The Radiants is an upcoming urban fantasy indie otome game developed by Rose Arcana Games. The game blends together some light stats raising with the narrative storytelling of a visual novel. Follow Emmalyn, a normal college student who finds her life turned upside-down when she is unwittingly chosen to be the next oracle to the Radiant Council. Now she must enroll in Serenvale Academy—a magical school that will train her to use her new abilities.
When an ordinary college student witnesses the death of a young woman, she is thrust into a world she never knew existed — a world alongside her own filled with magic, danger, and a cast of unbelievable characters. Forced to take the place of the woman she tried to save, she must prove herself by passing the trials of the Radiant Council or risk losing her memories forever..
–The Radiants Official Synopsis
Emmalyn is just a totally normal college student who suddenly finds herself thrown headfirst into the magical world of Radiants. She’s new to the magical world and she definitely has some catching up to do, but she faces most situations with just enough snark to make it fun. She’s definitely in over her head, but her reactions to things are believable—she’s making the most of a off the walls situation, sometimes she makes mistakes, sometimes she ekes out a win. She’s just doing the best she can with the card’s she’s been dealt and I can definitely relate to that.
While Emmalyn’s appearance isn’t customizable, you can determine her personality early on by choosing between some basic character traits (Genuine vs. Scheming etc) and some of the in game choices have personality traits attached that color your responses to certain situations (which is tied in with the stats).
Arien is in Azurite (like Emmalyn), he’s the top of the class and highkey intimidating af. He doesn’t really acknowledge those that he thinks are beneath him and he can be pretty standoffish. He doesn’t really reveal much about himself and it’s unclear what his abilities are, though since he’s in Azurite, it must have something to do with the mind. Because he’s one of the best in the school, he serves as the Headmaster’s assistant and even TAs a few of Balin’s classes when he’s away. I do like me a challenge, so I’m looking forward to getting to know him better in final build, he seems like the type to tough on people he thinks has potential and we kinda see a bit of that when he takes over Emmalyn’s Psionics class.
Grey is in Iolite and he has the ability to read people’s auras. He’s good looking and rich, so he pretty much just does whatever he wants, skipping class and throwing parties. He has a reputation for dating lots of girls, only to break up with them not long after and he always seems to be the center of attention. Of course he wastes no time flirting with Emmalyn and even invites her to a party in his dorm room. When she gets a bit drunk instead of taking advantage of the situation, he takes her somewhere quiet and gets her water to clear her head. I’m not really one for flirty characters, but I kind of get the sense that there’s more going on with Grey than meets the eye.
Kai is half Radiant, half Kitsune and is in Rholodite, mainly because they didn’t know where else to put him. Before Emmalyn arrived he was the new kid, having transferred from Riverscar (another magical school). Because he is considered a Therian (individuals descended from mythical animals), he’s a bit of an outcast at Serenvale Academy—there’s apparently bad blood between Radiants and Therians, but he doesn’t let that get him down too much. Kai is pretty upbeat and cheerful and is even a part of the school’s Wild Stones sports team. Kai is my fave so far, he is just so chill and easy to talk with and I feel like he is just a lot of fun to hang out with.
So, Rheala is Emmalyn’s super supportive roommate and a Dryad in Jadeite. She’s super chill and down to earth, and offers to help Emmalyn get acclimated to life at Serenvale. Because she’s been at the Academy for a few years now, she knows everything there is to know about the place and the people there, so whenever Emmalyn needs help, she’s more than happy to fill her in on the latest gossip. While dryads are typically nature guardians, Rheala wants more out of life than that, but she’s still figuring out the details. She can be a bit impulsive, but she always means well. Rheala and Emmalyn click right away and I love seeing wholesome female friendships in otome games, but I’m also really happy she’s a love interest too.
Urban fantasy romance? Sign me up! While out walking, Emmalyn witnesses the death of a young woman, but before she can process what’s happening a strange woman appears and tells her that she has been “chosen” to be the next oracle to the Radiant Council. Oracles are always human, but there hasn’t been a new one in years, but before she can take on the role she will need to undergo training at Serenvale Academy (think Hogwarts), an elite magical school where the best of the best study. Students are divided into one of four houses: Azurite, for Radiants with abilities that stem from the mind; Jadeite for students with elemental abilities; Rholodite, for folks with physical abilities; and Iolite, for the folks with abilities that are a bit harder to pin down. Since Emmalyn really doesn’t have a choice in the matter Emmalyn enrolls at Serenvale Academy under Azurite and begins her magical training.
