Demo Review: Heroine for Hire

Heroine for Hire from Jellyfish Parade is a fun fantasy romp. In this romantic comedy, follow Lyre as she takes on the most dangerous of tasks: not losing yet another job. After going through eight in the past few months, she’s getting desperate to finally find something to let her support her family. Will a mysterious ad change her fate? Will she find romance along the way?

A review for this game demo was requested through the VN Game Den review request form.

A Fun Setting with a Modern Sensibility

This game has taken a very interesting approach to its “medieval-styled” fantasy. It’s got all the aesthetic trappings one expects. There’s a tavern and a blacksmith and an incurable sickness. All things you’re kind of accustomed to. But it’s got a very modern sensibility to it that plays well with the setting and is very fun and refreshing. There are elves and bunny-people and presumably humans and whatever Fai is, but, so far, it’s not steeped in socio-politcal strife or some huge, epic, rambling saga. It’s a story about a woman looking for a job, and that is one of the most relatable modern day problems in existence.

All of this world and the story that’s being designed to live inside it are also presented in an organic, efficient way without resorting to infodumping. Within one conversation, we know a lot about the main character, her relationship with her family, a general flavor of the world, the setup for the central conflict, and foreshadowing for what’s likely to be a conflict later in the story. From there, it’s all action and fun character-relationship building, and the world comes along for the ride. There are questions that definitely need answering at some point, but I trust the writer to give me those answers at some point later in the game. It’s a fun mystery that gives me the impetus to come back. I only would have liked the demo to be a little longer and move a little further down the main plot.

A Main Character in Charge of Her Own Romantic Sensibilities

A manifestation of that modern sensibility is the game’s relationship to the more adult aspects of romance without being an ecchi or pornographic game.

The female characters we spend the most time with, Lyre and her mother Timpani, are active participants in their own aesthetic and, presumably, sexual attraction. When Lyre meets Fai, in particular, he is hot. He is attractive. When her mother talks about her father, she is enamored of him she desperately loves him. Lyre has to stop her short before getting into the embarrassing part of the conversation where you have to think about what your parents had to do for you to exist.

As an older otome and visual novel fan, it’s fun to play as a character with a more self-actualized sense of attraction and romantic self-hood. She’s not going to be dragged along by a romantic hook; she’s going to be an active member in it. I feel like I’m being promised something a little more nuanced than “soft uwu romance” while still being sfw and generally wholesome. It’s a fun prospect.

A Lovely Looking Game

The game also just looks great. Lyre and Lute are identical twins, but they’re designed in such a way to be very distinct from one another and highlight their unique personalities. Lyre’s not a delicate, shrinking violet full of feminine grace. She’s a buff lady who can stand her ground in a fight with just soup ladles at her disposal. And so her romance options are an aesthetic match to that. One’s even a little prettier than she is.

The art communicates an adventure where our main character is going to be kicking butt and taking names. All the while, she and the rest of the cast are expressive and fun to look at.

A fun fantasy game with a modern feel, the demo for Heroine for Hire promises a fun time for a mature audience while still staying light and family-friendly.

It’s currently running a Kickstarter to fund its second love interest route.

Play the demo or buy the current release on itch.io.

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