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Warnings for dubious consent

The good:

This game looks very pretty. The graphics seem to have been done with heavily photoshopped images, and some of them are a bit unfortunate (someone who looks like a new romantic star in a medieval type fantasy, for example, and is supposed to be male but looks more female than androgynous), but the overall affect is luscious. Bright colours and a charming painted effect, like a slightly erotic picture book for adults.

The music and sound effects are also well chosen and add to the fairytale feel. I also love the way the fairy tales entwine. The dialogue, on the other hand, feels awkward.

Serious spoilers follow:

For me, the bad was was very bad. On my first play through, I suddenly was gaping at the screen thinking: Wait a minute, did Iseult just get raped? Story end.

A bit thrown off by that, I tried again with different choices. This time, a very camp merman gave Iseult the choice between a forced kiss and the threat of being raped by someone else on the road. I chose and... wow, that really looked like forced marriage.

I tried again. Rape and forced marriage. The next time, I survived slightly longer without anything nonconsensual happening, but ended up with rape and slavery.

I'm really not sure how to review this, as a result. Perhaps it's part of the point: perhaps this game is a statement about the lack of power women have in fairy tales, so that any apparent agency they assert ends up in the same inevitable ending. Perhaps the summary suggestion that you could change Iseult's fate at all was deliberately misleading, to make a political point.

However, I'm not entirely sure that was meant. It is presented as a romantic and slightly suggestive game. Maybe the dominance is meant to be funny and exciting. I really don't know.

As a result, I'm giving this a mixed score. If it was fractured and feminist, it wasn't, for me, clear enough in its intentions. If it was more of a bodice ripper, then I really dislike the lack of female agency in it. Either way, it was triggering, without sufficient warning.

Given my reservations about some of the oddly chosen (but masterfully photoshopped) images and uneven writing, playing it was mostly a negative experience, despite the visual and aural beauty.