Square Enix is a weird publisher. Everybody knows them for their Final Fantasies, Niers, and Dragon Quests, but they’ll usually have a couple more niche releases every year as well. Like last year’s Powerwash Simulator, for example. This year that game would be Little Goody Two Shoes. The game, developed by AstralShift, is a horror narrative adventure set in a beautiful fairy tale world, with dating sim elements, little minigames to make money, and day-night cycles.
In Little Goody Two Shoes you play Elise, a young lass who lives at the edge of Kieferberg. Despite having grown up there, she has never really become a part of the community, and while some of the villagers of Kieferberg might not be a fan of Elise, she’s even less of a fan of them. Additionally, it’s a faith-based community that believe there’s a witch that has targeted the village of Kieferberg, and of course, they suspect the young woman who’s living in the nearby woods as an outcast. And when a mysterious girl called Rozenmarine appears at your doorstep, and some gruesome events start happening around the village, the suspicions against you and your new friend only rise.
Little Goody Two Shoes works on a six-part cycle, from early morning to late night until the next day starts. Every action you do passes one part of that cycle, and every time you progress by one part it also increases your hunger, if the hunger bar drops far enough you simply die. Which means you consistently have to get money, which you can get by completing tasks for the villagers, which takes up time slots that you could be progressing the story during. But just mainlining the story isn’t gonna work because you will starve. Luckily, these tasks are made up of arcade-style minigames like catching apples that fall from a tree, or swinging the baseball bat with the right timing. These are all very charming and fun, and help to avoid making the tasks feel like chores.
Progressing the story is as simple as going to the person you need to talk to and then reading a bunch of dialogue. At least until you reach witching hour, where your path often leads you into the nearby woods where the presence of the witch can be felt, especially. Here you’ll have to go through little dungeons that are built around puzzles. Here is where the horror comes through the most, as the story beats that occur here can get pretty dark and intense. Also, in its aesthetic, this is where Little Goody Two Shoes leans into horror the most, with distorted worlds that play with darker colours in really nice ways.
The rest of Little Goody Two Shoes adopts the visuals of a classic fairy tale book for children, with lush green forests, crystal clear rivers, and a whimsical village. All of this is depicted in mostly one beautifully illustrated style, but the game also plays with its presentation a couple of times. For important events there will be still frames in a different, more detailed, but equally stunning style, and there’s even some wild mixed media music videos with moments of live action puppetry. The music is also really nice and accompanies both the whimsy of the fairy tale landscape, and the horror of the distorted reality.
One important aspect of the gameplay are the dating sim elements and suspicion meter, which are sort of intertwined. There are three girls that you can go on dates with, which increases the heart meter with that person and leads to some rather cute moments. The girl I decided to romance was also the girl that the townsfolk were suspicious of. You’ll regularly be questioned by townsfolk in regards to the actions of your friend (or maybe more than friend), and if you answer wrong, it raises the suspicions of theirs. When the bar gets full… well, honestly, I never got there but I imagine the consequences aren’t great.
With 10 different endings, Little Goody Two Shoes tells a story how a classic fairy tale should be. Whimsical, in horrific, in equal measures, and in the process still leaves plenty of room for player expression to shape their own tale of witches and monsters.
Nairon played Little Goody Two Shoes on PC with a review key.