Game Devs Who Do Diversity Right

Hey Blerdy Tribe, it’s Monday and that means it’s Melanin Monday here on Blerdy Otome! Instead of bringing you another Melanin Friendly Game, I wanted to shake things up a bit this week by spotlighting some of the game developers I love who always bring us amazing diverse titles! Each of these devs have consistently brought us games chock full of great representation, telling stories that feature characters a wide range of backgrounds, identities, orientations.

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Thrifty Gaming: Games That Won’t Blow Your Budget #92

Hey Blerdy Tribe! It’s Thrifty Thursday!! In a world where it’s all about the almighty dollar, sometimes it’s a little tough to make our pennies stretch enough to accommodate our hobbies. But, there are plenty of ways to balance your budget while still enjoying the things you love, you just have to be a little thrifty about it. So, I created Thrifty Gaming in order to spotlight some lesser known indie titles that are both entertaining an affordable.

If you’re a new follower or someone who has been following since my Nice Job Breaking It Hero days and have been gone for awhile, here’s a refresher… Thrifty Gaming, is a weekly post series where I spotlight three games/visual novels that are under $10.00. These can be mobile games, PC games, and a few times I have found some nice indie console titles too. The list used to focus on just otome games and romance visual novels, but after requests from a few readers I have since expanded to other gaming genres. I don’t include sales or limited time offers, each title has to be consistently priced at $10.00 or less without any promotions to be included in this line up.

 
Sailor Moon Money

Note, these are not reviews, rather recommendations so your mileage may vary with some of these titles. This week’s post will include a brief synopsis and links to each game so you can add them to your gaming library! You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy your hobbies, so save a little bread and check out this week’s thrifty gaming picks!

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Celestia Indie Otome Review

Celestia is a regency style sci-fi fantasy indie otome game developed by (my fave) indie dev, Jellyfish Parade for the two-month game jam, Otome Jam 2021. Follow Iluna, a newly awakened Celestial as she descends from her moon to find a partner who will rule the heavens by her side. Among the many glittering stars are three Celestials who catch her eye—a dignified Sun, an enigmatic Black Hole, and a flirtatious Meteor… Choose your partner wisely as your choice will effect not just Iluna, but the fate of the planet she rules… 

Game Details

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War of Roses Indie Otome Review

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? 

War of Roses Game

Game Details

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Heroine for Hire Indie Otome Review – Fai’s Route

Heroine for Hire is a fantasy romance indie otome game developed by Jellyfish Parade. The game follows Lyre Harmoniel, a young woman who can’t seem to hold down a steady job. After losing eight jobs in the span of just 2 months, Lyre is starting to get desperate—is it too much to ask for a gig that is both fulfilling and pays well?! Just when she thinks the perfect job doesn’t exist, Lyre sees a promising job listing and she thinks maybe, just maybe her luck has finally turned around…

I played the game last year when Veris’s route was released and now I’m diving back in to play the broody blacksmith, Fai’s route! It’s been a some time since the initial release and Jellyfish Parade has been hard at work making some improvements to the UI and the story and I am excited to see those updates in action! When H4H was first released, Fai’s route was still in progress and after getting an early sneak peek, I can honestly say he was worth the wait! 

Game Details

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Heroine For Hire Game Review – Veris’ Route

I can’t get enough of Black run indie game development studio, Jellyfish Parade—I have been following the team since their release of PAIRS and I have not looked back. I recently covered the demo for the team’s upcoming fantasy romance game, Ocean Pearls: Kissed by the Sea (which spoiler alert, I loved) and now I’m back covering the studio’s first commercial release, Heroine for Hire—a high fantasy romance—and let me tell you, it is definitely worth checking out!!

