Games

Melanin Friendly Games – Stars and Snowdrops

Hey there Blerdy Tribe, it’s Melanin Monday here on Blerdy Otome and that means I’m spotlighting another Melanin Friendly Game! For those of you just joining the party—every Monday I spotlight games that feature Black and brown characters for anyone looking for titles with just a bit more representation. As a blerd and a gamer, I am always on the lookout for representation in my games. This is largely a personal project for me—there are almost no “diverse game” tags on major game sites—so, it can be pretty difficult find games with characters of color… unless you already know where to look.

In last week’s post I spotlighted demo for Perfect Garbage’s upcoming queer positive cyberpunk visual novel, Love Shore. This week I’m looking at the fantasy romance visual novel Stars and Snowdrop from Ithaqua Labs. I’ve covered a few of this team’s games in the past and they are among the growing number of indie developers dedicated to creating more representative stories and characters. Gamers come in all shapes and sizes and yet it’s not easy finding games take that extra step to include diverse characters in their narratives. So when I come across a game that attempts to bridge that gap, I take notice!

Stars and Snowdrops is a short, atmospheric visual novel played from the perspective of Princess Kovida. This spoiled princess has a lot of growing to do in a very short amount of time, but ultimately her heart shines like the stars. The kingdom’s royal adviser, Frel, who helps Kovi along her path.

Synopsis (Steam Page)

I’m a curvy Black woman and while I love otome games and romance visual novels, not many of them feature heroines that look like me. Heroine customization is gaining some traction among visual novel devs in the west, but most are limited to eye color, skin tone, and hair color. Stars and Snowdrop takes heroine customization to another level by giving players a chance to choose from one of three distinct body types.

And I love the way they describe each body type—graceful as a willow tree or soft as the clouds above—it conveys the beauty of each body size in a way that makes them all sound so appealing! This is how you do representation! I understand that there are limitations to having a fully customizable heroine character, since you have to create art assets for each perceivable combination, but a gal can dream…

In the game, a rebellion is underway and Kovi’s mother is injured during the conflict, so Kovi is sent to Snowdrop Keep for her protection. Once there she is placed under the care of her royal advisor, Frel. Kovi isn’t happy with the arrangement, but she tries to make the best of the situation, that is until Frel informs her that she will need to choose a suitor. Interact with Frel and the various visitors at Snowdrop Keep and help Kovi shape her worldview.

Stars and Snowdrop is fairly short, roughly 30 minutes long and the story seems pretty small in scope but the characters are definitely memorable. Kovi is a piece of WORK, spoiled and entitled—as you’d expect from a pampered princess, but she’s also self aware and I enjoyed watching her soften out as the story progressed. But, I LOVE Frel! I am a sucker easy going/stoic characters and Frel is the perfect complement to Kovi’s more “excitable” nature.

I’d love to see these characters (AND this level of heroine customization) in a longer game someday…and with the small piece of the world we do see, I think there is the potential for even more storytelling possibilities. Stars and Snowdrops is a nice snack and with a $1.99 price tag, it’s more than worth giving a try.

You can play the game now on Steam or download directly from itch.io.

Thank you for reading and supporting Blerdy Otome! Have you played Stars and Snowdrops?  Share your thoughts! Got a Melanin Friendly Game you think I should spotlight? Send it to me! 

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