Title: EverLove: Rose
Price: TBA, $3.99 on iOS
System(s): PC, also on iOS and Android
Release Date: TBA, available now on iOS and September 11, 2013 on Android
Publisher (Developer): Silicon Sisters Interactive (Silicon Sisters Interactive)
ESRB Rating: N/A. Since there is optional, somewhat mature content, I’d say players should be at least 16.
I play a lot of dating sims for women for fun. It’s mainly about the stories, because sometimes you run across a really interesting one. Other times, it’s for the gameplay. There are even times when I do it for giggles, because I’m sure a game is going to be hilariously bad. In the case of EverLove: Rose, I did it because the premise seemed intriguing. The story was interesting and character art inviting, and even though the idea of hidden object elements almost scared me off, I decided to dive in and see what it was all about.
Dreams of another life.
EverLove Rose begins with a woman named Rose on what appears to be a therapist’s couch. It’s a contemporary setting, and she’s talking to Doctor Alys about strange dreams she’s been having about a beast. Her doctor says she’s about to put her under, and it appears there’s going to be some past life regression therapy.
Except when Rose opens her eyes, she’s actually in the past. She’s in the town of Heart’s Home, speaking with her friend Fendrel. She appears to actually be in the mind of one of her past incarnations, also known as Rose. This version of herself is having the same, strange dreams, except they seem to be brought on for a different reason. Her father was a medic in this medieval time, one who served the royal family. After the queen fell ill and died, something strange happened. Her family’s home was burned down, her father killed, and rumors were a strange beast was the cause of it. The same beast both the present and past incarnations of Rose dream about.
Though Rose seems a practical sort, there seems to be something truly supernatural afoot. Something definitely happened to her past incarnation’s father, and the strange dreams are doing something to her. Fortunately, she has her friend Fendrel, four potential bachelors, and her therapist checking in from time to time, using her former selves’ aunt’s body to offer advice.
Better than expected, for a number of reasons.
As I mentioned before, I was initially a bit worried about EverLove: Rose. While the production values seemed good, the leaning towards casual concerned me, especially the inclusion of hidden object puzzles. I shouldn’t have worried. If anything, the more casual approach actually makes the game more enjoyable.
EverLove: Rose proceeds along a “map” of Heart’s Home. Icons appear with a face or item picture on it, to indicate if the next event will involve a conversation, a hidden object search or a jigsaw puzzle. Most are conversations, of course. When one comes up, Rose will advance the story, talking to characters. Her responses will not only improve her relationships with one of the four bachelors, but will also boost her stats based on how she reacts to certain situations. There are typically three possible actions Rose can take when prompted, and the response may boost her Kindness, Wisdom, Romance, Responsibility or Will stats. Naturally, certain men prefer certain stats, which can influence the story.
What’s interesting is that EverLove: Rose is designed in such a way that any event icon can be replayed. Players can see from the world map how many “hearts” they could have earned with each character in any particular scene, and can then return and replay that scene as many times as desired, until they have a playthrough where every heart is earned. Since the path splits in four ways at about the halfway point of the story, it means it’s much easier for players to go back and pursue other paths after completing other routes, coming closer to reaching the secret ending.
The story is especially interesting. The whole idea of the kind of regression therapy Rose is undergoing has supernatural elements, but the way the past Rose’s life ties into the current Rose’s situation is intriguing. It’s well written and interesting, and I particularly like how three of the bachelors occupy morally grey areas. Play through their route, and their actions may seem justified and mostly reasonable, while in other routes it’s easy to see how they could be wrong. I wasn’t fond of all of the characters, Prince Warwick seems a bit weak compared to the other bachelors, but most are well written.
The only concern I do have is with the hidden object puzzles. Which is reasonable, since that’s what gave me pause about EverLove: Rose in the first place. It isn’t that they’re bad. They actually do fit in, as they’re tied to past-Rose’s life as a healer and always involve gathering various plants for medicines. I just couldn’t help but see them as an excuse for Rose to “stumble” upon ripped up paper for jigsaw puzzles that would provide insight into some of the characters’ pasts or the Heart’s Home world. They were never terribly challenging on the PC, though the items could be difficult to see in the Android version, and I guess it just felt like it broke up the flow of what would otherwise be an engaging visual novel.
Entertaining EverLove: Rose
The hidden object puzzles may feel generic, but the rest of EverLove: Rose is actually a refreshing, casual, otome adventure. This particular dating sim has an interesting premise, makes exploring other character routes effortless, and has some remarkably detailed character art and environment. People looking for a romantic adventure with just a dash of item hunting and jigsaw puzzle solving thrown may want to give EverLove a chance.
Site [Silicon Sisters Interactive]