The Winter Tower | Game Review

A fairy tale romance… in reverse. This love story takes place in an isolated, magical tower like many a tale before it, but something’s a little different this time…

The Winter Tower manages to capture the whimsical essence of classic romance while also subverting familiar tropes in an endearing twist on a beloved genre.

As an otome enthusiast who loves both fairy tale love stories and protagonists who flip the ‘damsel in distress’ archetype on its head, I adored the charming atmosphere of The Winter Tower, and quickly fell under its wintry spell.

If you’re looking for a short-but-sweet, magical romance with a loveable LI (who’s fully voiced!) and a protagonist who gets to be the dashing hero, then I highly recommend downloading The Winter Tower – it’s free on Steam, with optional paid DLC for those who finish the game and find themselves craving more!

Game Name: The Winter Tower
Developers: Everium
Publishers: Everium
Platforms: Steam
Genres / Vibes: Romance, Fairy Tale, Heartwarming, Cute, Visual Novel, Otome (GxB), Indie
Price: Free (with optional, paid DLC)
More info: Steam Store Page, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by Everium, the developers behind The Winter Tower.

Ratings

Sweet: 5/5 – The Winter Tower is a sweet love story with a quintessentially “fairy tale” tone. There is a little drama sprinkled in, but it’s quickly resolved.
Spicy: 0/5 – There are no spicy or suggestive scenes in The Winter Tower, so it’s not an otome game to play if you’re looking for a smuttier experience.
CD: 4/5 – The story is too short to delve too deeply into these characters, but I enjoyed the spin on classic archetypes and their blossoming romance.
Story: 3/5 – There were some scenes I would have liked to explore in more depth, but the story still moved me, and the style was enjoyable to read.

The Winter Tower

“Will Ekaterina be able to safely complete her coming-of-age ceremony and emerge as the rightful successor to the House?”

– Game Description (Steam)

The Winter Tower is the debut game of indie studio, Everium, and it’s available for free on Steam. The wintry atmosphere and whimsical romance is perfect for this time of year, so this is a great opportunity to get into the seasonal mood and support indie game developers – all at the same time!

I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I opened up the game, but what I found was an endearing love story that embraces the quintessential whimsy of this classic genre – which turned out to be exactly what I needed as I wind down for the year and get into the spirit of the holiday season.

Typically, I prefer darker tales with twisted love and plenty of angst, but even a yandere-loving otome fan like me needs a change of pace every now and then, and the heartwarming sweetness of the romance in The Winter Tower proved to be a refreshing break from the series of heavier titles I’ve been playing lately.

There were many occasions where I found myself grinning like an idiot at my screen, and the love interest is just so easy to love. He’s inoffensive and sweet, but not in a way that I found boring or cliche. He’s a little mischievous – and more of a damsel in distress than MC – but still ultimately a kind, compassionate love interest who complements the heroine’s more stoic personality well.

The developers made a clever decision in keeping The Winter Tower short and focused, crafting a neatly packaged experience with a clear theme and atmosphere. There may only be one love interest in this game, but he is fully-voiced, and I’d rather a studio focus on doing a few things well than overstretching themselves and adding things for the sake of it.

All in all, I absolutely adored the charming story and cast of The Winter Tower, and I highly recommend it to any otome fan looking for a short-and-sweet romance set in a beautiful winter wonderland, especially as we approach the holiday season.

Characters

Ekaterina Ivanova (MC)

Name: Ekaterina Ivanova (default, no option to change)
Role: Main Character (MC)
Voicing: None
Character Sprite: None, but she does appear in some CGs and title art

Ekaterina Ivanova is a headstrong, responsible, and skilled swordswoman, but the rest of her personality is up to you decide. You’re frequently prompted to choose between honesty and deceit, or compassion and pragmatism. Your decisions will affect the outcome of the story, and some scenes can only be played if you make specific choices.

Ekaterina is the kind of MC I typically like to play; she’s capable on her own, and has a lot to offer the story and the love interest. She’s an active driving force in the plot, and feels like the true protagonist of the story. She has a few endearing flaws and isn’t always sure of herself, but her intentions are good and I enjoyed playing the game through her perspective.