The Radiants kind of reminds me a bit of Aeon Dream Studio’s Mystic Destinies: Serendipity of Aeons—a seemingly normal human girl is given magical powers and sent to magic school to hone her abilities, in the process having to learn more about the previously unknown magical world. I am a sucker for a good fantasy adventure game, andThe Radiants has some phenomenal worldbuilding that borrows from existing folklore, a fact that Emmalyn picks up on early on in the game, but with a few tweaks here and there to give the story it’s own unique feel. Like, Professor Balin is a Siren, but unlike the beings from myth who’s songs cause sailors to go mad and wreck their ships on rocky shores, he explains that his abilities allow him to manipulate emotions through song. Other beings like Dryads and Kitsune exist within the world of The Radiants, but, others like ghosts and pixies don’t and then there are some others that I wasn’t familiar with like Ifrits from Islamic lore and Spectiri, Radiants that control colors. The demo just scratches the surface of all the different types of Radiants there are and I like that the player gets the chance to learn about everything alongside Emmalyn. In the demo there isn’t a glossary feature, which is something I feel is needed in a game like this, so I do hope they add one for the final build.
The demo covers the first two weeks of the school year and mostly focuses on Emmalyn learning to adjust to life at Serenvale—attend classes, get to know her super chill roomie, sign up for clubs, and learn more about the Radiants and their world, while also trying to get a handle on Emmalyn’s cognitive abilities. There is a stats raising element to the game, and while I usually find stats raising frustrating, because they’re often tedious and detract from the overall story, especially if you don’t use a guide. But, in The Radiants the stats raising doesn’t affect your chances with the LIs (thank god), but rather how well Emmalyn does in certain special events—there was a scene where I had to sneak back into the dorms after a party, but my composure stats were too low, Emmalyn trips and she and Rheala get caught by their RA. Stats are split up into four groups: Mind, Social, Body, and Arcana; and most can be raised by participating in electives or performing certain actions in the game—like socializing in the Autumn Courtyard on the weekend ups your charm.
While the stats don’t affect your relationships with the LIs, they do affect they types of endings you get in the game. Your stats determine the type of Oracle you will become at the end of the game—which is similar to MoaCube’s Cinders, where your choices throughout determine the type of queen you become—so you can really have fun playing around with your stats without worrying about getting a “Bad Ending”. There are a lot of choices in the game, some of which correspond to a specific personality trait or stat, which definitely adds more weight to some of your actions in the game.
I am already in love with the characters! The love interests, so there are four right now (three guys and a gal) and for the most part I really like them all. Out of the four, roomie, Rheala is my favorite—not only is she gorgeous, but she’s just so chill and supportive and I gotta love a gal who dances to the beat of her own drum. Of the guys, Kai is hands down my fave, he’s a bit of a rebel, but in a I’m just here to have fun sort of way that I love, besides he seems to be the most approachable of the boys. BUT, what hit me the hardest were the drop dead gorgeous teachers at Serenvale! It is criminal to have teachers that are more attractive than the love interests! The headmaster, Cirrus Balin has that whole silver fox look in the bag and every time he is on screen I can’t help but moon over him! Then they hit us with the equally stunning history teacher, Professor Mordain and I was down for the count! If the Kickstarter hits its 20K stretch goal than the Headmaster will get a route, but I think Mordain needs one too, because LOOK AT HIM!
Visually, The Radiants is absolutely beautiful, so many otome games (and indie otomes) use the same anime artstyle, so it’s refreshing to see one that does something different! The character sprites have so much more definition and they’re even animated! The sprites blink and move naturally, it almost feels like they’re living breathing characters and not just stills. The backgrounds are also animated—leaves falling from trees, snow, and even sunlight flares—all work to bring a sense of life to the story and the world. There weren’t any CGs in the demo, but given how gorgeous everything else in the game is I didn’t really miss them. I also liked that the text boxes are actual speech bubbles that appear next to the character sprites, so it’s like they’re actually speaking!
I’ve played plenty of demos over the years, but this one blew me away! As a proof of concept, the Rose Arcana Games team went above and beyond the call of duty, delivering a delightful experience both narratively and visually! I was honestly sad when the demo ended, because I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the wonderful world and characters the Rose Arcana Games team created! Urban fantasy otome games are a dime a dozen, so it’s not easy to create something that stands out from the rest, but The Radiants does that and more. This is a world I am eagerly awaiting to return to—this is an impressive debut title and one any self respecting otome lover won’t want to miss!
So, the Kickstarter campaign was launched on April 18th 2021 and is set to run until May 18th 2021! The campaign goal is $9,500 to help with the production costs of the game!
Support the Kickstarter Campaign: The Radiants KS Campaign Page
Play the Demo: itch.io