War of Roses is a short slice-of-life indie otome/dress up game developed by one of my absolute fave indie developers, Jellyfish Parade. Take on the role of Rose as she attempts to save her family’s flower shop by entering in a local flower competition. But the road ahead won’t be easy, especially when the CEO of a rival corporation has made it her mission to take you down. Not to mention juggling the affections of three very different men… can you save the shop while sorting out your love life?
Rose [renameable] is ready to inherit her family’s five generation owned flower shop. Unfortunately, this generation of the shop is running low on funds and the lack of financial success has caused her grandfather to prepare for their family business to be signed over to the mega-corporation FloraCorp.
Save the flower shop! Romance a delivery guy, a CEO or a male model!
-Official Game Synopsis
Rose Petal returns home to her grandfather’s flower shop, Merry Marigold, only to discover that the family business isn’t doing so well. Mounting debts has forced her grandpa to consider selling it to FloraCorp, a mega-corporation that has been buying up local businesses. Not wanting to lose the shop Rose decides to enter the Cityville Flower Show in hopes of winning the $100,000 grand prize and using the money to pay off the shop’s debts. Of course it won’t be easy, especially with the CEO of FloraCorp doing everything in her power to make sure you don’t succeed…
As if she didn’t have enough on her plate with the shop’s money woes, Rose finds herself crossing paths with three men who are eager spend a bit more time with her. Will she choose Armando, the cute delivery man; Gabriel, the clean cut CEO; or Dominique, the smooth male model? Love is a battlefield and these boys came ready to fight for your affection!
Jellyfish Parade always excels with their heroines and War of Roses is no exception, Rose is very much a modern woman. Driven, ambitious, with a big heart, and just trying to balance her love live and her everyday obligations—Rose is a character that most of us can relate to. She doesn’t have it all figured out and that’s okay (who does?) and sometimes that leads to sticky situations. Rose has a sense of humor and isn’t shy when it comes to teasing family and friends alike, which makes for some great chemistry with all of the guys. She can be a bit on the sassy side too, when challenged she doesn’t back down from a fight. Your choices will decide whether Rose’s personality is Spicy or Sweet and I like that even when you choose the “Sweet” options Rose isn’t a pushover. There’s a nice balance between the two personality types and I definitely found myself alternating between the two rather than sticking to just one. Rose’s appearance is customizable and I cannot tell you how happy I was to see that the default heroine design is a dark skinned Black woman with a puff (which is exactly how I wear my own hair)—this is the representation I crave…
Like all of Jellyfish Parade heroines, Rose has strong sense of family and I love her interactions with her grandfather, it’s loving and warm, I couldn’t help but smile at their lighthearted teasing—it reminded of my own relationship with my elderly godfather.
Armando is the boy next door, he and Rose kind of grew up together and he makes most of the deliveries for the shop. He’s a bit on the oblivious side, but a genuinely nice guy nonetheless—he works to support his family and whenever Rose needs help Armando is right there to lend a hand. He definitely has feelings for Rose, though he’s not completely aware of them. Of the three love interests, he’s the most down to earth and I kinda like that about him… sometimes you just need a sweet dependable guy in your corner. He’s definitely some one you can laugh with and when he smiles, his whole face lights up!
Gabriel, now this Ebony King is an executive at a prestigious gemstone company, Opale Noir. He kind of gives off the impression that he’s a bit stuck up, but he’s surprisingly down to earth. I like that he’s a grown man and he acts like one, when he sees someone he wants he goes for them, so don’t expect any games! He’ll put in the work if you will, but he’s a busy man so he doesn’t appreciate having his time wasted. He prefers honesty over false flattery and it’s nice to see him really let his guard down and relax with Rose. Far too often otome games have us dealing with teenage boys, so it is refreshing to romance a love interest with a solid career, a clear direction for his life, and he isn’t afraid to make his intentions towards a girl known from the beginning.