Alexis Yevgenich Strelnikov (LI)

Name: Alexis Yevgenich Strelnikov
Role: Love Interest (LI)
Voicing: Fully voiced! (VA: Joe Goffeney)

Otome fans who like cinnamon rolls and enigmatic teases alike will enjoy Alexis Yevgenich Strelnikov, the sole love interest in The Winter Tower. He’s sweet, kind, and mysterious, and you’ll have to play your cards right if you want to truly get to know him. He values honesty and compassion, but he lacks common sense, making Alexis an entertaining and endearing love interest who would look right at home in a Disney movie… but as the princess, not the dashing hero.

I appreciated the decision to have his lines fully voiced, and Joe Goffeney did a fantastic job of breathing life into this character. While I don’t consider voice acting in a game to be a deal breaker, I did enjoy Joe’s performance, as his soothing voice enhanced the game’s overall atmosphere, and only made me swoon for Alexis more.

Gameplay

There are nine achievements on Steam for The Winter Tower, each of which corresponding to a potential ending. Most of these are bad endings that occur as a result of making an incorrect choice somewhere in the story; however, some of these bad endings can be achieved in multiple ways.

More importantly, there are two good endings, deemed “good” in that you suceed in what you set out to do, but one is significantly longer and more rewarding than the other. These are the endings you’ll likely be aiming for, and both offer a credits sequence upon completion.

It isn’t too difficult to return to previous points in the story and replay for alternative outcomes as the game automatically quick saves at every choice, so you can simply click that in the “Load” screen to return to the last choice you made. The skip feature is also quite fast, and the story isn’t too long anyway, so it’s easy to replay the entire game in a short amount of time.

You can click the auto save to return to your last choice!

My only criticism in this regard is the limited number of save slots. If I recall correctly, there are only six save slots in total, which makes it difficult to clear all of the endings and achievements without a guide, unless you have another way of keeping track of the choices you make.

In the end, I used a walkthrough posted to the Steam Community to quickly reach the longer good ending after a few failed attempts. I did succeed in reaching one of the good endings on my first playthrough, but then I ended up in all the bad endings without figuring out how to achieve the final, grand finale. The guide successfully got me there, and now I’ve played through every choice and ending, and collected all of the achievements.

This man is too cute my heart cannot handle him ❤

Recommend? Yes!

The Winter Tower is a shorter game with only one route and around 1-2 hours of playtime, depending on how quickly you read and how many attempts it takes to clear all nine endings. If you’re looking for a big-budget title with multiple love interests and dozens of hours of playtime, then this isn’t the game for you.

However, if you’re looking for a polished, atmospheric game that immerses you in a fantasy world that’s perfect for the holiday season, then I highly recommend The Winter Tower, especially if you’re looking for a more wholesome, whimsical romance, and even more so if you’re a fan of Disney movies and fairy tales.

The game features a sweet story with two loveable characters and a littany of adorable side characters (as well as a few unsavoury ones, but they’re not the focus of the plot). I already miss the cozy atmosphere and stunning, wintry aesthetic, so if you haven’t already, I recommend letting yourself be whisked away on your own fairy tale romance in The Winter Tower, the debut otome game of indie developers, Everium.

You’ll like The Winter Tower if you like: wintry, seasonal otome games; short and sweet stories you can finish in one sitting; free games (who doesn’t!); atmospheric games you can immerse yourself in; heartwarming, wholesome romances; fairy tale love stories; and cinnamon roll love interests who’ll remind you of a Disney princess ❤

Look at how round and chubby and cute this hamster is!!

Game Info

Game Name: The Winter Tower
Developers: Everium
Publishers: Everium
Platforms: Steam
Genres / Vibes: Romance, Fairy Tale, Heartwarming, Cute, Visual Novel, Otome (GxB), Indie
Price: Free (with optional, paid DLC)
More info: Steam Store Page, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by Everium, the developers behind The Winter Tower.

Thank You

~☆ Current Patrons ☆~

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SSR – Caroline

SSR – Meghan

SR – Teryarel

SR – Fitzroy

SR – Phatt

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2 comments

  • You know that I’m not too much into indie otome games. But there are two things that make this an exception: First, it’s short. I can’t do much wrong by taking two hours out of my time. And second, I have to admit that I’m interested in the flipped tropes. So, I’ll download this and plan to play it during my winter break. 🙂 Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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