The game follows Lyre Harmoniel, a young woman who can’t seem to hold down a steady job. After losing eight jobs in the span of just 2 months, Lyre is starting to get desperate—is it too much to ask for a gig that is both fulfilling and pays well?! Just when she thinks the perfect job doesn’t exist, Lyre sees a promising job listing and she thinks maybe, just maybe her luck has finally turned around…

Heroine for Hire is still in development, with only one of the two love interests available at the time of this writing—the second love interest’s route will be released as DLC at a later date. But, don’t let that discourage you from giving H4H a try, there is more than enough content to keep you entertained!

Game Details

  • Fantasy | Romance | Adventure
  • Where to Play:  Windows and Mac
  • Price:  $9.99
  • Gameplay: 5 – 10 hours
  • Similar Games: Wilder | Errant Kingdom

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Ocean Pearls: Kissed by the Sea Demo Review – Do You Wanna Marry a Merman~

For many in the “mainstream” gaming community, visual novels are often seen as not “real” games—to many, an interactive story-based game can sound like a snooze fest. But, the truth is, visual novels are some of the most diverse games out there, covering a wide range of stories and genres… that quite frankly surpass anything I’ve seen from most mainstream games. Whether it’s a sci-fi adventure set in a distant galaxy, a slice of life romance, or an epic historical drama—visual novels are open to a wealth of story telling opportunities! They even lend themselves to giving creators from all walks of life a platform to tell their own unique stories with characters that are representative of themselves and the larger gaming community. 

As a Black woman and a gamer, I find that I turn to indie visual novels whenever I am hankering for more diverse gaming options and always, visual novels deliver. Over the years I have discovered quite a few gems and I’ve even had the opportunity to chat with a few developers of color, like Jellyfish Parade founder, Jessinia.  I am no stranger to her games, having fallen head over heels for her sci-fi romance game PAIRSwhich follows two couples as they navigate the ups and downs of their relationship against the backdrop of an ongoing war between Earth and an invading alien race. But, what drew me to the game was the fact that both of its female leads have distinctly Black features (something that was WHOLLY intentional), while not being defined by the color of their skin—something that isn’t as common as it should be in media. So, when I saw that Jellyfish Parade was working on a new (longer) romance game featuring a Black female lead and a diverse set of love interests… let’s just say I was closely following the project! 

Ocean Pearls: Kissed by the Sea is an upcoming fantasy romance visual novel that follows Nova, a young woman who finds her life turned upside down when she is unwittingly betrothed to one of several eligible ocean royals.  I managed to get a sneak peak at the demo and y’all, I am in love with these mermen~ (and the game too)! 

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Behind the Games – Interview with Jessinia Founder of Jellyfish Parade

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, I’m back with another Behind the Games post!

For those of you just joining the party,  Behind the Games is a new segment where I interview the folks ‘behind the games’ I review. The series is meant to act as a complement to the reviews I write, giving you guys a chance to get to know the developers that spend so much time carefully crafting the games you enjoy. For each interview I send the Devs five questions (and one random bonus question), to kind of flesh out who they are, while also getting a bit of insight into their inspirations for their games. It’s completely voluntary and meant to be a fun way to get you guys acquainted with content creators.

Last time around I spoke with Mikomi Kisomi, the creator of the josei romance VN, That Which Binds Us, so if you missed that, I definitely recommend checking that post out too! This time around, I had the chance to chat with Jessinia aka Owl aka Chouette, the dev behind the sci-fi romance game PAIRS and the upcoming fantasy romance Ocean Pearls!

Behind the Games Chouette

While working on my review of PAIRS I was able to chat with this phenomenal content creator and she is an absolute delight! She has a passion for world building and the fascinating universe she created with PAIRS is something that has the potential for more content in the future. Also, as a Black woman and content creator her dedication to diverse and culturally inclusive characters in her works help give her content wide mass appeal! This especially important in sci-fi media, which she feels tend to have characters that are typically “white or east-Asian coded”, which is why she strives to incorporate characters that are representative of a wide range of cultures. So, without further ado, let’s turn things over to Jessinia…


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