My Lovely Daughter is a life-management sim based around using alchemy to create a homunculus, send it to work, and then sacrifice it to meet your ultimate goal. Released on Mar 08 2018, My Lovely Daughter differentiates itself from other games in the life-sim genre with a much dark, Gothic tone. While this aspect certainly makes it stand out, the real question lies in if the rest of the game is able to hold up.
My Lovely Daughter is available on Steam for $14.99
The story of My Lovely Daughter centers around the main character Faust, who wakes up with most of his memories gone. All he does remember is his main goal, which is to revive his deceased daughter. To do this, he will have to recreate her very soul through the sacrifice of alchemical made Homunculi.
The main premise of the game revolves you doing amoral things in order to revive your daughter. You raise the homunculus solely for the sake of killing them later. This wouldn’t be as rough if it wasn’t for the fact that the homunculus actually have feelings and personalities. Oh, they also call you daddy, which starts to get fairly creepy after a while.
It’s a fairly straightforward narrative, but there are two big issues that stand out to me. First is the language barrier. The developers of My Lovely Daughter, GameChanger Studio, are based in Indonesia, and at times it shows in the writing. It’s nothing too terrible, but I’m a stickler for grammar.
The second issue I have is with the main character himself. While I understand that the point of the game is to do horrible things to revive your daughter, I lost sympathy for Faust fairly early on. It’s not just that he’s doing things that are monstrous, it’s the attitude he seems to have while doing it. The flavor text given when you sacrifice a homunculus almost always has something about how he hates the girls and is glad to get rid of them. He comes off as sociopath more so than a loving father.
The game revolves around bringing your daughter back to life via the use of an item called a soul orb. In order to make use of this item, you must create, raise, and sacrifice artificial creatures called homunculus. Sacrificing the homunculi will fill the soul orb with points of a specific affinity, of which there are four. Depending on how you mix these, you could either bring your daughter back or face dire consequences.
To create a homunculus, you must combine three ingredients within a transmutation circle. Depending on the combination, you can create a homunculus with one of four affinities. These are anger, sadness, joy, and fear. The affinity will determine their personality, as well as which jobs they are able to perform.
After you create the homunculi, you can go out for a weak in order to send them to work and level up. Their performance on each job, as well as how much experience they gain, is determined by their affinity. For example, a homunculus with the sadness affinity will be much better at working as a stand in mourner than one with the joy affinity.
The money your homunculus earn can be used to purchase raw materials for the creation of new homunculi, as well as special items that can boost things like money earned and homunculus growth. You can also buy a special balm which will preserve your daughters body, which as you can imagine is a bit of a necessity. In addition to having your homunculus work, you can also acquire money by getting specific materials for villagers.An important thing to keep an eye out for is your homunculus’s affection towards you. Making them work will slowly chip away how much affection they have, and having them work jobs that aren’t their affinity will make it drop faster. If their affection gets too low, they will run away from you. In order to raise their affection, you can give them gifts that are purchased in town. How effective the gift is will be determined by their affinity.
After you have sufficiently leveled up your homunculus, you will sacrifice them to fill the soul orb with their affinity. The higher the level, the more points they put into that affinity. Sacrificing them will also yield materials, that in turn can be used to create a new homunculus. The amount and quality of the materials is also determined by their level.The game is fairly simple, as reaching your ultimate goal will go down to trial and error on what balance of affinities you put into the orb. It does get a bit repetitive near the end, though the different combinations you can use to create a homunculus and attempt to revive your daughter help carry it around. One big issue I have is that the game does not allow you to mix three different materials, somewhat limiting the possibilities of different homunculi.
Graphics and Sound
The game has a fairly well drawn, woodcut style with gothic themes. There is a wide range of designs for the homunculi, making it even better to unlock new nes over the course of the game. The house you operate out of is sufficiently creepy, as is the morbid art shown when you sacrifice a homunculus. One thing I will say about the latter is that the majority of the art shown is incredibly similar.
The background music is sufficiently morbid, adding to the overall tone. The homunculi will laugh when they are given gifts, and cry when you sacrifice them, helping give them a bit more personality, (as well as making you feel like a horrible person). The sacrifices will also have specific sound effects, like hacking noises and electric currents.
Overall, the main draw of My Lovely Daughter, its art style and the variety of combinations available, carry the game fairly well. Gameplay wise it doesn’t really do much different from other games in the genre, and can get a bit repetitive near the end. Fortunately the game isn’t excruciatingly long, so unless you get fairly unlucky you won’t notice it too much. For fans of the genre looking for a different thematic experience, it's a different recommendation, though others may not find it particularly fun.
|+ Great artstyle||– Repetitive near the end|
|+ A decent number of combinations of homunculi||– Main character is a jerk|
|+ Creepy and morbid themes|