Adventure Corner ~ Radiant Tale

Welcome to Adventure Corner, a column where members of the RPGamer staff can give their thoughts, impressions, and pseudo-reviews for various adventure titles that don’t come under our usual coverage. Adventure Corner is aimed at delivering opinions on a wide range of titles including visual novels, point-and-click adventures, investigative mysteries, and so forth.

In this edition of the column we take a look at Radiant Tale on Nintendo Switch.

Radiant Tale

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 07.27.2023
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Otomate


I adore stories that feature a magical circus. There is something incredibly enchanting about watching performers walk on a tightrope and swing off a trapeze. Now if your circus could include dragons and water monsters? I’d be all over that. With the glut of otome games released in 2023, Aksys Games’ Radiant Tale is one I meant to get to and somehow missed out given the wide variety of titles to enjoy. I am happy I finally made time for it, as Radiant Tale is one of the most heartwarming and sincere otome titles I’ve played to date.

Players take on the role of Tifalia, a young girl who works at the Liber Inn. Living with her aunt Spirea, Tifalia enjoys a life of tranquility… until her life is turned upside down and meets Jinnia. Jinnia, who is on the orders of the king, runs CIRCUS and offers Tifalia a job as the new producer after his troupe has an abysmal performance. Jinnia explains that the goal of CIRCUS is to bring smiles to the public at every show and by the king’s orders, return joy to a very sad crown prince. How can you have a circus with an unfunny clown or a dragon that is more silly instead of scary? It’s up to Tifalia to transform the lives of the CIRCUS members and bring out their potential.

The core story of Radiant Tale is absolutely wonderful as it looks at themes of loss and love through a hopeful lens. Each of the characters is wonderfully fleshed out and the world-building gives players just enough information without feeling overwhelming. The story of helping the crown prince smile again is fairytale-esque, and though very simple in concept, is highly emotional. It also helps that Tifalia is a wonderful heroine who is full of compassion and empathy. Tifalia takes her job as the producer very seriously, though her stubbornness often shows in certain situations. While most otome heroines often lack a lot of depth, that is not the case with Tifalia as she is truly the heart of Radiant Tale‘s story.

It’s showtime!

Radiant Tale‘s overarching story is wonderful and this spreads throughout the individual character stories. There are five main routes to complete, with the common route mandatory before smooches can begin. Decisions made in the common route determine which romance Tifalia will be pursuing, and each of the male protagonists offers unique perspectives. Zafora is forced by Jinnia to join CIRCUS, but he is a tricky clown who cannot make people laugh. Ion is a knife thrower with a tragic past that he’d prefer to keep hidden. Radie, Tifalia’s dearest friend who transforms into CIRCUS’s mascot, though in human form is quite the charmer. Paschalia, who has formed a contract with a water spirit, but is afraid to use water magic. Lastly, there is Vilio, who has the power to transform into a dragon, though no one thinks he is ferocious.

Each of the romances in Radiant Tale are engaging and well-thought-out. Each of the romance options has something they are struggling to overcome, with Tifalia’s help of course. Four of the five characters can be played after completing the prologue, with Vilio’s route being unlocked once all other routes are finished. There’s so much tenderness in each story, though some are more successful than others. Ion’s story is one of the most tearjerking and was easily this reviewer’s favourite. Zafora and Radie also offer strong stories of two characters who come across as carefree but have their own baggage. Vilio’s story is complicated, and emotional, and is clearly meant to be the canon romance partner for Tifalia. Paschalia was the only story I struggled to connect with, though it’s more his personality is not something I gravitate towards. Despite my personal opinions, all the stories are strong and a joy to work through, each offering a normal ending and a swoon-worthy happy ending.

In terms of localization, Radiant Tale has a ton of personality, and the text truly captures the characters and their world, bringing them to life. The main user interface for the game sports a cute circus aesthetic that is very charming though visually can be a bit overwhelming. Players have the option to skip all read dialogue or just to the next choice if need be, which is a nice touch.

Radiant Tale offers tons of tender moments.

Radiant Tale also has an incredible art direction. The character portraits are beautiful and expressive, while many of the still CG scenes are stunning, injecting tons of emotion into the story. The only grief with the interface was the use of two different fonts, one for regular dialogue and one for the performance, which is distracting at first. The Japanese voice cast does a great job with each of their performances, with the voice actors for Zafora, Vilio, and Jinnia stealing the show. The soundtrack is also delightful, as it does a wonderful job of having the players feel as though they have been transported to a vibrant fairytale world.

I loved my time with Radiant Tale, and while I don’t always care for romantasy, I adored how emotional and wholesome many of the character routes were. Radiant Tale offers romance lovers both fantastic stories that are well written, with gorgeous art direction that is unmatched by other titles in the otome genre. For those looking to get into otome games, this is a great one to start with, as it offers memorable characters, with a story that will have you cozying up to every member of the circus, wanting to heal their struggles.

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