What are little girls made of? What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what little girls are made of. Take a trip into the magical land of A Little Lily Princess from Ratalaika Games, and you’ll be able to fully appreciate what little girls are made of.
Based on the novel A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the game transports us to Victorian era London and places us into the shoes of Sara Crewe. Sara is a very positive young girl with a vivid imagination and a penchant for storytelling. Born and raised in India, she’s been sent by her English father to London, to attend boarding school.
While this game is primarily a visual novel, there is also a life management simulation mechanic to navigate as well. Players are tasked at the start of each week to choose Sara’s activities. These activities then generate resources that can be “spent” on friendship events with the other girls in the story.
There are six different characters to befriend, and possibly romance, as you progress through the story. At the very beginning of the game players are warned to try and focus on only two or three characters, as it isn’t possible to complete everyone’s story in one playthrough. This does give A Little Lily Princess a nice amount of replayability.
The resource management mechanic is, to put it simply, a bit of a random number generator fiesta. For example, if you choose ‘Read a Book’, there are three different possible outcomes, and whichever one is chosen is very much at random. This makes the management system feel a bit arbitrary: it could have just as easily let players roll a dice or spin a wheel and have a random stat added. More often than not, I found myself spamming one activity over and over during the week in the hopes that the one stat I needed would be chosen.
The randomness of the resources does have an impact on the story, as not all events that happen are directly because of purchasing an event with a certain character. As Sara’s week progresses, all kinds of events in her life happen. Things like visiting a museum, attending dance classes, or telling stories to the other girls. The scenes you witness are correlated with Sara’s stats.
The story, and particularly the character of Sara, is what makes this game worth playing. Sara sees the world through some fantastic rose-coloured glasses. It is an especially delightful perspective during these more bleak times. Sara sees the magic in everything, and her flights of fancy are so innocent and uplifting that players will be rooting for her.
For those who haven’t read the source material, the story is full of surprises, and the multiple endings will leave you coming back for more. Also, in true visual novel fashion, completionists will be happy to know that there are collectables in the form of cut-scene artwork.
And what lovely artwork it is! Drawn in the familiar anime style, the cute outfits and delightful settings are quite lovely. There are a smattering of adorable chibi-artworks to be had as well.
Musically, the game is outstanding. The soundtrack is a pleasure to listen to. The piano music sets the mood of each scene quite nicely!
All in all, A Little Lily Princess is a quaint visual novel with a very random life-management simulation aspect. Rather than choosing dialogue options, the resources collected and the scenes you choose are what affects the story — and which ending — you’ll see.
A Little Lily Princess £11.99
A Little Lily Princess is a character driven visual novel with great art and wonderful music. The life-simulation aspect is a bit random but if you’re a fan of a good story you’ll want to pick this one up.