The Crown and The Flame Visual Novel: A Review

A different kind of adventure based on your choices.

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The Crown and The Flame Visual Novel: A Review

When I was a kid, I used to love those adventure books where you chose your own path or made a decision at the end of every page, so you'll either end up continuing the adventure with a good ending or end up dead and having to start back from the last decision point.

As a child these books were the next best thing after video games, which very few families could afford back in the 80s and early 90s. Nowadays, these 'choose your own adventure' books have more or less become a thing of the past, but they do live on in another form, known as visual novel apps.

I recently tried out a library of visual novels known as 'Choices: Stories You Play'. It's a free to play collection of choose your own adventure stories from many genres, most of which are romance based. There are a few exceptions, the main one being 'The Crown and The Flame' which is more fantasy based. The entire 'Choices' library of stories comes from game company Pixelberry, which has been producing visual novels for a long time.

The Flame and The Crown tells the story of Kenna Rys, princess (later Queen) of a Kingdom called Stormholt, and her trusty servant Dominic. In the first few chapters you'll see Kenna's kingdom get taken over by an evil King, and everyone losing their way of life in an instant. The rest of the game involves you playing as either Kenna or Dominic, as you try to gather army and weapons to take the kingdom back.

The story is engaging, and the pacing really great, not to slow nor too fast. You get a good idea about all the characters as they're quite well fleshed out. The story comes in three books and each book has about 15-20 chapters each. The choices you make, either in actions or conversation, can earn you one of several things; either diamonds, power points, troops, prestige points or weapons. 

In some instances, you can also gain a character's loyalty or alliance. At the end of every chapter, you get a full report of your progress, which includes the amount of troops or weapons you've gathered for the final battle to regain Stormholt.

via Retrogaming

Some of the decisions are timed, and you lose your life if you hesitate too long, but you don't have to worry as you'll get a second chance and be able to restart from the last check point. The only annoying thing about this game is the need for you to buy 'diamonds' in order to unlock some of the choices which can definitely gain you more power and troops. Although these can be bought as an in-game purchase, you'll lose out if you don't want to spend real world money.

You can still enjoy the game as a freeware, but of course your army might be much less well equipped for the final battle, which may result in higher losses. The rest of the game is highly enjoyable, with unexpected twists and turns, reminiscent of Game of Thrones. 

So is it worth playing? As a free game, absolutely yes. It's not to heavy, yet enough to engage anyone who likes a bit of fantasy, strategy and a hint of romance thrown in.

Cover image: Cactus In Pot

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