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Itís not easy being a proper werewolf (or a werewolf at all), December 10, 2022
You are a becoming young lady in an affluent family. Your household is staffed, you have a governess, and are at the age when you should be making appearances at formal balls. Handwriting, piano practice, dance lessons, flipping through folios of suitors. And one more thing. Last night, you turned into a werewolf.
The game begins with a short intro. You are wandering unbecomingly in a forest during a full moon and undergo a transformation into a werewolf. Next thing you know, you wake up in your bedroom. A dream perhaps? A quick glance at the paper suggests otherwise: a monstrous wolf-like person attacked livestock during the night. Yeah. That was definitely you.
As you try to come to terms with this new development, another piece of news is thrown your way. In four weeks, a grand ball will be held. During another full moon. Do the math: Lycanthropy + Full moon + Prominent social setting = Disaster
The gameplay consists of making weekly decisions. Each week (four weeks total) you decide between researching your condition at the library or attending to family manners. Family matters are things like writing letters or attending church. There is some strategy thrown in. Each week has its own activity. If you choose to go to the library instead, you skip (Except for (Spoiler - click to show) writing letters. That opportunity is available twice). Every decision affects your stats which influence gameís trajectory.
Gameplay follows a play, fail, play again structure. Failure (or "failure," depending on how you interpret it) results in you caving into your werewolf urges and devouring the nearest person. Typically, this (Spoiler - click to show) occurs at the ball, but can occur earlier if you become too hangry.
The Ladyís Book of Decency features a simple stat system set on the right side of the screen. It uses bars as a visual marker. If you have ever played a ChoiceScript game and seen a stats table that has two values on either side, and colour coded to show which value is higher- thatís what it looks like. In this game, the stat values use abbreviations that ultimately come down to Health, Hunger, Humanity, Social status, and Intellect. Iím taking a guess at the social status part because I could not figure out what SOP vs FOP meant. Probably something obvious.
Stats are not really meant to be quantitative in this game. Just to give you a general sense of your progress. I like how the game summarizes your standing for each stat. My favorite was, ďMore wolf than woman.Ē One of the best parts is weighing whether to hide symptoms of your affliction around others. No one ask any questions, aside from what you want to eat, but it is humorous to see NPC responses.
You recall your hunger from the previous night, and consider asking for something bloody, though it would be more fitting to go with something light.
Itís probably a good idea to hide it, but you are so hungry!
You eat well that morning. [+FED]
Now weíre talking.
The Ladyís Book of Decency is a riveting story because it is a clash of two worlds: mundane high-class life during the Victorian era, and the (secret) supernatural. What disappointed me was how (Spoiler - click to show) the protagonist's investigation for answers does not go anywhere. You visit the library three times, and on the fourth, a strange woman catches your eye. This was a cool surprise. You cannot help but notice that she is reading the same books as you. Perhaps she has insights on your case of lycanthropy. If you want to, you can talk to her and make plans to meet again. You end up seeing her at the ball. The end.
This did not feel like a resolution. The start of the game shows the surprising and unexplained event of a protagonist turning into a werewolf followed by her determination to get to the bottom of this issue. I was not expecting to find a cure or an elaborate explanation, just something more conclusive. Unless there is something I overlooked, how did the protagonist go from an unassuming girl to an unassuming-girl-werewolf-mix?
I thought that I found an ideal outcome where you can turn into a werewolf without anyone knowing, but then I ran into a bug that prevented the game from ending. (Spoiler - click to show) If your reputation is poor enough, you can convince your governess to stay home from the ball. After convincing her, I got this: This shows up when a passage failed to parse, or doesn't even exist. Try checking the link for spelling errors or the console logs for more detail on the error. When I clicked on the "back" link, it went to the previous passage with no way of circumventing the encounter. I had to start over.
The protagonist is a fun combination of social obligation and rebellion. We do not know her name but see has a strong personality. She sees the merit of upholding oneís family reputation and submits to her governessí teachings. But she does this mostly because she was asked to. She is not deterred from bending the rules. Ironically, her familyís affluence arguably works against her problem. Her upper-class, I would assume, status means that she is expected at social events. Like a fancy ball.
Also, if you liked the character themes in this game, try playing Social Lycanthropy Disorder. It features a female (werewolf) protagonist who is obligated to attend a Halloween party during a full moon.
Beige background with a black border in the shape of a fraying rope intertwined with flowers. Its visual elements have a familiar look that suits the theme well. Functionality is also smooth. When I first saw the game I thought, "oh no, scrolling text!" If you double tap the screen the text appears instantly which I appreciate. Scrolling text is great but can be frustrating with replays.
This is NOT a tidy etiquette simulator about juggling suitors. Not at all. Come on, the main theme is lycanthropy! Do not let the title discourage you from giving it a try. It was made for a Gothic Novel Jam which is pretty cool. While I was hoping to have a little more payoff with your (Spoiler - click to show) investigation, there is plenty of content to explore with multiple endings.