My Lovely Daughter Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Gamechanger Studios

Published By: Toge Productions

Reviewed By: Tyler Higgs

Thank you so much to Toge Productions for providing a review code.

There’s not many games that sit outside the horror genre, yet still make me feel truly unsettled. It takes a lot of work to create something that unnerves players, solely from it’s narrative. My Lovely Daughter is a title that truly succeeds in making players feel uneasy without the use of jump scares and other conventional horror game tropes.

Story

Your grim journey starts with a man named Faust. Faust awakens to find himself on the floor waking up with the inability to remember most of his memories. It’s only after seeing what looks like a wooden statue, laying in a bed that Faust realizes it’s his daughter. Even without his memories intact, he knows that, this wooden figure is his daughter and her soul had been transferred out of her body. Her soul lies in the same room as her, but it is weak and needs to recover its affinities. With the help of his strange book that magically keeps track of records, Faust will have to perform some horrific tasks to bring back his daughter.

Upon booting up My Lovely Daughter the developers give you a disclaimer to let you know this is a dark game. Thematically, this story is about parenting and the abuse and neglect that children can have to undergo. It’s all done metaphorically, but the actions being done are harsh. The game isn’t outright gory, but it’s very dark subject matter. I think the developers took a very interesting approach at crafting a narrative around such a sensitive topic. For those who able to deal with darker topics, you’ll most likely find a deeper meaning in My Lovely Daughter’s story.

Gameplay

My Lovely Daughter is essentially a point & click management title.

It’s in the gameplay where I can begin to divulge what makes My Lovely Daughter so dark. Faust is an alchemist and the only way he can bring his daughter back is by strengthening her soul. Strengthening a soul requires a sacrifice and that’s where the alchemy comes in. You’ll have to use the power of transmutation on different items to create homunculi to sacrifice to your daughters soul.

There’s over 40 different homunculi that can be created. Using a combination of 3 items you can create different homunculi. Every homunculi is imbued with one of the four affinities, sadness, anger, joy and fear. It’s important to know which homunculi has what affinity so you can figure out which types you need to create. You can only house up to 3 homunculis in the beginning with the ability to unlock 2 more spots later on. You have to make sure you treat your homunculi’s right and do not upset them while they’re alive. If a homunculi loses its affection for you and it will leave. Sometimes when you have a homunculi around they will drop a note by their door. These notes are written up by the homunculi and give you a little description on how they feel towards you and life in general. They’re kind of interesting, but honestly they don’t do enough to build the characters of the homunculi’s.

There’s another very important use for Homunculi, besides sacrificing them. Once you have finished up your duties in your house you can take your Homunculi out for the week to do work. Your homunculi are very helpful and can help the other villagers to net you money and so that they gain EXP. You get a certain allotted time every day and you have to make sure you find work for your homunculi.

Every job has a preferred affinity which means a homunculi of that affinity will prefer that type of work. Money is very important, because you will need it to buy a bunch of different items. Some of the items include, transmutation material, gifts for your homunculi’s, and additional rooms. By far the most important item the shop will sell you is the wood preservation balm. Because, your daughter is made out of wood, you have to be very careful. If she’s left unattended without the balm for more than 3 days she will rot and it’ll be game over. So you have to always make sure you have enough extra cash on you, but trust me it isn’t very difficult. Money is quite easy to earn and normally you will have much more than you need. I actually wished money was a little harder to come by, because I felt like My Lovely Daughter plays it a little too safe with the difficulty. A little more challenge would have been nice.

Homunculi can level up and as they level up their affinity will grow. This essentially means that sacrificing a level 5 homunculi will yield higher affinity points than a level 3 homunculi. When a homunculi is sacrificed the points are sent directly to the soul. The soul can contain 1000 points for each affinity. It’s up to you to try different combinations of affinity and then place the soul back into your daughter to see the results. There are multiple endings, but only one true ending which means you found the right combinations of affinities. As you try combinations your book will start to narrow down how close you are to finding the right combination. The soul will reset how many points it has after being transferred and you will have to restart your progress with the soul’s affinity points. If you want to transfer the soul into your daughter you’ll also have to wait until every 4th week. This may sound like an overly repetitive process and it can be; however it’s not too bad, because of the extra endings that you’ll find while trying out new combinations. The story also slowly reveals itself over the course of the game which helps keep you engaged.

My Lovely Daughter manages to tell a dark and twisted story in a relatively unique way. It’s intriguing, but also interesting and I think it appeals well to a niche audience. My main concerns would be centered around the gameplay itself and the homunculi’s. If you don’t’t enjoy time management, point & click titles I think it’s highly unlikely you will find My Lovely Daughter entertaining. It doesn’t offer enough to captivate players who aren’t already fans of the genre. On the topic of the Homunculi’s, for being so vital to the game they’re not overly interesting. Having the different types are great, but their personalities don’t get elaborated upon so they end feeling kind of bland. I appreciate the unique death animation for each one, but the little notes that are left behind are not enough to give each one their own character.

Extras

The Nintendo Switch version of My Lovely Daughter comes with the Inquisitor DLC. This DLC offers an added piece of story and missions that connect right into the main story. I won’t spoil too much about it, but it’s definitely nice that this piece of content was included with the whole game.

Presentation

My Lovely Daughter uses a grim story book art style that perfectly matches the tone the game sets. Everything is dark, and essentially dreary looking. The people in it are bizarre and look like the people you’d see in a strange old village. The homunculi’s are relatively well-designed, although some were better than others. I also really liked the choice of sound design as the effects and tunes work very well to help further develop the atmosphere.

Technical Issues

I can happily report that I had no technical issues during my playthrough of My Lovely Daughter. The frame rate stayed very stable and the controls were fantastic. The Switch touch screen was supported in handheld and I would recommend it as the ideal way to play.

Summary

My Lovely Daughter may not be a title for everyone, but those who it’s trying to appeal to will find a very interesting tale. It’s grim storybook style world is interesting and it creates a narrative that is compelling, and very thematic. I think the developers did a good job at conveying their themes of child abuse and neglect here within their story. It’s not a topic many will willingly dive into, but My Lovely Daughter chooses to tackle it. The way it’s tackled may be a bit difficult for some and the homunculi’s could use a bit more development. Overall I think if you enjoy management style gameplay and want something a story that’s a bit deeper than your average game you should give My lovely Daughter a try.

7/10

Pros

  • Dark & Thematic Story That Touches on Some Tough Topics
  • Multiple Endings With One True/Final Ending Was a Great Design Choice
  • Inquistor DLC Was a Nice Addition to the Package
  • Touch Screen Capabilities
  • Beautiful Grim Storybook Art Style

Cons

  • Homunculi’s Could of Been Build Up to Have More Character Than Just the Letters
  • Money Was a Little to Easy to Obtain
  • If You Aren’t Already a Point & Click Fan This Won’t Change Your Mind

Comments or Questions Leave Them here