Cinders is a mature take on a classic fairytale with a heavy emphasis on player choices and role playing.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (443 reviews) - 89% of the 443 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jun 20, 2012

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Reviews

“MoaCube focuses on the women of the tale and what made them who they are. The game is about nuance, is about understanding the motivations of another human being.”
Kotaku

“Asides from being delightfully well-written, highly replayable and filled with complex, convoluted characters, Cinders is also beautiful.”
IndieGames

“A visual novel that presents the deepest, most complex, most original, and ultimately most compelling re-imagination of the Cinderella universe.”
91/100 – RPGFan

About This Game

Cinders is a mature take on a classic fairytale with a heavy emphasis on player choices and role playing.

Cinders is a witty young woman living with an overbearing stepmother and her two daughters, as if she was reenacting a certain well-known fairytale. But unlike its protagonist, Cinders is not afraid of taking fate into her own hands. Even if it means breaking the rules…

The game takes a look at four women and what made them who they are. It’s a story about balancing freedom and dreams with circumstance and harsh reality. About growing up and finding out the true meaning of independence. Distancing itself from the judgmental simplicity of the original, Cinders tries to explore the more complex nature of oppression, responsibility and innocence.

With 120 decision points, over 300 options to choose from, and multiple endings, Cinders gives you total control over the main character’s personality and how her story unfolds.

Links

Official website
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System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.5 or higher
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Very Positive (443 reviews)
Recently Posted
saravd
10.9 hrs
Posted: August 24
It's short but fun
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Wicked Widow
13.9 hrs
Posted: August 17
absolutely beautiful, the art and soundtrack. A bit of dark fairytale is always a plus for me. repeatable for the multiple endings
Helpful? Yes No Funny
cheeseshover
0.4 hrs
Posted: August 11
I was really looking forward to playing this game because I've been waiting since it came out to get it. I downloaded the demo and I was ecstatic today when I finally bought it, but when I was downloading it my laptop died, and when it finished the game works(ish) but it doesn't fit everything onto the screen, I can't change the screen orientation, and when I click new game it doesn't even load the first set of choices after the dialogue. There is also no music and the tips at the beginning are cut off. I deleted local files and reinstalled it but the problems haven't been resolved. Help!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
P.G. Roadhouse
0.4 hrs
Posted: August 8
Oof. I know that I bought this on sale, but I can't remember what I paid for it -- regardless, it was too much. I'm into story-rich, choice-driven, female-led games (e.g. Life is Strange), so this one kept showing up in my recommendations. I finally pulled the trigger. I'm immediately filled with regret. I'm an obsessive completist, and I can't even bring myself to finish this. The gameplay feels so passive and slow, and the writing is so terrible -- *especially* the dialogue. I can't even imagine having the patience to get through a single playthrough, much less the several required to experience all potential storylines.

The only thing I can recommend here is the graphics -- they're gorgeous. Sadly (maybe because I'm on Windows 10), the game kept on hanging while transitioning between areas, meaning I didn't even get to enjoy those gorgeous graphics without a couple of force-restarts.

What a shame. The idea and the look is so great -- the execution just didn't pay off for me.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jabroni
11.3 hrs
Posted: August 4
Very lovely visuals with a cute story.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
IridiumHeart
21.4 hrs
Posted: July 27
Cinders is a visually appealing modern take on the Cinderella fairytale. It did a great job of including occasional social commentary without detracting from the overall flow of the narrative. I enjoy anime but hadn't delved into visual novels, until Cinders. The slight changes in movement and expressions of the character portraits, music, and the overall storyline kept me engaged, without feeling like I was trudging through a glorified illustrated book. The decisions that you make actually change the storyline and the interactions between characters. Choices in the game also come up often enough that you’re not reading for extended periods of time and sitting as a passive observer, but rather as an active participant. Although the option to “fast forward” through text made completing alternate storylines a relatively quick process, I would have preferred the option to “skip” text and scenes entirely or the ability to move directly to bookmarked decision points.

