Released: 24 September 2020
King of the Cul-De-Sac is an interactive graphic novel by Vimislikart, reminiscent of modern cartoons. After her brother left for college, it is up to Karah to obtain the crown and title of King of the Cul-De-Sac before anyone else does, and rule over the suburban neighborhood!
As a fairly short interactive novel, the game lets you assume control of Karah, a ten-year-old tomboy who assumes the crown of King of the Cul-De-Sac, which was already taken and fought over by countless other, equally-quirky children. In this childish and over-the-top rise to power, the player will make countless choices, leading Karah to multiple routes and endings! While your mileage may vary with the game’s juvenile and energetic story and how quickly it goes out of this world, with spider stepmoms, nerds who look like alien figurines, and ominous-as-heck masks, the presentation is undoubtedly awesome.
Despite being developed with Ren’py, a standardized visual novel engine, King of the Cul-De-Sac is jam-packed with animated artwork and effects and composed entirely of unique scenes. Even the choice selections are in different places depending on the scenarios, adding to the overall playfulness. The game also includes some minor minigames, such as random turn-based battles and pedaling Karah’s bike for example. The only catch is that you must play the game in one sitting as it doesn’t include saving, but at an average length of fifteen to thirty minutes, it is quite reasonable!
Artstyle and Audio
Just like the story, King of the Cul-De-Sac’s artstyle is inspired by modern slice-of-life Western cartoons, with exaggerated expressions and animation, as well as fast-paced action. While this may sound like just about any cartoon, it is combined with high-energy rock music, keeping things exciting and over-the-top!
By free graphic novel standards, King of the Cul-De-Sac’s presentation alone makes it stand out above the rest. While the cheesy plot may not be everyone’s cup of tea, playing as a rowdy kid and going on a simple adventure to kinghood was quite refreshing!