I like a mash-up in my games. at least every now and then. I like it when two genres get mixed, especially when they provide fascinating results. Whether that be in the form of fun little mini-games in a big RPG, like the sheer amount of bar games you have in the Yakuza series and GTA franchises, or how in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt you are able to play Gwent for hours on end.
It’s kind of similar in Ikkarus and the Prince of Sin. See, this is a game that takes three elements and throws them all together – a visual novel, a very light sim game mechanic, and some turn-based combat design. But does it all work?
Let us look at the story of Ikkarus and the Prince of Sin first because the premise of it being a visual novel is very strong in its makeup. You will be reading a lot of text, making some minor decisions, and unlocking different endings depending on your choices.
Set in a fantasy world you play the role of Ikkarus, a warrior and hero who has just been on a quest slaying a dragon. He comes back to his village and in reward of his services is given a tavern; what a prize. However, the tavern is a mess and it’s also in debt to the tune of some 50,000 gold. Poor Ikkarus has to pay that back – in a month. That then means he has to go out and kill some monsters, get some ingredients to make beer, and sell it to make some cash. Meanwhile he needs a partner to help him. In Ikkarus and the Prince of Sin there are three possible adventurers to – maybe – fall in love with.
The writing and characters are a lot of fun, the story different and entertaining enough to ensure that – at times – it feels like a decent romance adventure novel. There is a lot of reading to be had though, so you’ll want be aware of that. On the other side of things, there is a lot of gameplay to enjoy as well.
Let’s talk about the combat. It’s this which puts you up against some slime monsters, goblins, orcs, and demons. Playing out in a turn-based battle arena, you find yourself left with three options – attack, magic, defense. It works via the old rock, paper, scissors system, whereby Attack beats Magic, Magic beats Defense, and Defense beats Attack. Each enemy has a percentage of usage near these options so it’s up to you to decide what to do. There are health bars to keep an eye on, and also a special attack to use occasionally, trumping everything else.
With the materials you get from those fights, you can then go back to the tavern and make some beer, selling it in order for some coin. From there come opportunities to upgrade and smith your shield, but obviously that costs money. And you’ve got a debt to pay off, remember!
Ikkarus and the Prince of Sun all feels a bit complicated at first, but it is actually quite straightforward to play through, blending play styles and gameplay mechanics. In fact, maybe it’s a bit too simple, but there’s no doubt its heart is in the right place.
Visually, Ikkarus and the Prince of Sin comes with a graphic visual novel tone, one full of colour and neatly drawn lines. The locations are fine and the adventurers are creative and impressive. Further to that, the menus are clean and it nails what it is trying to achieve. However, I do feel that some kind of voice work could have been added to deliver another dimension.
Ikkarus and the Prince of Sin may well surprise you, especially if you come to it expecting a ton of reading and nothing else. The story is charming, fun and original, honouring some Dungeons and Dragons roots whilst not being afraid to be playful with the format. It’s helped along by the turn-based combat sections, as these give the game a little extra boost and enjoyment. It’s not going to blow your mind though, and the sim elements are probably the weakest of it all, but it is still capable of delivering a nice addiction.
If you are after another addition to your visual novel library then Ikkarus and the Prince of Sin should be promptly added.