Snow Angel is a heartwarming fantasy indie otome game developed by Galen Game for the game jam, Nanoreno 2021. In the game you play as a baker at a local café in a small snow bound town, you enjoy your work and the people you meet, but every so often you can’t help but feel a little lonely. If only there was someone out there just for you, it’s a simple wish, but one from the heart. Suddenly a handsome man appears before you, it seems fate has something special in store for you…
“What if when you wished for something, someone answered?”
Snow Angel is a heart-warming love story between a human and an angel involving fluff, baking and falling snow.
– Snow Angel Official Synopsis
The one-month timeframe of Nanoreno is often the biggest hurdle that developers face, what would normally take months of careful development must be condensed into the game jam’s restrictive timeframe. For most developers it’s challenging to tell a cohesive story in just an hour of gameplay and many fall short, but Galen Games makes the most of Snow Angel‘s short runtime to tell a surprisingly wholesome and fulfilling romance that gives players an intimate look at the developing relationship between its leads in a way that even some bigger budget otome games fail to do with much longer gameplay times.
Take on the role of a young baker who is working their dream job at a small town café. Even though the MC loves their life and job, they can’t help but want someone to love. Their feelings of loneliness come to a head and the MC makes a desperate wish for someone to share their life with, but they don’t have much time to dwell on it before heading to work for the day. Hoping work will be the perfect distraction, the MC sets off to start the day, but their hopes are dashed when an encounter with a rude customer sends them spiraling. As someone who has worked as a barista, that scene was almost painful to watch unfold, but thankfully a handsome stranger is there to help the MC pick up the pieces. With his charming smile and soothing presence, Raphael offers to listen to the MCs problems and the pair strike up an easy acquaintance that gradually develops into something more… As they spend time together, their feelings grow, but the MC can’t help but feel like Raphael is hiding something, a secret that will change your life forever.
With it’s soft music and quiet snowy setting, Snow Angel is a super sweet and relaxing romance story. It can be a bit slow at times, but given the overabundance of drama filled romances this is a welcome change of pace. From a casual evening of baking to a fun ski date, each encounter is full of sugary sweet fluff. Their relationship is just so wholesome and I couldn’t help but fall for the handsome and ethereal, Raphael—long flowing hair, kind eyes, and soft smile—he is beautiful in every sense of the word. The MC is a delight and like many indie games, you can choose your name and pronouns at the start of the game. I really liked that this MC has short hair (there just aren’t enough short-haired MCs) and while they is much more reserved than the MCs I usually favor, I did relate to this MC more because their wish for companionship is something we all desire (especially after a year of social distancing).
The art like the rest of the game is pretty soothing. All of the backgrounds are warm and inviting, and there is even a nice snow animation in some of the outdoor scenes. There are only two character sprites, one half sprite for the MC and a full body sprite for Raphael. And there are four unlockable CGs that look like something out of a picture book.
Like a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day, Snow Angel offers a satisfying and cozy experience that will warm even the most frigid heart. There aren’t any special features or gimmicks that would normally be used to mask any shortcomings, rather it is the story and characters that really make this game shine. It’s a sweet wholesome romance between a human woman and an angel, a simple story but one that will stay with you. For their debut game, Galen Games has a clear winner here and I can’t wait to see what else the team has for us in the future!
Nanoreno, is an annual one-month game jam that is held from March to early April where developers are challenged to create a visual novel in the allotted time frame. The game jam is open to newbie devs and veterans alike and every year I am blown away by the submissions—this year there were 89 submissions ranging from romance to parody to everything else in between.
There’s a lot to get through, so throughout the month of April I will be covering as many of the submissions as I can, while giving special attention to indie otome and the romance VN titles.