The Name of the Game
The Chains of Enchantment: Romance you Choose is a dating sim for android by Genius Inc. set in a Hogwarts-esque world where magic and humans secretly co-exist. Through some hilarious plot-contrivance, it turns out you (a normal human?) are actually one of the most powerful magic users alive! A powerful and bewitching sorceress wants to kill you and take your power, so you’re assigned the Magic Bureau’s two most dreamy officers of the guard: Bradley & Spencer. They whisk you away to Bradley’s magically-secure mansion, where you remain for the duration of the game.
Let’s talk boys. As far as low budget visual novel dramas go, the characters are decently three dimensional. Bradley comes off as bold, brash, and playfully arrogant, but underneath that fiery red mullet is a vulnerable little boy who loves his sister. Then there’s Spencer, a gentle and kind soul that grew up in the slums with nothing. Spencer’s so caught up in trying to be kind, he realizes he never stopped to wonder who he is beyond that. If only he could get over his headaches long enough to talk with you about it. Also, there’s Dean. Dean is your brother, but also not really because otome games are very, very silly. He mainly whines the entire time.
Money, Money, Money
You spend several in-game days cooped up inside bonding with each boy. After which, you choose which one to confess to. Accomplishing this however was needlessly taxing. To build a relationship you need to choose the romantic dialogue box. Unfortunately, every romance option costs 30 or so “gems”. I can’t say I’m a fan of a “choose your own romance” story putting every choice behind a paywall. To make matters worse, the story itself was chopped into many chapters. Either you had to pay to unlock the next chapter or wait several hours every time. The Chains of Enchantment? More like Chain Your Excitement. It breaks my heart seeing these greedy choices mar an otherwise perfectly ridiculous game.
The art style left something to be desired. It’s detail on the eyes crept towards the uncanny valley at times. Not to mention mullets aren’t really my thing, but that aside, it did a good job of visually personifying each characters’ personalities. Then there’s the translation. I don’t claim to be an English professor, but I feel this deserves a C+ at best. The language at times felt a little simplistic. Of course, that’s not what really matters in a trashy love story like this. It’s all about the yearning. Those steamy moments alone. The accidental touching of hands. Everything else is tertiary! The characters were well written, the premise only got more outrageous, secret twins were revealed, and my heartstrings got pulled on. What more could you want?
Despite interminable paywalls, long waits and both non-sibling love interests technically being cops, The Chains of Enchantment still manages to get through to me. I laughed, I cried, and at the end of the day the goal of true art is to elicit an emotional response. That being said, you’re probably better off watching a rom-com or playing something else if ads aren’t your cup of tea. The microtransactions, vaguely creepy art style and normalization of the mullet make an otherwise delightfully indulgent dating sim come off as very middle of the road. So, it gets a very middle of the road score.
Is it Hardcore?
Constant paywalls mar an otherwise decent dating sim. The only way in which this is game is hardcore is in how it hits your wallet.