A bi-shoujo aesthetic blended with a European village and the fear of being thrown into the woods for a witch? Sign me up. Publisher Square Enix Collective featured the demo for the upcoming narrative-driven horror game Little Goody Two Shoes at PAX West 2023. Created by AstralShift, a Portuguese team of developers, Little Goody Two Shoes embraces the 90s shoujo aesthetic with the threat of angry uber-religious townspeople and the potential of flesh-eating butterflies chasing you through a dungeon. It’s absolutely wild in the best Brothers Grimm way possible.
The game itself is set in the mysterious Kieferberg Village, where you play as Elise, an ambitious girl determined to become rich and escape her humble life — alá Pearl. A mysterious new fairytale anime adventure with a dark twist, Little Goody Two Shoes is developed by a team dedicated to creating stunning cinematics and narrative games with immersive storylines and evoking soundtracks. During the demo, we got the chance to play through one dungeon, explore the town, and see one of the most unhinged anime opening song moments depicting Elise’s vanity when she finds new red shoes, and even get time to have a couple of exchanges with the menacing preacher.
Players will step into Elise’s shoes and soon find themselves immersed in a horror role-playing adventure game inspired by the original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 RPG-era with gameplay elements such as ‘Sustenance,’ ‘Reputation & Suspicion,’ and ‘Exploration & Narrative’ that guide players to complete their daily tasks by day and uncover the woodland’s darkest secrets by night.
Players also have the ability to set their own paths and navigate through the wicked woods, solve puzzles, and build meaningful relationships. The catch is to monitor your reputation throughout in order to avoid being considered “of the devil” and enduring all of the witchy punishments that come with that. Even with the impending doom I was warned about by the demoist, I still chose to tell the priest to get lost and push back on his assertion that my shoes were sinful and not pretty. It’s a moment in the game that yielded catharsis and narratively lets the player immediately understand the kind of village they’ll have to navigate as Elise and the things the villagers value — which isn’t cute shoes.
For the dungeons, players were transported to a decadent room bathed in pinks and purples, a haze of a dream for the most part. As Elise, you moved through the room looking for a key to leave through the locked door. Visual language is important in Little Goodie Two Shoes as you solve environmental puzzles immediately. Once in the dungeon, you have to avoid enemies. Without the ability to deal damage, you have to use the environments to their fullest, planning out your paths.
When you do take damage, you have to refill your health by eating. This impacts your “Sustenance” bar, which will keep you alive. The foods in this section are interesting, with berries and fruits filling up the heart meter of this UI element. The more filling foods like bread and the like fill the bread meter. You need to keep both intact to make it through the dungeon.
Once out of the dungeon, accomplished after solving the environmental puzzles to find and use four keys while enemies rotate around you, you wake up in your bed. Seemingly more idyllic and fit for Snow White, you can move through the house, talk to your loved ones, and then wind up in the town square.
One of the important elements of the game, as showcased in the demo, is the art style and the full attention to detail and depth that is equal across both the dark elements in Elise’s nightmare and the town in the waking world. The art, when not pixel-based, is all hand-illustrated by the developers at AstralShift. The consistency in aesthetic across both worlds shown in the demo is perfection, primarily because of how the game leans on its dreamy bi-shoujo art inspirations.
Little Goody Two Shoes is a promising RPG that evokes a style of anime and narrative that is undeniably nostalgic and extremely intriguing. The PAX West 2023 demo just scratched the surface. Still, the art, score, and complete horror weirdness made it a standout on the con floor.
Little Goody Two Shoes does not have a current scheduled release date.