As parenthood steadily becomes a more difficult milestone, we can always rely on the raising simulator genre to teach us the basics. Volcano Princess is a raising-social simulator with light RPG elements that puts the player in the role of a father preparing his daughter for the future. While Volcano Princess does not deviate from the standard raising simulator gameplay, it still offers a unique experience.
As per the standard for a raising simulator, you will be taking care of your daughter by managing what daily activities she will participate in. The first phase begins with your daughter in middle childhood and your in-game father player character taking the lead. Traveling around town allows you to interact with a cast of characters and participate in activities, which lead to various stat boosts or extra resources.
Most activities that offer stat boosts require Action Points, which limit the number of your activity participation. Characters will appear to converse with you, and your response will determine what stat bonus your child will receive. Beyond that, you will have access to facilities that will let you spend Gold or items to replenish Action Points and Mood.
Your daughter’s Mood is another resource similar to Action Points. Mood is spent on courses your daughter will complete after you conclude your foray into town. Once you have spent your Mood and potentially some Gold, you view the outcomes of your daughter’s courses. After reviewing, you cycle back to interacting with the town, potentially with some characters.
During the Demo, after the 6th cycle, you and your daughter participate in a festival, which lets you participate in a few minigames. After the festival, you time skip into your daughter’s young adolescence, which is the core of the gameplay. While the Demo cuts itself short, it does introduce the RPG aspects and how to potentially team build, new jobs and activities your daughter can participate in, and most importantly, the new academy your daughter is now attending.
Within the academy, your daughter meets a new set of teenage characters that you can interact with in various ways. The courses you can take in the academy will become more fundamental to the overall growth goals. The academy introduces three houses, focusing on the three different goals your daughter can achieve. These include specializing in combat, becoming a socialite, or becoming a scholar. While the player can choose any path, micro-managing long-term goals will be crucial to achieving a preferred outcome.
There is a decent variation of minigames available. At the start, you will have access to farming and cooking. Farming lets you reproduce vegetables and other produce while cooking allows you to use your materials to craft dishes with varying uses. During the festival, you participate in a mathematics competition, which tests how quickly you can do basic math.
After the time skips, you gain access to gambling money in combat dice battles. The combat dice are seemingly complex, and you can create different load-outs with the die you receive. The last minigame within the scope of the Demo was performing theater, which has you select dialogue options to fit a mood within a play. These minigames help flesh out the world and activities and offer a break from the typical gameplay loop.
Overall, Volcano Princess did not bring any unique core gameplay elements to the social raising simulator genre, but this is not to its detriment. While there are only four main stats to manage for your daughter, the reduced complexity from what you would see in similar games offers a more casual experience.
This more casual gameplay cycle entices several playthroughs and a potential focus on character relationships between your daughter and her classmates. Coupled with the pleasing UI, appealing character artwork and sprites, and worldbuilding, Volcano Princess is shaping up to be a great game within the raising simulator genre for newcomers and experienced players seeking a relaxing experience.
Volcano Princess will be released on April 21, 2023, on Steam.
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