Also on: PC
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Developer: Joy Manufacturing Co.
As I was playing Ambition: A Minuet in Power, I couldn’t help but think of We. The Revolution. Both, after all, are basically visual novels set in Revolutionary France. There are some differences – We. The Revolution adds elements of Risk and Papers, Please and takes place after the events of 1789, while Ambition includes the period leading up to the Revolution and places much more emphasis on social intrigue – but broadly speaking, at their respective cores they’re kind of similar.
Mind you, there’s also a big difference, which is that Ambition: A Minuet in Power is a lot of fun, whereas We. The Revolution got bogged down in its own complexity. I found myself staying up a little too late to see where Ambition would go, which wasn’t an issue I ever had with We. The Revolution.
The reason I got so hooked on Ambition is that even if there’s a lot to do and a lot to keep track of, it all blends together seamlessly. The game’s main character, Yvette Decaux, has arrived in France to be with her fiancé, only to discover he’s gone missing. While you’re initially tasked with finding him, your search is quickly overtaken by all the other things you have to do: juggle a busy social calendar, pay for household expenses, develop your personal credibility, maintain personal relationships, get revenge on people who’ve wronged you, avoid getting too aligned with one faction or another.
It’d all be exhausting and impossible to keep track of if it weren’t for the fact that all of these tasks are intertwined. You go to parties where you gather gossip, which you in turn sell to a tabloid to pay for your household expenses. You develop credibility and avoid peril by managing your relationships with other people, and the more credibility you have the more you’re able to do, whether it’s challenging powerful people who’ve wronged you, overcoming the horror of wearing the same dress too many times, or declining party invitations.
Admittedly, at some points Ambition can feel a little repetitive. A lot of the supporting characters look identical, which can sometimes make it feel like you’re running into the same people again and again. Likewise, eventually you’ll notice the same tasks popping up as you navigate the Parisian party circuit, which makes it easy to tell which conversational routes to take and which to avoid.
But none of the repetition bothered me to a point where I didn’t want to see what was coming next. Ambition: A Minuet in Power makes its historical setting come alive, and the end result is one of the better visual novels I’ve played in quite some time.
Iceberg Interactive provided us with a Ambition: A Minuet in Power Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.