Ambition: A Minuet in Power – Review
Follow Genre: Dating Sim, Visual Novel
Developer: Joy Manufacturing Co.
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested On: PC

Ambition: A Minuet in Power – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Great overall quality
Bad: Reused assets, Gameplay could be improved
User Score
10.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Based on how important of a period the French Revolution was for the world, the lack of games taking place in it is surprising, to say the least. When thinking about it, we can only think of a handful such as We. The Revolution or Assassin’s Creed Unity. Ambition: A Minuet in Power attempts to correct this with its story about a noblewoman in the times preceding the Revolution itself. Here is what it has to offer.

Story

Ambition follows the story of Yvette Decaux, a woman from a small French village who has moved to Paris in order to live with her fiancée, Baron Armand de Marbo. However, soon after arriving at the place where they were supposed to meet, Yvette finds herself stood up and left with no choice but to carry herself to Armand’s house, only to find him still missing.

Taking residence in her disappeared fiancée’s house, for the time being, Yvette is immediately thrust into the political life of Paris, as she finds herself attending a party hosted by Baron Maximin de Termes. Unluckily for her, Maximin turns out to have a hidden grudge against Armand, which he decides to take out on her, humiliating Yvette in front of the other guests before throwing her out of the party.

Left stranded in the middle of Paris, Yvette decides to hitch a ride from one of the three carriages awaiting in front of Maximin’s mansion. Once back home, Yvette will start planning out her future in the city of light, including her plans to find Armand, while becoming well-known in the higher-class circles.

Overall, Ambition’s writing is quite good, with a wide cast of characters, each with their own motivations and stories. Even minor recurring characters, such as the seamstress Fatima or Yvette’s maid Camille, have unique events and complete characterizations.

Graphics

As is standard for a visual novel, the game’s graphics consist of a combination between detailed backgrounds and character portraits with variants for different expressions, both with lots of details put into them. That said, despite models for important characters certainly being unique, the same can’t really be said about those utilized for generic characters. While a minor issue, it affects immersion for so many characters to share the same artwork, to the point of sometimes becoming confusing.

Sound

Similar to its other parts, Ambition’s sound design is of great quality, with a particularly delightful soundtrack comprised of classical style pieces. Said soundtrack also features a wide arrangement of different songs, boasting over 50 unique ones. Out of these, a certain few are assigned to key events or locations, meaning they appear more often than many others, although not enough to overshadow them.

Gameplay

Although, as previously mentioned, Ambition belongs to the visual novel genre, its classification is a tad more specific than that, as it is also a dating sim. The game’s main loop consists of exploring Paris as Yvette, going to interesting locations, and triggering different events in order to obtain different bonuses, some even providing the opportunity to find a new employee. Throughout the months, Yvette will also be the object of a plethora of party invitations from the different factions ruling over Paris, each with their own important characters and rumors to obtain.

In order to keep her household afloat, Yvette becomes a journalist for one of the city’s newspapers. Thanks to this job, Yvette will be able to sell the rumors obtained at parties for money or utilize them to influence the political powers of the city. Depending on the freshness of the rumor, it will hold more of a value, sometimes providing extra rewards should the editor be looking for that particular kind of news. That said, the job is not without its dangers: The more rumors Yvette sells at once, the easier it’ll be for someone to find out her part in all of this and undermine her efforts.

Should someone find out Yvette’s involvement in a particular rumor, the player’s credibility would decrease, while their peril would increase. While this might not sound like much, credibility is one of the main resources utilized by the game in dialogue options, requiring different levels of it to pass conversation checks. Similarly, peril also plays a part in these conversations, often going up by making certain choices.

Should a player’s peril reach its maximum, a hard punishment will be delivered. This will cause a loss of favor from all factions as well as a decrease in credibility. The more a player triggers the effect of maximum peril, the harder they’ll feel its effects. In order to keep it at bay, several things may be done besides taking safer dialogue options, such as providing a gift at parties or certain events.

These parties are the other larger part of the game’s main gameplay loop, where players will need to choose Yvette’s dress in order to appeal to the attendees before even beginning. While at a party, players will be presented with a few different choices of conversation partners, each offering a selection of possible outcomes. Depending on who the player interacts with, they may obtain rumors, money, credibility or any of the other resources in the game.

Depending on the organizer of the party, it is also possible events related to the love interest related to said power will be featured. By following these opportunities, players will be able to garner favor with one of the five romance options, possibly even unlocking the chance to “rendezvous”, the game’s term for going on a date. On these dates, players will get to know the character better and more intimately, as well as gain even more of their favor by selecting the correct dialogue options. Should a player max out their relationship with a particular character, an ending featuring them will be unlocked.

Curiously enough, Ambition’s world is not as static as is often expected from a visual novel. Instead, the balance of power constantly shifts due to Yvette’s meddling, as well as random occurrences. Depending on these power shifts, the outcomes to certain larger events will also shift, at times even leading to a character’s death. Obviously, as the game covers the French Revolution, Yvette may lose her head at any given time, as her interactions may not go down well for everyone.

All this explained, it is still worth noting the gameplay could somewhat be improved by adding a tad more variation to the different events that may occur in parties particularly. It is rather easy to end up seeing the same exact ones play out over and over with minimal touch ups, although this certainly makes the more unique ones stand out.

Conclusion

Ambition: A Minuet in Power is a delightful visual novel and dating sim, enjoyable for fans of the genre and those looking to try it out for the first time. Featuring good writing, a large cast of characters, and unique mechanics, Ambition is an easy recommendation. Selling at a price of €17,99/$19,99/15,99£, the game is also very reasonably priced for the amount of content it offers.

Personal Opinion

“Although they’re generally not my thing, I do admit I have a soft spot for dating sims, particularly so those with good writing. While cheesy romance is endearing at times, and will at least get a laugh out of me, a properly written romance with realistic, well-developed relationships is enjoyable. The part I liked the most about Ambition was how it didn’t force its dating sim mechanics on the player, instead leaving them as a completely optional choice for players to engage with at their discretion. Even the main relationship in the game, Armand’s path, offers Yvette enough independence to not simply be a love-struck fool, but rather a well-rounded character with her own motivations.”

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Ambition: A Minuet in Power - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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