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Game Info:

The Bell Chimes for Gold
Developed by: Otuson Club
Published by: Sekai Project
Release date: April 6, 2018
Available on: Windows
Genre: Dating simulation
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $9.99

Thank you Sekai Project for sending us this game to review!

The Bell Chimes for Gold had a rough start with an unsuccessful Indiegogo campaign. The Japanese developers were not deterred and moved onto a Patreon format to produce an English Translation and an adult version of the game. We’re reviewing the (clean) Steam version which is available thanks to Sekai Project.

Although The Bell Chimes for Gold seemed to target PC users, the oblong resolution and controls made me assume that this game was a mobile port. Other than the mature option, I could not find any other versions available. Despite the unusual resolution, this game is still cute and reminds me of Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale.

The Bell Chimes for Gold begins with Maria’s mentor and prospective husband, Richard, confessing that he impregnated her friend Jessica. As a result he will marry her and put an end to the student/teacher relationship he has with Maria. The parting words of his really ruffle Maria’s feathers and she vows to make a lot of money to buy herself a husband that will put up with her “plain Jane” appearance.

The Bell Chimes for Gold
Highlights:

Strong Points: Interesting premise and fun gameplay
Weak Points: Weird resolutions that would make this game ideal for mobile devices; can be completed in a couple of hours; repetitive dialogue; uninteresting bachelors
Moral Warnings: Sexual references and an 18+ version is available outside of Steam;  swearing, drinking and gambling references; magic/necromancy

Richard did acknowledge Maria’s great skills as an herbalist and by creating and selling potions, she’ll earn enough money to win over one of the five eligible bachelors. The problem is that the prospective marriage candidates are all flawed in one way or another. The best looking of the bunch (and Steam reviewer favorite) is William, the naive elf who everyone takes advantage of. Other bachelors have drinking, gambling, selfishness, or obsession issues.

In order to snag a husband, Maria must pay down their debts that increase from a few thousand gold to over one hundred thousand. As daunting as that sounds, it doesn’t take long to accumulate the cash and you can win over the bachelor of your choice within a couple of hours.
At her house, Maria can check her stats to see how much energy and stamina she has. Energy is required for making potions and stamina is needed to venture forth into a dungeon with a hired bachelor bodyguard at her side. If either of those attributes are lacking, a potion can be used by Maria or a bodyguard to replenish them. Status potions can remove negative status effects like sleep and poison. Love and aphrodisiac potions are good for selling. Every new day reveals a potion that will sell for more or less than normal. It’s good to sell on days where a potion is worth three times its typical price. Try to keep healing, energy, and stamina potions on hand for dungeon excursions.

In town, Maria can go into the alley to talk to a merchant that can buff up her bodyguard for a price. If you visit different parts of the town at different times of the day you’ll have a chance to meet everyone and see the same conversations looping every day. There’s not a lot of dialogue, but the gameplay is still entertaining.

At the tavern, Maria can buy cheap liquor needed to make some potions. The rest of the ingredients will have to be obtained in dungeons. With the help of a bodyguard, Maria can venture out and gather directly, or she can pay to have the items gathered and delivered at her house the following day. Doing both is possible and that’s what I typically did.

The Bell Chimes for Gold
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 64%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 2/10
Sexual Content - 7/10
Occult/Supernatural - 6/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The dungeon exploration is pretty simplistic. As long as the bodyguard has enough stamina/steps they can move forward. Almost every step triggers an event. There may be an ingredient that needs to be collected, or an enemy that needs to be defeated. Energy can be spent to disable random traps and open up treasure chests. Sometimes an option to skip ahead ten steps is offered as long as you have the ten energy points required. After ninety-nine steps are taken, a boss battle begins.

If the bodyguard runs out of stamina or health, the dungeon ends and the characters head back to town. There doesn’t seem to be any penalty for depleting a bodyguard’s stamina or health fully. After a dungeon run is finished, the stats are shown including the amount and monetary value of the ingredients collected along with the bounty for each monster killed. Maria can choose how much to pay her bodyguard. She can be stingy, fair, or leave a reasonable to generous tip. The tip amount doesn’t seem to impact the bachelor/bodyguard’s feelings as much as paying down their debts. However, the more you use a bodyguard, the stronger they will get. It’s also worth noting that each bodyguard has an affinity or special ability that usually gives them an advantage in specific dungeons.

While romancing/paying William’s debts, I did encounter some moral issues worth noting. There is some language (d*mn, *sshole) and blaspheming. Kissing is shown and the two love birds seem to agree to be life partners as they decide to move in together. No word or mention of an official wedding ceremony. I'm not sure how the adult version differs, but ignorance is bliss.

In the end, The Bell Chimes for Gold is a quirky, but cute game. If you like simple dungeon crawlers and dating simulations, this game may scratch that itch. There are no Steam achievements or trading cards available as of this review. The $9.99 price is reasonable if you plan on multiple playthroughs or partners. After the credits roll, you can keep your current guy and continue making money if you desire to do so.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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