Loren The Amazon Princess + The Castle Of N’mar DLC
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

The storyline in Loren the Amazon Princess really sucked me in and the cast of memorable characters kept me hooked. The turn based combat also turned out to be surprisingly fun and the game has a ton of replay value. Hopefully with the Steam release the game will receive the attention that it deserves and open the flood gates for more Winter Wolves titles.

Gameplay: A very nice fusion of visual novel and role playing.

Graphics: Although there is no animation the artwork is beautiful.

Sound: Good sound effects and some very memorable tunes

Summary 9.0 Outstanding
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Loren The Amazon Princess + The Castle Of N’mar DLC

Developer: Winter Wolves | Publisher: Winter Wolves | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Indie / RPG | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

When the queen of the Amazons disappears under mysterious circumstances, it becomes the duty of her daughter Loren to take up the position. However, Loren is more concerned with finding her mother than filling her boots and decides to mount a search party. Instead of queen she becomes an outcast with only a loyal servant to help her on her quest.

In an interesting twist, instead of playing the feisty Amazon your character is actually a male human or female elf that was raised in servitude to the Amazons. You get to choose your gender, class and back-story before embarking on the quest of a lifetime with Loren.

Loren the Amazon Princess is a unique mixture of visual novel and role playing which makes for quite an engrossing experience. Despite the somewhat clichéd nature of the storyline I found myself sucked in right from the beginning by the excellent writing. It took me about 17 hours to complete the game and DLC but at no point did it become boring or repetitive which is saying a lot considering the amount of text in the game.

Most of the time in the game is spent reading but thankfully the conversations are interesting and often quite humorous depending on the situations.  As a princess, Loren has led quite a sheltered life within the confines of the Amazon Citadel so stepping out into a world that doesn’t obey her every command is quite a shock to her. The player character starts out as quite subservient to Loren but as the adventure unfolds there is some nice character progression. You also meet other characters that can be recruited to your cause and by the end of the game I had a small army of party members to pick from.

You can only have six characters in battle so as your party grows you have to make some tough choices. Characters that do not engage in battle do not earn experience points except from completed quests which can make things very tricky in situations where your party has to split up. The turn based battles has a nice old school RPG vibe and assembling the perfect group of fighters, thieves and magic users is a lot of fun.

Each class has their own skill trees and characters each have 13 armor slots so the RPG system is quite in-depth and not just something that has been bolted on to the visual novel system. There are three difficulty settings to choose from and you can save at any time so the game is as easy or difficult as you want it to be.

The game runs on the Ren’Py Visual Novel Engine but features some sumptuous character artwork. The original release contained some risqué content in the form of skimpy outfits which has been censored for the Steam release but this honestly did not detract much from the experience for me. If you prefer the original version you can actually download the demo from the developer’s website which will detect your Steam purchase and enable you to play the full game in all its uncensored glory.

All the locations in the game are accessed from a map screen but each area usually only consists of one or two static background images. There is also a lot of recycling so all taverns, dungeons or forests pretty much all use the same background images. This might make the game sound very limited but the descriptive text actually help to bring these scenes to life without the use of animations. Unfortunately if you don’t like reading this is probably not the type of game for you.

Between visiting new locations and fighting evil creatures you can set up camp and chat to your party members for more insights about their personal lives. I found this aspect of the game very interesting and every single one of your party members has very rich back-stories. They all have personal quests as well which they will reveal provided they trust you enough. These quests are harder than normal as you have to complete them with only two party members but the rewards are worth it. I found most of the party members to be very likeable and well written with even the surly ones at least interesting. You can also engage in a romance with some of the party members and the game does not discriminate when it comes to genders. You can only choose between replying in a joking, friendly or forceful manner when addressed but once again the quality writing makes up for the lack of direct input. Your actions do have consequences though and the game has multiple endings so there is plenty of replay value.

I found the audio in the game to be pretty good and some of the tunes are actually quite memorable. Thankfully none of the sound effects or songs are annoying either and even after many hours of playing I still found myself humming along to certain tunes. There is no voice acting apart from the battle cries and phrases that party members utter during combat but considering the amount of text in the game this is hardly a problem.

The Castle of N’mar DLC is available for purchase alongside the game and is definitely worth the extra cost.  It might be labeled as DLC but with four new party members, new romance options, new locations and new story content it is actually more of an expansion. As the game was originally released in 2012 with the expansion a few months later it can hardly be classified as “day one” DLC either. Apart from the more modest character sprites this Steam release also feature achievements and trading cards which is always a nice addition.

Loren the Amazon Princess is a game that ticks all the right check boxes when it comes to a gripping high fantasy story and despite the rather niche market for visual novels it is a welcome addition to the Steam catalog. It is obviously a game that is not going to appeal to everyone but fans of the genre will definitely have a lot of fun. I played one or two Winter Wolves titles in the past but Loren the Amazon Princess definitely exceeded my expectations and I found myself returning to the game even with other work piling up on my desk. Check out the demo if you want to make sure that you’ll enjoy the game as it gives a nice overview about what to expect but don’t blame me if you end up just as hooked as I was.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: 1Ghz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX or OpenGL compatible card
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space
  • OS: Mac OS 10.4
  • Processor: 1Ghz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space
  • Processor: 1 Ghz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space

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