Of all the many otome games coming out this year, Radiant Tale is one I was especially excited for because of how beautiful it is.
Set in a fantasy world, you play as a girl named Tifalia who joins the traveling group known as CIRCUS, on a mission to spread happiness across the land to save the prince whose heart was sealed away.
Based on its official description, I expected it to be primarily about helping the members of this circus overcome the difficulties preventing them from performing well, but that’s not really it.
Actually, they get their act together pretty quickly as far as the performance goes, and the common route is more about their journey across the kingdom, learning more about the problems in each major city, and watching them come together as a group of friends, while the individual routes focus on conflicts much more serious than having trouble with a circus act.
Radiant Tale is lighthearted overall, although it does deal with serious situations. Some of the routes were a lot more intense and dramatic than I expected going into it.
Its story often comes across like it’s saying, “We can solve all of society’s problems just by putting on a really good circus show!” which is disappointing if you were hoping for a more serious approach, but I can suspend my disbelief for that sort of feel-good, fairytale-esque solution, especially in such a fantasy setting.
As a result, I feel Radiant Tale is at its strongest when it focuses on the personal conflict of the love interests, and at its weakest when it tries to deal with the greater scope beyond that.
The love interests are all fairly likeable. My favorite is Ion, the taciturn warrior who unintentionally intimidates people while actually being a polite, sweet man and a great cook. It’s like he was created from all my favorite tropes. I also found myself unexpectedly happy with Zafora, the tsundere character, because he’s the sort of cute tsundere who will do nice things while pretending he isn’t. Unfortunately, Zafora’s route was one of the weakest to me. Some of the routes are great and really won a place in my heart, but others have odd pacing that made the romance feel underdeveloped. (The final route also requires you to play through a new version of the common route that you can’t skip despite having some parts that are the same as in the regular common route, which is tedious.)
All of this means that I really hope the Radiant Tale fandisc gets localized, so I can spend more time with the characters I love and get a second chance for the ones whose routes let me down, all in a gorgeous, if idealistic, fantasy world.
If you enjoy otome games and fantasy settings, you definitely should give Radiant Tale a try. It’s a beautiful, lighthearted, and sometimes emotionally intense game with a cast of characters I grew to love.---
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