Publisher Square Enix Collective and developer AstralShift deliver a dark fairy tale that provides all the mood and feelings you want to have around Halloween. One glance at a trailer or screenshot for Little Goody Two Shoes, and you’ll immediately understand that tone and how the homage to classic PlayStation-era games makes for some incredible storytelling.
Little Goody Two Shoes is set in Kieferberg Village, whereas Elise, you look to escape the confines of your hometown and move on to bigger and better things. Having grown up without a proper guardian to help her through the world, Elise isn’t the easiest person to be around. If this sounds like a fairy tale in the vein of The Brothers Grimm, I would put it past you to say that they likely inspire the folklore. Upon discovering elusive, shiny red shoes, Elise heads to the forest where the story begins.
Into the Woods
Looking like a cross between traditional storybooks and anime, Little Goody Two Shoes has an incredible visual identity that lends itself to the ongoing of Elise. I mentioned earlier that the aesthetic pulls from classic 90s video games, and immediately you feel the inspiration.
There’s a distinct horror vibe that Little Goody Two Shoes provides, and if you’ve heard or played Yomawari, this is in that vein. From the start, Elise is constantly in harm’s way. Whether it’s from magical vines looking to pull her into obscurity, mysterious monsters inspiring fear from afar, or magical maladies bent on ending her existence.
Elise has no combative moves, and the tone of Little Goody Two Shoes instead focuses on stealth-driven gameplay. Because Elise is just a regular girl, you’ll need to learn to stick to the shadows and outsmart the enemies ahead of her. Dungeons are filled with traps and puzzles designed to test your ability to think outside the box and avoid being dinner for a fantastic beast.
In one scenario, you might be in an eerie mansion with floating candles that will target you. Elise must find a way to bypass them or risk being targeted by them as they hone in on your location without a second thought. If you take damage, your Sustenance bar will take a hit, so you’ll need to find food to replenish it. Depending on the food, it’ll fill the meter more or less.
Little Goody Two Shoes Is Not So Frozen
You’ll also need to deal with Muffy, the pink-haired pest who will relentlessly blackmail you for her daily fix. Keeping her satisfied is vital to deflecting suspicion. After all, a girl’s gotta eat. Muffy’s quirky and cute character adds a delightful twist to the game, and the interactions between her and Elise are often played for comic relief. This dynamic is crucial since you must ensure the rest of the townsfolk don’t grow overly suspicious of you. You’ll tackle this challenge during special events where you must choose convincing dialogue options akin to a classic visual novel with an extra dash of suspense and intrigue.
One delightful surprise is the inclusion of mini-games to pass the time during the day. These mini-games range from collecting chicken eggs to chopping wood or playing with the local children. While they are relatively straightforward, they’re oddly enjoyable and make you want to improve your skills. Just be ready for the occasional frustrating mini-game that could put your playthrough in jeopardy if you fail to rake in enough money.
Now, Little Goody Two Shoes isn’t a purebred RPG, but it does share elements. It showcases a variety of gameplay systems that keep you on your toes. At times, it morphs into a dating simulator, then transforms into a life management simulator, and even flirts with the horror genre, all while offering a taste of a visual novel and some arcade mini-games. Each day is divided into six segments, with Elise engaging with villagers during the daytime. In the daylight, Elise can take on various odd jobs to earn the pennies she needs while you guide her through the art of wooing your preferred girl. The gameplay loop is simple to grasp, but what keeps it fresh is the ever-changing dialogue of the townsfolk, adapting to factors like the in-game day and the company you keep.
If Elise is not working, she can keep up with the happenings and lives of the villagers or even enhance her romance level with one of three other women in the village. It is during these interactions that Elise’s reputation can be impacted by player choice, with her response to events or even accusations altering how suspicious people in the village view her. After the conclusion of the day’s events, Elise goes to bed until the witching hour starts.
This is when Elise explores the mysterious, transformed forest teeming with dangerous enemies and traps. Don’t expect any combat; instead, Elise must navigate threats like murderous butterflies and crows. She also needs to manage her hunger and sanity meter to stay coherent. It may sound like a lot to handle, but the game introduces these elements gradually, preventing them from becoming overwhelming. The time management aspect strikes a satisfying balance; you can’t complete every task or max out your heart rating with every potential love interest, forcing you to strategize your daily activities.
The puzzles occasionally leave you scratching your head, relying on intuition and repeated trial and error. Yet, as you become more accustomed to the game’s visual cues and tackle more straightforward puzzles, the frustration dissipates. The game’s fragmented storytelling approach mirrors its gameplay, toggling between supernatural horrors and mundane village life. As you progress, the game hints at something sinister lurking in the forest, but the unravelling human drama within the village is equally eerie.
The game world surprised me with its depth and meticulous detail. Even in areas used for only a brief moment, you can immerse yourself in the beautiful landscapes that Elise yearns for. While it’s not an open-world game, each area is teeming with things to admire and interact with. A fast travel option might be convenient, but I also worry it could detract from the overall experience by making it too easy to miss events.
Little Goody Two Shoes is a gorgeous fairy tale brought to life. Elise’s journey is dreary and filled with several exciting moments. There is much more than the initial impressions will lead you to believe, and you’ll need a few playthroughs to get the most out of it. Although there are some minor grievances, there isn’t anything that will ruin the experience for those diving in.
[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: Switch
Little Goody Two Shoes is a gorgeous fairy tale brought to life. Elise's journey is dreary and filled with several exciting moments.
A beautiful storybook aestheic
Great use of fairy tales
Sometimes it feels like there is just too much going on