Title: Little Goody Two Shoes
Release Date: October 31, 2023
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Square Enix Collective
Little Goody Two Shoes is an adventure with multiple layers. The marketing might lead you to believe it’s about a girl striving to claim her piece of the pie, but if you delve deeper, not everything is as it appears. As a prequel to AstralShift’s initial game, Pocket Mirror, Little Goody Two Shoes wears various hats within the horror adventure genre. It’s an experience that grows darker the further you venture down the rabbit hole. Once you reach the bottom, you’re forced to revisit the many deceptive events that guided you along this path.
Exploring Kierferberg Village in Little Goody Two Shoes
Little Goody Two Shoes unfolds in Kierferberg Village. An opening montage weaves together the life of our protagonist, Elise, who has recently lost her grandmother and is struggling to make ends meet. One night, after work, she discovers a mysterious girl named Rozenmarine has broken into her house. Now, let’s make one thing clear about Elise: she was content with her grandma, but she’s come to resent many of the villagers and despises her poverty. So, she seizes the opportunity to make Rozenmarine her maid for inconveniencing her.
It’s an experience that grows darker the further you venture down the rabbit hole.
Their relationship is one dictated by fate, yet Elise also shares strong bonds with a few other girls from the town, Lebkuchen and Freya. While Rozenmarine’s identity as a stranger must remain hidden, Elise seeks advice from her friends and grows closer to them. It can become rather complicated when you’re trying to figure out how to spend your in-game days and with which friends to spend your time.
There’s also the option to do chores for money, but that can be quite dull. Anyway, as you spend time with the girls, you’ll have the chance to answer questions that could earn Heart Pieces, guiding you down select routes. With over ten possible endings, if you don’t manage to answer the right questions or pursue the events you desire, you’ll have another shot during subsequent playthroughs.
The Deceptive Depths of Little Goody Two Shoes
However, this is where the game becomes a bit deceptive. It sets up the foundation of a low-stakes adventure that gradually reveals itself as a supernatural and psychological maze. Each day, you must make choices regarding how you’ll allocate your time. Doing chores or going on dates advances time, opening up new events. The game world is quite vast, so by the third in-game day, you might find yourself wishing for a fast travel option, though Elise is quite fast, so it’s not a major issue. Taking on chores leads to mini-games, which are usually pretty straightforward. There aren’t too many of them, but you typically have a choice between two, so you can pick your favorite.
At the end of each day, Elise enters a sort of nightmare realm that reveals many of the underlying truths plaguing the village. There’s a lot to dissect here because each night introduces a different dilemma, but this is where you’ll likely meet your end. If Elise’s HP reaches zero, she dies, and there isn’t an Auto-Save feature, so remember to save frequently.
Several gauges demand your attention when it comes to Elise. She has a sanity meter that decreases as she interacts with ghosts, a hunger meter that drops throughout the day, health, and a sub-gauge that keeps track of how many matches she possesses. If any of these hit zero, you might be in trouble. As they deplete, Elise’s vision worsens, and if you don’t have a match while walking in the dark, you’ll have difficulty navigating the field.
I found the matches to be the most frustrating aspect of the game. There was one point where I couldn’t progress because I ran out of matches, so I had to reload an earlier save. It also doesn’t help that the shops for food and matches are quite far from each other. So, keep a close eye on everything, as you’ll only be making the nighttime portions more challenging for yourself.
Ultimately, Little Goody Two Shoes stands as a remarkable achievement in the RPG Maker-style horror genre, pushing boundaries and setting a high standard for indie game development.
That said, let me clarify one aspect of this game’s true brilliance. Like many classic RPG-Maker-style horror games, there are always a few systems that don’t meet modern standards. However, these games can break rules within their storytelling to deliver emotional and traumatic moments that aren’t typically explored in other genres.
Little Goody Two Shoes: A Benchmark in RPG Maker-Style Horror
Little Goody Two Shoes serves as a showcase of an RPG Maker-style game for the modern era. It retains all the quirks and narrative beats you’d expect from an RPG Maker game but presents them in a unique way. Developed by an indie team of artists and animators, Little Goody Two Shoes has raised the bar for these types of horror games, evident from the moment you begin the game.
Little Goody Two Shoes is best experienced through multiple playthroughs. Fortunately, there is a speed-up function that hastens the text. Other accessibility features include a map and quest guide, making it nearly impossible to get lost. If you’re looking for more worldbuilding, NPCs around town consistently provide context to events, meaning it’s almost essential to speak with everyone to learn everything. This also gives you an opportunity to convince the townsfolk that Rozenmarine isn’t a witch. Oh yes, I forgot to mention, there’s a suspicion meter that increases if you draw too much attention to Rozenmarine. It’s controlled by your in-dialogue choices, so be sure to read everything, but there are plenty of opportunities to lower this suspicion.
Little Goody Two Shoes serves as a showcase of an RPG Maker-style game for the modern era.
Some pain points arise from overly challenging puzzle designs that seem to rely on trial and error. The numerous gauges you must monitor, coupled with the need to manage your finances to afford items, create a somewhat tedious side loop within the campaign that doesn’t necessarily enhance the experience. Furthermore, the game adheres to a classic design choice where you have to open your menu to use items such as keys, which I felt wasn’t necessary. Nevertheless, if you are familiar with the series’ roots, you will likely overlook these systems.
And let’s not forget about the music, which effectively immerses the player in the environments, along with the almost fairytale-like illustrations. You also have the option for Japanese and English audio; I tried both and found them equally impressive. Although not all of the text has audio, there are various reactions during skits.
Little Goody Two Shoes offers a captivating and multifaceted adventure that defies initial expectations. It weaves a tale of complexity and deception, gradually unraveling into a supernatural and psychological maze. With a well-developed narrative and unique systems, it keeps players engaged across multiple playthroughs. While it does present some minor challenges, particularly in managing the various gauges, its artistic and audio elements immerse players in a captivating and eerie world. Ultimately, Little Goody Two Shoes stands as a remarkable achievement in the RPG Maker-style horror genre, pushing boundaries and setting a high standard for indie game development.
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