I was all aboard the Gabriel express until this beautiful man stepped onto the scene midway through the game and swept me off my damn feet! Dominique is an absolute stunning specimen of a man—I am WEAK to a tall well dressed brown skinned megane man with a fade… Dominique literally checks off every box on my perfect man checklist! He’s good looking, confident, and just the right amount of flirty. Dominique is just so easy to talk with despite being a world renowned male model. He tends to joke around and is super playful, I absolutely loved the banter between him and Rose! He has legions of simpering fans and paparazzi on his trail 24/7, but what Dominique is really looking for someone he can connect with and he makes that very clear from the start.
What really sets War of Roses apart from some of the other indie games I’ve played is that it incorporates elements of a dress up game, giving players a chance to not just customize the MCs physical appearance, but also her clothing to suit the needs of the story. It’s not as intense as something like Love Nikki, but I had a lot of fun mixing and matching the clothes to suit my personal tastes (which is generally pretty laidback). Outfits are tied in with two personality types (Sweet and Spicy) which are determined by the types of choices you make in the game, so if you’re looking to unlock all of the wardrobe options I highly recommend going back and choosing different choices at different points in the story.
Of course, I have to mention that like many of Jellyfish Parade’s other releases, War of Roses features a BIPOC heavy cast and as a Black gamer, I always appreciate games that focus on characters that look like me—and any game that lets me romance mega fine Black and brown men is a blessing, because the melanin in this game is definitely poppin! While playing I couldn’t help but swoon over all these beautiful men and games like this are proof that I shouldn’t be left to my own devices, because I tried to have my cake and eat it too and ended up leading all the guys along—which led to some fun rivalries between the boys. There was a scene where Armando and Rose are having a cute moment in front of the flower shop, and Gabriel shows up, suddenly I had two gorgeous men fighting over me like Hugh Grant and Colin Firth in Bridget Jones’ s Diary and trust that’s not the only time something like that happens. It gives the game a bit of a soap opera-y feel, but I kinda like it and can you blame me? What’s a gal supposed to do when you have to choose between ebony king, Gabriel; cute and approachable Armando; and Dominique, who is just the embodiment of everything I have ever wanted in a man and then some. Black men so rarely show up as leading men in otome games, so I was like a kid in a candy store~
Jessinia, the founder of Jellyfish Parade is a Black woman and she always, ALWAYS goes above and beyond to ensure that her characters are not only gorgeous but just normal people, so there aren’t any of the usual stereotypes you see with characters of color in the media. Their Blackness is not their sole identifiable trait, when you strip away the visuals these characters could be anyone and as a woman of color, this is the type of representation I demand from anyone including characters of color in their games. I also want to take a minute to gush about the MC customization, because I need folks to take some notes. There are three skin tones to choose from (with the darkest option being the default) and also hair type/color, and eye color. The only thing I wish there had been was an option for changing the body type—but there are plenty of customization options as it is, so I’m not too upset by the absence. Jellyfish Parade enlisted Cinna for the sprite work and let me tell you they did the damn thing! The character designs are absolutely stunning! My only disappointment is that there are no CGs, all these fine Black and brown men and no KISS CG—it’s criminal.
While War of Roses is a romance game I do like that the story also focuses on Rose and her needs, wants, and desires independent of her relationship with the men in her life. She genuinely wants to save her family’s shop, at first for her grandfather and to preserve the family legacy (and of course to show FloraCorp the power of small business owners), but as the story progresses and she becomes much more involved in the day to day running of the shop her focus shifts. She comes into her own as a business owner and a person and I love to see this kind of growth in my heroines. Rose is a character that I can really see myself in and I absolutely love her! Give me more heroines like this… please.
I’ve played just about every game Jellyfish Parade has developed and each one is better than the last, but War of Roses really blew me away—this game had me hooked. The premise is simple enough, help Rose save her grandfather’s flower shop; there are three love interests and four endings, and aside from a few character specific interactions the story follows the same plot beats. It took me about 4 hours to get through every ending, which is perfectly fine for a mid-length indie game like this. The dress up feature is fun and all the outfits are cute ranging from casual day wear to dressy gowns. I am always a fan of MC customization and War of Roses has a pretty solid lineup of adjustable features so players can create their ideal heroine (I’m partial to the dark skinned version with the puff). The love interests are absolutely stunning and I love the romance between them and Rose—there were moments when it delves into soap opera territory, but even those moments had me on the edge of my seat. Go. Play. This. Game. NOW! Like, right now.