Little Goody Two Shoes review — Kill your darlings

Once upon a time, in the humble and pious town of Kieferberg, lived the maid-of-all-work Elise. Despite her dreams of an easy and luxurious life, she labors away performing dull and menial tasks for the townsfolk to eke out a living. One day while tending to her garden, she discovers a mysterious gift containing a pair of lustrous and beautiful red shoes. Starstruck with the promise of riches, Elise is lured by her unknown benefactor into the darkness of the forest where all manner of witchcraft is said to dwell. With dark temptations being whispered in her ear, she must decide how far she is willing to go to fulfill her dreams.

The narrative picks up in earnest once Elise has accepted the gift and made a dark pact to complete a ritual that is said to grant her deepest desire, which is to be rich of course. Over the course of a week, you’ll work towards fulfilling this goal by collecting three testaments, all while avoiding the suspicion of the townsfolk. Kieferberg is home to the faithful, and while not all are quick to point fingers, most do carry a fear of witches meaning you’ll have to watch what you say to them. This setup provided a lot of life to every interaction, as even the simplest conversations have the potential to add to your suspicion, or lower it depending on your choices. It’s all a fun balancing act as Elise herself weighs the morality of her actions against her dreams of leaving her old life behind.

Suspicion is something that you’ll always need to be mindful of as you interact with members of the town. Many people are skeptical that witches are near, but will consider otherwise if you are openly flaunting strange behavior, or supporting mystic activity. Suspicion most often goes up or down depending on dialogue choices, but can also be influenced by other things such as bribing Muffy (or was it Miffy… Maddy? Maggie? Or maybe Mindy), a girl in town who often spies on Elise, with food to keep her quiet.

Whether you’re engaging in some ritual magic or toiling away in town, you’ll always have a full schedule. Each day is sectioned off into various time periods, in which you can spend your time performing chores, exploring the town or going on dates with your sweetheart of choice. You’ll have to manage your schedule wisely, as certain actions will progress time forward. As time passes, you’ll lose hunger meter that you need to replenish with food items, which can be bought from various places around town. This means you’ll often be faced with making a choice between hanging out with your love interest or collecting money to spend on items. The schedule for reaching maximum hearts with your lover is actually pretty strict, meaning you’ll want to ensure you are spending your money wisely so you aren’t forced to do chores at every interval instead.

There are three romantic interests to choose from, each with their own unique dates and endings depending on your actions. Rozenmarine is a reserved and mysterious girl who showed up at your house in the middle of the night with her goat Flocke. Freya is an outgoing seamstress who is strong as an ox with a dainty personality, and Lebkuchen is a devout member of the church and Elise’s close childhood friend. Each bachelorette is distinct from one another, and you’re even able to pursue multiple at the same time, either romantically or platonically. Whatever your preference may be, you’re sure to find someone you can click with, or none at all if you so please.

The chores themselves are simple enough (chop wood, collect apples, entertain the children) but have a lot of character. You experience them as mini-games through the style of an arcade cabinet, and receive varying amounts of Tiffle (Kieferberg’s currency) depending on how well you perform the task. If you’re ever struggling, you can bring along your friend Rozenmarine to assist at the cost of expending additional hunger-meter. She will also reduce suspicion when tagging along, as if left to her own devices, Rozenmarine can cause a stir amongst the town. Typically I opted to do these solo, but it was nice having back up whenever I was trying for high scores to get extra cash or when I wanted to avoid having to cover for her oddities against the townsfolk.

When you aren’t spending time wooing your friends or earning Tiffle from the townsfolk, you can explore Kieferberg proper as well as the town outskirts. There are some very basic side quests to complete (greet person, go talk to another person, come back to first person) as well as hidden items to scavenge for, but not much else. I feel there is room for more here that we unfortunately don’t get, but admittedly this aspect of the game is very minor. I did enjoy these smaller moments away from the main story that allowed me to bask in the artistic and bewitching scenery if I so pleased. The environments are delicately hand painted in 90s-anime inspired aesthetics, bringing so much color and fantasy into the world space that I would say it’s a selling point in its own right. The characters in town, both major and minor, are also lovely in design and go a long way in making Kieferberg feel lived-in.

After the day has ended, you’ll have access to the Witching Hour, a time in which Elise is able to venture into the woods to seek out her dark desires. The gameplay of the Witching Hour is quite different from the rest of the day, leaving behind the dainty and animated town in favor of a grim and horrific landscape. It’s here where you’ll come face to face with enemies and oddities as you traverse the forest in search of tributes to your unknown benefactor. I really enjoyed how different these spaces were compared to the rest of Kieferberg, with some environments and creatures even sporting completely different animation styles. This really sells the otherworldly vibe of these spaces, and makes each step more eerie than the last as you delve deeper into the realms.

Most of the puzzles in these spaces were engaging enough, although the mechanics of some encounters left me with a bit of a sour taste. Most of my frustrations with the Witching Hour tend to stem from the enemies, but thankfully not to a degree where it severely hampered the overall experience. You don’t ever really fight enemies, more so just run away from them or avoid them all together lest you take damage. This works fine for the most part, except this simplicity makes for some slightly loathsome zones. One area for example was a pitch black maze, riddled with hazards and enemies that are attracted to light, meaning you can’t turn on your lantern even for a moment to get your bearings. I had to blindly fumble through the dark, dying multiple times to enemies I couldn’t even see. Perhaps there was another way to get through this that I simply didn’t catch on to, but as it stands this section definitely wasn’t one of my favorites.

The game features ten different endings that rely on your choices, but most of the endings are tied to who you choose to romance and spend your time with. Each romance has at least two different endings, with a few hidden ones that require other steps to reveal. There are plenty of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ endings to explore, but you’ll need to be pretty diligent about choosing how you spend your time throughout the week if you want to get a specific ending. This is a game that allows you to miss key items that you can’t go back for, or miss important events with characters; if you want to set yourself up for the most options regarding the ending, you need to be saving often and keeping a mental note of the things you might need in the future. I actually enjoyed this, as it made me feel more engaged with the world and the characters within it, although I do feel like the game could be a little bit more overt about ensuring the player knows they might be missing something.

It was satisfying to watch the story develop as Elise skirted suspicion in favor of her dark desires, while also clinging to the simple pleasures she grew attached to. Going on dates to the cliffside windmills by day and sneaking off into the shadowy woods by night is an entrancing gameplay loop that kept me enamored throughout. The world is sugary and vibrant, yet a mythical terror lurks beneath the surface, pouring in your ear the promise of a better life. The fate of Elise and the residents of Kieferberg lies in your hands as you make the choice of what is worth sacrificing for a new future.

Editor | Website

Corvo is a writer who loves to explore journalism through video games. Writing and editing reviews for triple-A games and indies alike, he finds his passion within expressing his experiences in a fair and accurate manner. Some of Corvo's favorite games are Destiny 2, Mass Effect, and Disco Elysium.



Little Goody Two Shoes

Review Guidelines

Revealing the occult mystery bound to the quaint town of Kieferberg is captivating, both in terms of an unbelievably gorgeous setting and charming gameplay. Whether you’re making ritual wine for a golden serpent or tending to the village hens, it’s an intriguingly dark story into the folly of greed that is a delicacy to the eyes and one that is equally delightful to play, even if there are some slight hiccups.

Corvo Rohwer

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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