reality in a post-apocalyptic world, while also delving into complex themes such as the nature of humanity and the potential of AI. The diverse range of companions and romantic options, coupled with the exquisite dress-up element featuring mesmerizing holographic pastel ensembles, further enhance the immersive experience. Infinite Shimmer succeeds in offering a compelling and inclusive storytelling experience that resonates with both longtime fans of the app and newcomers alike.


Sugar said…
Oh I love it! I will prioritize downloading this novel when I finally pick up Time Princess hahaha life has been kind of busy. Honestly, when I saw the image you put as the "cover" for this article I thought it would be a magical girl novel hahaha.
The cute aesthetic and the kitty companion seem to fit.

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