Most people may not know this, but I'm the girly-girl of the RPGamer staff. While I'm not huge on the colour pink, or wear dresses, or do my hair up in ribbons, I love cute things. Especially cute RPGs that make your teeth rot such as Harvest Moon and Atelier series. It's no surprise this year that most of the games I've enjoyed have a touch of sweetness to them, adding more and more titles to my list that fit this criteria. Whisper of a Rose: Gold for Windows PC fits in this standard I've set for myself.
" Whisper of a Rose: Gold may not be a big-budget PC RPG, but it's full of charm and sparks with plenty of creativity. "
Don't be fooled by Whisper of a Rose's over use of the colour pink, as there's something a lot darker than meets the eye. Players take on the role of Melrose, a young college student attempting to rid herself of her own personal hardships by escaping to a world of dreams. Melrose is an abused child who longs for an imaginary world that she can escape to. Afraid of her family and unable to cope, she dreams of a world that is made specifically tailored to her every wish and desire. While visiting the local museum, she stumbles upon a device known as the iDream which has the ablity to create images within the wearer's consciousness. She steals the device and launches herself head first into a fantasy world created purely by her imagination. However, what Melrose doesn't realize is just how dangerous a world created by one's desire can truly be.
As I said previously, looks can be deceiving. Whisper of a Rose, despite being painted in hues of pinks and purples, is a dark game. As soon as Melrose escapes into the dream world, it's easy to see that things inevitably are not what they seem. Think of a film like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? — it's a film built on cartoons and their whimsical nature, but the hidden reality is that the toon's own world is in peril, which is extremely similar to Melrose's self-created dreamworld and its amalgamation between her real and imaginary life. Melrose is a likeable heroine, and her struggles are something anyone regardless of gender can relate to.
At the start of the game, players are given the option as to what class Melrose can start out as. She has the options of being a Warrior, who specializes in meele combat, a Paladin who is a balance between meele and magic user, and a Summoner, who specializes in magic. Combat is engaged by hitting enemies on the screen, and battles are a turn-based affair. As the game progresses, Melrose can acquire new magic and summon abilities, though if players are not using a Summoner, the number of summons she can obtain are limited. Combat plays out fairly simply, though battles can get rather challenging, and status ailments can be rather nasty to deal with.
Outside of the game's story and combat, it features a fairly easy-to-use crafting system. Recipes can be found throughout the game, and as long as Melrose has the ingredients, she'll be able to craft the item. The game also sports a skill tree that will take some getting use to, but it will allow players to customize Melrose and her companions however way they wish.
Whisper of a Rose: Gold may not be a big-budget PC RPG, but it's full of charm and sparks with plenty of creativity. For $20 bucks, RPGamers will get over forty hours of gameplay, plenty of quests to complete, and a really outstanding soundtrack to listen to throughout the adventure. Whisper of a Rose is definitely worth looking into, especially for those who enjoy a little mystery behind the pink backdrop.