Choose Your Own Cinderella Story in the Visually Stunning “Cinders”

From start to finish, Cinders is a masterpiece of the genre and unlike any visual novel I’ve seen before. Even at first glance the artwork is stunning, the colors saturated and textured. The backgrounds are beautifully painted and reminiscent of oil paintings, and the classical background music adds a rich layer to an already stunning game.

Like the title suggests, Cinders is a new take on the Cinderella myth. Although Cinderella’s origins have been lost, she dates back at least to ancient Greece in the story of a Greek courtesan who seduced an Egyptian pharoah with her sandal and rose to power. The developers at MoaCube take the Cinderella story back to her origins with the introduction of Cinders, a young girl struggling to escape the rule of her overbearing stepmother and gain her freedom and independence.

But are things really that simple? Cinders delves into the motivations of its four central women, none of whom are quite as black and white as they seem. Cinders is the protagonist but that doesn’t mean she can’t be cruel or immature; Lady Carmosa might be the evil stepmother but that doesn’t make her motivations wrong; and the stepsisters hint at unexplored depths, though it will likely take more than a few playthroughs to learn all their secrets.

Cinders adds complexity without necessarily darkening the classic story of an abused girl who moves up in the world. With four endings–and multiple variants of them–Cinders is every bit worth the price tag.

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