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Today I’m writing my review for Ciel Fledge. I’ve spent 20 hours or more on this game over the past few months, and it is at times slow, and suffers from really really bad controls on the Switch version… but I kept playing… and I was about halfway through the 10 years with my virtual daughter, when I reached the bad end. Pro tip if battling the gigant, attack the little shadow Ciels around the gigant, and don’t attack these shadows if they’re beside you, lol… I burnt myself… literally. :(… I saved right before that, but I’m burnt out on this game for now. You can also save your game after the credits and start a new game+ with all of your items and money and some of the things, like the diets and etc already unlocked. Nice :).
Another tip before we get to the review… try to spoil your daughter and boost her affection in the early part of the game, because early on you’ll be called into a strange building and your daughter will want to go off and explore but you need affection – I didn’t have enough – also early on, the gigant attacks and you need high affection to choose to make your daughter take shelter – nothing too bad happens if you don’t do these things – but I wonder what would have happened if I had enough affection. So boost that affection early! 🙂
Ok onto the review.
Ciel Fledge is a daughter raising simulation game available on multiple platforms. I play mostly my Nintendo Switch these days (though I still love my playstation 4 and PC and mobile and retro consoles too, the switch is just nice and easy and accessible making it my go-to these days.) I even just bought the Switch Lite a few days ago despite already owning a Switch (regular) since the launch of the console.
So I chose this game for Nintendo Switch – big mistake. It’s TERRIBLE on the Nintendo Switch. I pray it is better on PC or other versions… because the controls are SOOOOOOO bad on the Switch version of Ciel Fledge… garbage. It’s almost impossible to play it when docked on the TV. The touch screen of the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite make it a little easier… but still… bad, bulky, slow, aggravating controls… the worst I’ve ever seen on a Switch title… maybe the worst I’ve ever seen on a game ever period.
But yet despite this one pretty huge major flaw… I didn’t want to put the game down…. And it’s not out of lack of things to play…. I have about 30 games “waiting in the wings” that I’ve bought – some even at full price – and not played yet, because I wanted to finish Ciel Fledge.
Well I did finish it this morning… in a way… I suppose…. I got the bad ending as mentioned at the beginning of my review. Now that I know how to fight the monster I can easily just load up my save and kick that monster’s ass lol. But…. I think it’s time for a break from this game for awhile…. I want to play Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town on Nintendo Switch next. And I have Sakura Wars on PS4, Catherine Full Body – I only reached one ending so far in this remake on PS4 – Digimon Cyber Sleuth (the complete version with both games) on my Switch, Mask of Deception/Mask of Truth on PS4, and countless others, waiting for me to play.
I don’t get to play as often or as much anymore because of my Epilepsy. That’s why I only took about 20 hours but about 2 months to complete Ciel Fledge here. I can only play in small bursts now. And my backlog of games is growing! I also just picked up Pokemon Shield this weekend – a year late or more I know – and I barely touched Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee yet either… So many games, so little time…
So yes, it’s not a lack of things to play or boredom that kept me trudging along throughout Ciel Fledge… It was… in its own way… despite the flaws… quite compelling…
I’ll go out on a limb here and say it’s not as good as Princess Maker, and no where close to matching Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side (my favorite “Stat Raising Sim”). But we don’t get many “Stat Raising Sims” in English, especially commercially released, readily available, easily accessible games like this without importing and patching the game with a fan translation. So… for that… I give it my support and appreciation. I really want more games like this… I really wish Konami would give us an English release of Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side, especially the 4th one which I don’t think is out yet and I assume coming out on the Switch…. Fingers Crossed. I mean we just got Sakura Wars, after like 20 years of it being only in Japan – I know its not the same developer or publisher – but I mean things like that give me hope at least lol.
So in Ciel Fledge, you’re tasked with raising a virtual daughter for 10 years of her life…. The gameplay is slow and repetitive…. my daughter’s life was cut short, but she went to school over 700 times and worked part time jobs almost 800 times, and explored the world hundreds of times…
This game is definitely influenced by Princess Maker – I think it was the 2nd game in which you could battle and had some RPG elements – This game plays almost exactly like Princess Maker – except instead of normal RPG turn based combat, it uses a card mechanism to chain combos… Which is where my complaint about the bad controls on the nintendo switch comes in. Too slow when docked on the TV – sorta OK on portable with the touch screen, but easy to mispress a button because everything is so close together.
The user interface feels clunky and dated and everything feels super slow and unresponsive in general….
But the story itself is pretty interesting. Few people live anymore on earth’s surface. Your daughter is supposedly a refugee from “Ark 5” a civilian ship, and you are living currently on Ark 3, another similar civilian ship. Life on the Arks is similar to real life, while life on the surface of earth in the game is post apocalyptic. Life is mostly peaceful, except for a monster known as Gigant who wants to destroy all of the Arks for reasons I have not yet uncovered.
Your daughter has no memory, of herself, her past, her parents, or anything.
