Little Goody Two Shoes is, above all else, a work of art. The new title by Square Enix and AtralShift sets out to impress from start to finish with its beautiful art, presentation, phenomenal mood-setting music, and captivating phantasmagorical horror story. This little fairy tale will easily tug at your heartstrings and get your heart racing in equal measure.
The game opens with a phenomenal cutscene animated in the style of early anime. This retro aesthetic animation gives us a taste of what’s to come. Little Goody Two Shoes introduces many of the characters involved in the game’s overall plot and shows a hint of the dangerous nature of the world around you. This sense of danger will slowly creep up on you, but we’ll talk about it more later.
Little Goody Two Shoes is all about Elise, an orphaned child found in a fruit basket in the middle of the woods by her adoptive grandmother Holle. Holle raises Elise to be a fiercely independent woman, who is beloved by her village of Kieferberg even when she can’t help but butt heads with them. With Holle passed, Elise now lives alone in the mountains working as an errand girl for the village and longing for a better life.
All of this changes when Elise discovers a strange girl living in her backyard and begins to have wild and dangerous dreams.
If you’ve ever played a dating sim, you have a pretty good idea of how the gameplay in Little Goody Two Shoes works. It’s a simple game of resource management that is played, juggling collecting much-needed supplies to prevent a game over and spending time with your romantic interests. In the case of Little Goody Two Shoes, the resources you’ll be juggling are your Food, Sanity, and Suspicion.
Food is fairly straightforward: A girl’s gotta eat. By doing chores for the townsfolk each day, you can earn a little bit of money to spend on bread and pretzels. Each action you choose to do, from working a job for the village to going on a date, moves time forward a bit. Each stage drains your hunger a bit more, and if you starve, you lose.
These jobs you complete for the village come in the form of little minigames that break up the monotony of the RPG-maker-type gameplay.
You don’t just need food for yourself, though because a cute but dangerous spy named Muffy is spying on you. As strange things begin to happen around the village, the villagers become suspicious. Muffy is willing to tattle on you and make it worse if you don’t meet her food demands each day. She’s adorable, but if you don’t meet her demands she will cause the villagers to grow more suspicious and they’ll brand you a witch. That is never good.
At night, you’ll be dealing with sanity-draining nightmares and adventures into the deeper woods, which is where the game’s true horror lies. I won’t touch on this much – I don’t want to spoil the experience – I absolutely love the monster designs in the game and the fantastical, creepy nature of the story had me grinning from ear to ear.
These mechanics are pretty simple to figure out, though it took me until my first game over to realize I was supposed to be eating the bread and pretzels I accumulated.
While I love the loop of trying to get by, working to feed yourself each night, and paying off your little local snitch, I thought the game could use a bit more depth as far as the mechanics go. Outside of your chores minigames, the game consists of what I accurately described as pretty basic dating sim management mechanics, RPG maker-style exploration, and puzzles.
As far as romance comes, your options are Rozenmarine, Lebkuchen, and Freya. They are three interesting women who all have different yet equally important places in Elise’s life. It’s up to you who you ultimately pursue, with each date you go on with them progressing your romance a little further. My favorite is a toss-up between Rozenmarine and Lebkuchen.
The game’s art is by far its greatest strength. It’s hard to even get into how great the art is, jumping between phenomenally animated cutscenes in the style of retro 80’s anime, to a wonderful hand-drawn world with cute little characters for the main gameplay. Subtle little animation even finds its way into the sprites, which are always moving to emphasize shifts in dialogue and interactions between the characters.
At times I found myself just standing over one of the many fantastic viewpoints in Little Goody Two Shoes, just staring into the horizon and the beautiful backdrops.
There are a total of ten different endings to find in Little Goody Two Shoes, which you can keep track of in the wardrobe in your bedroom. Persuing each ending gives the game plenty of replayability, and if you ask me is more than worth the time it takes to see each fate Elise has in store for her.
The plot of Little Goody Two Shoes is one I felt personally connected to. Always dreaming of having more, living life big, and never having to worry about having food on the table again. Always struggling just to get by. It’s a problem I imagine many people can relate to, and when paired with the wonderful characters present you’re likely to find yourself lost in the story and world of Little Goody Two Shoes.
The Final Word
Little Goody Two Shoes surprised me, lowering my guard with its loveable characters and phenomenal presentation and shocking me with its themes of mistrust and persecution — to say nothing of the actual horrible creatures encountered. A must-have dating sim for horror fans — something I’d never thought I’d end up saying.
Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! Little Goody Two Shoes is available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation.