My Lovely Daughter is a conflicting experience for me, as there are things that I like about it and things I really hate about it. I will give a warning that this game deals with some heavy subject matter of child abuse, child labor, neglect, and ignorant societies. If you are someone who is not comfortable with these types of subjects, then I recommend not picking up this game.
Pros and Cons
- The story is presented very well at the start
- Summoning Homunculus is really fun and interesting
- A very nice hand drawing art style
- Fantastic music, with the violin tunes sounding very nice
- Characters do not develop at all and lack interest
- Gameplay becomes very boring and tedious
- Tedious grinding is required to get the best results
The story starts out with a character named Faust. He wakes up with no memories of who he is or really anything about his past, but he sees a little girl's lifeless corpse and finds out, that this is his daughter. He wants to try and bring her back to life by any means necessary and will even kill and sacrifice in order to do so.
Faust decides to create a summoning circle where he will use certain materials to summon Homunculi. In doing so Faust will make the daughters work to fulfill his desires in bringing his actual daughter back. The daughters he brings to life all care for him and love him, however, Faust does not love them back and is just waiting for the day to use them for a ritual.
The story of My Lovely Daughter has a very strong start to it and the ideas behind it are very interesting. The game as a whole has a strong message to it, that being, child neglect, abuse, labor, and ignorant societies. I personally think the message is delivered very well and it does get its point across.
Although I do have an issue with the story as a whole, the characters themselves don’t develop in any way. It makes it rather difficult to even have any sort of attachment to them as a whole or even care for them. Faust just comes off as a total a**hole in most situations, which to be fair I suppose was intentional, but you can make a character you hate be good. The supporting characters are not great either and I ended up not caring for them at all.
My Lovely Daughter is a sim-based game. You will be tasked with giving your daughters certain jobs to complete. Each day they will get money which you can use to buy materials to summon more Homunculi, gifts for the daughters, and other stuff you may need. Certain daughters will have a certain mood to them (sadness, anger, fear, and joy), and depending on what mood you get will determine what job they want to do. For example, an angry daughter may want to do a job that involves her mood type, like blacksmithing. Putting a daughter in jobs that don’t match their moods will make them lose affection for you. You can increase their affection by giving them jobs they like, and gifts. However, you should keep track of what gifts go with certain daughters, as they may not like everything you give them.
To summon a Homunculus, you will need materials and they have to be used in a certain way. To summon one, you must use two wood and one iron, two meat, and one water, or you can use something like three clay to make one. You can mix and match each material to make them, however, you can’t use one of each or you will have a failed creation and they will only end up doing half of the work you assign them, so try to avoid that. If you mistreat your daughters and their affection gets too low, they will run away from home, and you will lose them for good.
In the fourth week of every month, you can choose to do the summoning ritual to try and infuse your actual daughter's soul into her corpse. However, the soul needs to have some emotion in it for the daughter to come back and this is where you sacrifice your Homunculi. How it works is that Faust will go to his daughters, and they will say that they love each other, just for Faust to then do the Anton Castillo line where he says "HAHAHAHA, I was acting" and while the daughter is waiting for the "Or was I?" part, they are executed on the spot to revive his actual daughter.
The gameplay idea is very interesting and summoning the Homunculi is very fun and is something I liked doing, however, the gameplay has two major problems that hold it back. The gameplay as a whole is fun but gets very boring and tedious quite quickly as there is no variance in what you do in the game. The repetition started to get to me around in hour in.
Another issue I have is with the amount of grind that is required for the game as a whole. While it is nice trying to know what each and every daughter likes, the grind is painfully slow and when you start to get the gameplay loop on what you have to do. The idea of the gameplay is definitely good, but due to the dull execution, I ended up dropping the game as it felt like a waste of time versus a fun challenge.
Graphics, Performance, and Soundtrack
The art style for My Lovely Daughter is really well done. I loved the black and white aesthetic and it looks pretty creepy in some of the areas which I like. The game runs very well, I tested it on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, with16 GB of RAM.
The soundtrack is also something that I enjoyed listening to, it sounded very nice and pleasing to the ears. The Violin tunes are nicely put together and make the soundtrack sound fitting for the era which the game takes place in.
I am a bit torn with this game, while it’s not terrible by any means, it is definitely not something I’d enjoy playing for long periods of time or even a game I want to come back to. The idea and the message that the developers wanted to show and tell us are clear and they do a good job at it. It’s just with a tedious gameplay loop where nothing changes and the amount of grind that you have to do in order to get certain endings may not be worth your time. I recommend waiting for this one to go on a sale if you are interested in this title.
If you want to see a look into how the game is played, then check out the video I made.