Lots of Japanese otome games are text heavy. Sometimes, this is because they are visual novels, which means you really are reading through what is essentially a choose-your-own-adventure book. But even when these games fall into other genres, they are text-heavy to help create a sense of ambiance and foster connections between characters. Enter Miss Princess: Miss Puri, a little known Neoromance Nintendo DS game designed to be an introductory otome. While it is a simulation with a lot of language, it has hiragana characters to help with any kanji, simple text, lots of icons and minigames that help you build connections.
Having hiragana and katakana everywhere is a big help. If you are just learning the language, these two lettering systems are the first ones you will learn. Even if you can’t pick out certain words, it is easy to sound them out and then look them up. Miss Princess: Miss Puri may even help with picking up kanji. Each kanji in the game has furigana, the smaller hiragana characters for each one, above it as a reading aid. This becomes a great translation aid, if you are only just learning Japanese.
But what about those important conversations with the five steward bachelors who are helping a character’s avatar become the next Miss Princess? Well, Miss Princess: Miss Puri is considerate there too. During the conversational minigames, which are the best way to make other characters like you, you get a chance to choose what you talk about. How? With icons. On the bottom screen, you will see icons suggesting topics. For example, you may see a cat and a dog to talk about pets. If you pick enough topics relevant to a specific guy’s interests, then the event goes well. Since you don’t have to worry about right or wrong answers, there is less pressure for someone just learning the language.
The minigames are also great for people just learning Japanese. Miss Princess: Miss Puri is a stat-building game. You need to help make her more knowledgeable and culturally aware, help with musicality and sensitivity and build up her poise and dignity. While you do have to take breaks to deal with accumulated stress, each of these other stats is built up by taking minigame lessons. If you are in the library catching and matching books, her culture stat goes up. If you take part in some horseback riding, her poise increases. The final minigame has you at a piano, watching the notes your aid plays, then repeating them back at him by pressing on the keys. Each one has no text involved, relying on visual cues, making it easy to succeed.
Miss Princess: Miss Puri is a great way to get started with otome games. It is incredibly easy to play, due to text-free minigames that help you boost your avatar’s stats. It is easier to bond with the bachelor options, since the personal conversations rely on icons, instead of text-based responses. And, when it comes to all the text you need to read to follow Kokoro as she attempts to win the Miss Princess contest, get to know other contestants and maybe date the person helping her prepare, the game has lots of hiragana and katakana that is easy to read and decipher. Consider it a good way to find your footing when enjoying a romantic adventure in another language.