Elated Sorrow is a free girls’ love kinetic novel developed by Foxpancakes. Play as Max, a depressed girl whose life begins to change as she meets the caring and inquisitive Lyra.
The game begins with Max taking a walk through the forest, reflecting on her recent luck. She feels very much alone and like she doesn’t deserve happiness. However, when she falls and scrapes her knee, Max meets a vibrant and compassionate stranger who offers her a helping hand.
Lyra, seemingly very unlike the edgy protagonist, is very kind and welcoming despite Max’s initial reservations. She’s very persistent even as Max continuously tries to set herself up for failure (a self-proclaimed fault of hers is pushing people away). While the pair seem to be very compatible in an opposites-attract kind of way, their story is held together by convenient happenings and “chance” meetings. From Lyra and Max’s initial meeting to the night that Max spends at the still-near-stranger’s home, everything seems to align perfectly for the women. Almost too perfectly.
Now, of course we can suspend our disbelief for some of these occurrences because it’s a dating game, after all. If the two don’t bump into each other, how will the story progress? What matters more to me is how easily Max agrees to things that many people would be at least a little more resistant to. For example, going all the way to a stranger’s house for a simple bandage and then staying the night when it gets late.
In this sense, the story becomes unbelievable and, in certain scenes, unsatisfying. However, that’s not to say this plagues the entire story. Max’s characterization is very relatable, and her feelings of depression and worthlessness are explored in a tasteful and effective way.
The sprites in Elated Sorrow are really cute. I love the attention to detail on each girl’s outfit. The clothes that Max and Lyra wear are reflective of their personalities. The game goes as far as to have Max and Lyra’s nameplates matching the color of their outfits (red for Max and purple for Lyra), a nice little touch!
The game’s backgrounds are edited stock photos which contrast the character art; however, for a short free game, it isn’t a deal breaker. The game’s textbox suffers the same generic fate, but it’s minimal and doesn’t take away from the experience.
The music tracks are also royalty-free selections, but they fit the slice-of-life atmosphere really well. The music feels like a nice cherry on top to tie the experience together, and had I not used some of the tracks myself, I wouldn’t have even noticed they weren’t custom-made!
Elated Sorrow is a short, free kinetic novel. You’ll be able to finish the 12,000-word game in one sitting, so consider giving it a try if you’re looking for a short and sweet experience!
You can play Elated Sorrow yourself for free on itch.io.