Thank you Aksys Games for sending us a review code!
The kingdom of Escholita is ruled by a king who can wield magic. His young son, prince Colvius has even more magical abilities. However, he’s been cursed and hasn’t spoken or aged in ten years. Emotions play a big role in this kingdom with happiness causing special flowers to bloom and negative emotions spawning fiends that possess those that come in contact with them. In an effort to bloom more flowers to cure the prince’s curse, the king commissions a circus troupe to tour the cities and cheer up the residents within. In the capital of Artheir is a cozy tavern called Liber where the heroine (default name is Tifalia) works with her adoptive mom, Spirea, and a fluffy fey beast named Radie. Fey beasts can typically transform into a human-like appearance, but Tifalia hasn’t seen Radie’s human from.
Despite the customers praising the different towns they come from, Tifalia is content staying at the tavern for the foreseeable future. That is until a dragon named Vilio crash-lands in front of it with his circus troupe friends not too far away from the commotion. Upon meeting everyone and providing thought provoking insight, the circus troupe leader, Jinnia draws up a contract to have Tifalia join their crew to help promote their events. In exchange for her service in healing the prince, she’ll be granted a wish by the king.
And so, Tifalia’s romantic adventure begins! Radiant Tale is an otome (reverse harem) visual novel with multiple eligible bachelors to date. There are multiple routes with normal and happy endings. Most of the routes are available up front, with the exception for Vilio’s which is unlocked after the other four are completed. Jinnia is not a datable character, but with his feminine appearance and adoration of shopping and makeup, I’m not sure if he’s interested in women.
I highly recommend following a guide to clear the common route and how to get the best endings for the remaining characters: Ion, Paschalia, Radie, and Zafora. Each character has a different personality and the banter between everyone is hilarious. I have little to complain about the game, but if I have to nitpick, it’s a shame that each of the bachelors has a tragic backstory that’s bound to tug on your heart strings a bit. I wonder how a guy with a normal life would fare in this ragtag group of entertainers. Tifalia has a rough start in life by losing her parents when she was ten years old. Radie has been by her side ever since. Once his human form is revealed, Radie becomes an eligible bachelor.
Traveling to the various cities and doing circus performances becomes formulaic. When you arrive in each town, you have to investigate and to find the best way to draw interest in the show. There’s an underlying issue in each town that needs to be addressed to restore order and to save humanity.
Throughout Tifalia’s adventure she’ll get to see mankind’s sinful nature including their selfishness, greed, and hunger for power. Bloodshed and murder is seen along with characters getting drunk and hung over. Various curse words like *ss, d*mn and b*stard will be uttered in front of her too. While gods are not talked about than the occasional blasphemous name drop, there are various elemental spirits with some being more powerful than others. The great water spirit is female and isn’t shy about showing off her curves. Tifalia will also get to witness fiends possessing characters and the cruel, yet merciful fate that awaits them afterward.
The artwork in the game is superb. The characters have a wide variety of emotions and their facial expressions will change as they talk. Some story sequences are shown in an adorable chibi art style. Like many visual novels, you can unlock images to complete the artwork gallery in the Extras menu.
The Japanese voice acting does not disappoint and you can feel the emotion behind the characters' lines. There are some English phrases used and each of the circus performances begins with “Ladies and Gentleman”. The background music sets the mood appropriately and is pleasant to listen to.
Overall Radiant Tale is a well-made otome visual novel. I enjoyed the characters and story and savored my twenty-five or more hours spent playing it. I highly recommend it if you don’t mind the language, violence, and magic use.