When the game starts you can give your daughter a name, and name yourself. You can choose your own gender. And I dunno if you can ever raise a male child, maybe they plan it in an expansion? because the gender of your child is listed, but even on new game+ it’s still the same girl.
You choose your own background story, are you from earth, or the ark, and your profession, like nurse, architect, soldier, pilot, teacher, etc. Your story and profession affect the stats of your daughter.
You then schedule up a week of activities for you and your daughter. She needs plenty of rest, unless you’re a nurse and get triple bonus from rest activities. You select what to feed her, and how harsh or lenient to be with her.
There are only a few activities to select at first, but as your stats increase you will unlock new skills and new activities for the week. Your daughter will be different and have different activities available to her based on her stats.
At some point later you will be able to explore the surface and fight monsters and other more RPG like elements.
When not fighting, there will occasionally be random events with the NPCs such as Ciel’s friends and teachers etc. At some points you can influence the story similar to a visual novel by choosing from multiple choice options on the screen.
The art style is hit or miss to me… I like most of the NPCs, but Ciel just isn’t very cute to me… I think her friend Vivi is cuter :). And the gigant isn’t scary. Especially in the actual battle scene, he’s a round black… blob thing? The background art is pretty, but it’s clearly not a Japanese game. The art style is just different. It lacks the level of detail or finesse of a true anime game. Even though Princess Maker is from the 90s, it’s cuter to me, with more “event scenes” and the daughter changes more as she grows, like hair growing, boobs growing, whatever lol.
I prefer Princess Maker a lot more over this game. This game is still fun but feels like a cheap Princess Maker clone. And both Princess Maker (which I love) and this game (Which honestly despite my complaints I did enjoy) pale in comparison to Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s side.
Unless you REALLY want an action story (Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side has NO action at all, and Princess Maker is pretty light on the action too)…. I would encourage you to play one of the other games over Ciel Fledge – unless you really want the action elements. – To me I could take them or leave them. They do make for an interesting story, but I’m fine with slice of life anime/games too without any action. And the gameplay the action and battles of Ciel Fledge bring to the table is severely lacking in every way.
Playing Ciel Fledge makes me want to start playing Princess Maker or Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side again. :). But I also do eventually want to return to Ciel Fledge too… For what it’s worth… it isn’t a terrible game… it’s pretty good. and for those of us thirsty for some stat raising simulation games… it helps feed the hunger… but for me it leaves me craving something that can only be filled by an English release of Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side or perhaps finally seeing Princess Maker 4 getting an English release… that one was my favorite eve though I couldn’t read it, it had the cutest daughter… I don’t understand why all the other Princess Maker games were released except for that one… sigh.
Overall here’s how I would rate Ciel Fledge:
Geeky: 1/5 Poor Controls, Slow, Sluggish, Repetitive Gameplay. Poor graphics.
Sweetie: 4/5 It’s a Stat Raising Game and Visual Novel, You Raise a Daughter, it’s inspired by great games like Princess Maker and Tokimeki Memorial. It has kinda sorta anime inspired graphics.
Gameplay: 3/10 – The controls are horrible. The game is slow. There are scenes where characters are just standing or the camera panning for a solid 20 seconds before the dialogue begins and you don’t want to skip it cuz you actually want to read it, but it’s soooo slow. unnecessarily slow.. adds nothing to the game. But you get to raise a daughter, and there is some high replay because there’s so many different activities to unlock based on your stats.
Graphics: 5/10 – Some of the characters are really cute, but I don’t find Ciel very cute at all. The gigant isn’t scary looking. The game tries to go for an anime look but lacks the right shading or coloring technique to pull it off. Some of the NPCs are cute. I dunno I just feel overall MEH about the graphics. The dressup options are limited and mostly MEH…
Story: 8/10 – Pretty good actually, the suspense and drama make it a page turner which is the game’s saving grace really.
Characters: 10/10 – Ok the characters are pretty good – it starts out slow, but each character eventually has a lot of depths and secrets and mysteries to learn more about them. Some of them are just typical anime tropes, but still I enjoyed interacting with the NPCs.
Music: 6/10 – I thought the music was decent for an indie game. Apparently there is a song with vocals somewhere too (I see in the credits) but I haven’t heard it yet.
Voice Acting: 1/10 – They hired all of these voice actors – and for what? to say “Hey” “hi” “bye” “oh” “ouch” and make little moaning and groaning sounds? Stupid, waste of money. The game didn’t need voice acting – it doesn’t add anything to the game – It would be different if the voice acting was used to actually read/speak the dialogue but that’s not the case.
Replay Value: 10/10 – overall the appeal of this game is raising a daughter and watching her follow one of many career paths, or die trying. This depends on her stats and the choices you make throughout the game.
Overall 48/80 60% D- Average Game For Girls.
NOTE: If I would have played on PC or another platform, perhaps the controls and gameplay issues would not be as horrible as they are on the Nintendo Switch. If it had better controls and gameplay it COULD HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING instead receive a score of 59/80 74% C “Good Game for Girls”… But I have not played any other version so I can’t say for certainty if their controls are any better.