Over the years, we’ve been subjected to countless concepts for simulator games, from tending farms and operating public transport to causing wanton destruction as a goat. But what about being a parent in a post-apocalyptic world? Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator, developed by Studio Namaapa and published by PQube Limited, stitches together elements of the visual novel and RPG genres within an engrossing management sim.
In the 30th Century, most of human civilization was wiped out by an alien creature known as Gigant. The survivors constructed floating cities in the sky, called ARKs, and lived in solitude away from the Surface. After the destruction of an ARK, believed to be caused by the return of Gigant and its army, a little girl named Ciel was found amidst the rubble. You’ve been tasked to raise her and take care of Ciel (or whatever you want to name her in-game) until she’s old enough to decide what she wants to do with her life.
It’s a bummer that the visuals are of average-quality. The backgrounds are distinguishable enough, but the character designs and static animation during cutscenes are a tad basic. Everyone slides on and off-screen with their arms to their side most of the time, and their expressions are a bit deadpan. It doesn’t drag the product on the whole down, though, and it remains one of its few weak points. At least the chibi versions of each character look cute, and the music is peppy and upbeat.
After starting the game, you’ll need to choose your character background, which’ll affect your parenting skills in both a good and bad way. From that point onward, you must schedule activities for each week. Attending classes, resting, doing chores for money and the like will take up one day per week, respectively. These’ll help her develop and learn new skills, but you’ll need to keep an eye on her stamina levels and headspace, as neglecting these will make her ill.
There’s even more things to take into consideration: height, weight, strength, intelligence, creativity, spirituality, and a whole heap of minor skills. Slacking off with studies makes her lose points in some areas after every month, which can be annoying to deal with. Levelling up her stats and skills, however, will grant her some very helpful abilities. It may seem a bit daunting at first, yet there are plenty of tutorials that’ll be drip-fed to you as you progress, all of which explain the game’s well-implemented RPG mechanics in a concise and understandable way. The ARK Administration will also keep in touch, in case problematic events crop up.
The game has an awesome battle system system that’ll crop up in various scenarios, whether Ciel is in class, participating in sports, or quite literally fighting for her life on the Surface. At the bottom of the screen are nine diamond-shaped cards of varying sizes colours. Collecting a trio of cards with the same colour – a set – will deal damage, increase the score, and will allow her to perform special moves. On top of that, sets will help her perform mundane tasks, like swim lengths or play music.
The objectives of each encounter will vary, and this helps prevent it from becoming too redundant. You may need to complete these without making a mistake, or before an enemy leaves the screen. It requires quick reflexes and tactical thinking, and it won’t take too long to get the hang of. Thankfully, most of the time, they can be skipped entirely if you’re not in the mood.
Equipped clothing and accessories can give some small but handy stat boosts or bonus abilities, like stamina conservation, while consumables can be used in a pinch to keep her healthy. Both of these can be found in the shops, but the prices are astronomical. Annoyingly, the clothes shops will only vaguely describe their benefits without specifying how effective these perks are until you’ve purchased them.
If you’re after a title with longevity, this is precisely what you’ll get here. The first chapter alone will take at least 8 hours of gameplay to complete. There’s a lot of cutscenes, though most are not necessary to watch, unless you’d like to get to know the likeable characters you’ll come across in the game. The game ends once Ciel is 20 years old, and you’ll be graded on your child-raising efforts based on how high you levelled up her skills, which in turn will affect which ending you get. Shockingly, there’s over thirty of them!
Despite its niggles, Studio Namaapa has a real cracker on their hands here. The skill-management and RPG elements are engaging and rewarding, plus its intriguing story is backed-up by a delightful cast of characters and a peppy soundtrack, too. So long as you don’t mind a bit of grinding, Ciel Fledge: Daughter Raising Simulator is a deep, rich and rewarding title that’ll make you feel like a proud parent.