The concept of a “daughter raising” simulator might seem weird to some gamers, but it’s nothing new. One of the earliest and long-running series in the genre is none other than Princess Maker. It was only until the last few years, however, that these titles began releasing officially in English. Before that, either you needed to know Japanese to play or find a fan translation online to enjoy all that Princess Maker had to offer. Ciel Fledge is certainly a much newer take on the formula. After its Kickstarter success back in 2018, the game is finally heading towards release early next year.
While Ciel Fledge is not yet a “finished” product, it’s already a great deal of fun for simulator and management fans. The game takes place in a dystopian realm where humans are constantly in fear of an alien menace. In the storyline, our protagonist is suddenly presented with a young child and tasked with taking care of her. Both the player and the protagonist must learn how to best raise a child on the fly. There’s a pretty big dump of tutorials right at the get go — but some lessons will still be learned the hard way.
Players must level up their new daughter, but it’s up to them how they want to go about it. For example, you could make this child a total bookworm or focus more on battle-related skills. All the while, her stamina must be managed carefully. Don’t dare force her to work day in and day out without any time to rest. If you do, you’ll be issued a stern warning the first time that she may be taken away if you can’t keep the poor girl healthy. Weeks are planned out in advance but there are still random events which occur to keep things interesting.
There are multiple types of battles, though each of them follows a similar formula. There’s basically a set of multicolored “cards” on screen. Matching up three of the same card yields some result depending on the battle type. While you’re matching, the battle is progressing in real time. This makes certain battles much more stressful as you try to rapidly match cards while getting beat up by an enemy. There are more strategic elements to battle as well, not just these light puzzle aspects. Right now the battle gameplay does not feel 100% ready yet. Sometimes it seems that the undo function does not occur as quick as it should and visual UI elements are a bit lackluster. Streamlining the battle mode a bit more will make this already fun gameplay even more enjoyable.
Due to still being in development, there are other aspects of Ciel Fledge’s UI that still leave something to be desired. Setting up your weekly schedule, shopping and more feel a little clunky. Other screens feel like there’s too much darn text on them at one time. Certain fonts are too small or difficult to read due to color choices. Clearly there could still be more work done to streamline the various GUI aspects. None of this is game-breaking. At worst, some iffy GUI decisions could even be resolved after launch.
Despite these complaints, the joy of playing still shines though tremendously. It’s already the kind of game that makes you think “just one more (in-game) week” as you continue playing long beyond that self-imposed limit. It might sound simple, but the best management games often are. Once past the tutorials, Ciel Fledge offers a ridiculously fun, rewarding and immensely replayable experience. The release date for Ciel Fledge is currently set at February 21, 2020 on Steam.