I consider this a fun and endearing introduction to visual novels because of the familiar, yet engaging theme. It also created a spark of interest in other visual novels. The inclusion and portrayal of characters derived from African/Afro-Caribbean traditions and beliefs was a very pleasant suprise.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
audiosurfing
5.4 hrs
Posted: July 25
Excellent story and dialogue !!!! Only point against is that you finish it once, its over. You could do the other endings, but its only a variation in some lines.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sirius_Black_1996
0.7 hrs
Posted: July 22
If like visual books and you like choose your own adventure games, then go for this. The art design is pretty, though some of the dialogue is kind of cheesy. A fun way to pass an evening.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
FantasyKT
4.1 hrs
Posted: July 21
A gorgeous game, but nothing new is really added to the Cinderella formula (imho). I'm kind of "meh" about the game, wish there was a neutral or middle option between recommend or not.

Pros:
  • Gorgeous graphics
  • Many different choices to make, from which guy to romance to if you want to blindly follow your orders or be rebellious

Cons:
  • I was a bit bored with the story. I think it’s because nothing really new or interesting is added to the fairytale.
  • The characters are a bit 2-dimensional, including the love interests. Only one character seemed to stand out to me (Sophia)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
wogleta
5.1 hrs
Posted: July 14
Good game.

Some of the endings show a nice paradigm shift.

Forget the status quo.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
13.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 17
absolutely beautiful, the art and soundtrack. A bit of dark fairytale is always a plus for me. repeatable for the multiple endings
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
11.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 4
Very lovely visuals with a cute story.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
It's short but fun
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 8
Oof. I know that I bought this on sale, but I can't remember what I paid for it -- regardless, it was too much. I'm into story-rich, choice-driven, female-led games (e.g. Life is Strange), so this one kept showing up in my recommendations. I finally pulled the trigger. I'm immediately filled with regret. I'm an obsessive completist, and I can't even bring myself to finish this. The gameplay feels so passive and slow, and the writing is so terrible -- *especially* the dialogue. I can't even imagine having the patience to get through a single playthrough, much less the several required to experience all potential storylines.

The only thing I can recommend here is the graphics -- they're gorgeous. Sadly (maybe because I'm on Windows 10), the game kept on hanging while transitioning between areas, meaning I didn't even get to enjoy those gorgeous graphics without a couple of force-restarts.

What a shame. The idea and the look is so great -- the execution just didn't pay off for me.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
117 of 124 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
5.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 16, 2015
Cinders is a pretty fantastic visual novel, full of strong female characters and decisions that have consequences. It's a darker, more mature take on the classic Cinderella fairy tale, but with some clever twists. The artwork and music are really gorgeous and add a lot to the story. It's also worth noting that this is one of the rare visual novels that uses an art style other than anime.

The game's a bit short and even going back and playing several endings won't take much longer than a few hours. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of replay value. While there are a lot of different endings in the game, things become a little tedious after you've played through a couple of times. Other than achievement hunting, there's not much payoff for getting all the endings.

Even though it's brief, the story and characters are engaging and it's an enjoyable experience while it lasts. It's also a visual novel that's a bit heavier on the novel part than straight-up dating sims; several different pairings can occur, but the focus isn't entirely on romance.

I personally think that the $20 price tag is a little steep for such a short game though, so look for sales or bundle deals.
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105 of 119 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
14.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 1, 2014
The artwork is gorgeous, and the ability to skip anything you've already read before makes multiple playthroughs MUCH less of a hassle than youd expect. It's a retake on the classic fairytale, and I very much enjoy the multiple directions it can go! If you ever loved storybooks as a child (and you can set aside a few character flaws...) it's worth the time to indulge in Cinders' world.
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80 of 84 people (95%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 3, 2014
I'm really interested in visual novels, particularly ones aimed at women, so I've been trying to make a point of everything available in English. I have to say, this is probably the best one I've seen so far.

The aesthetics of this game are amazing. The art is beautiful, as you can see from the screenshots, but something they don't show is how everything looks in movement. The backgrounds are subtly animated and the text appears on the screen in a magical shine of color. It's mostly small touches, but it makes the game feel very unique from a lot of other indie visual novels that originally came out in English.

Another thing that makes Cinders really stand out is the way they show you how your choices are affecting the game. Every time a line is changed due to one of your choices, a chime plays and a symbol appears in the corner. Once you reach certain goals (which you gain achievements for on Steam) the starting menu will change to show your awards. And after you reach an ending, there's a screen that shows you all the possible variables in the ending you achieved. I'm impressed to see that it looks like there's a LOT of variables in the ending I got, which makes me really interested in what other possibilities there are! (It should also help the game have lots of value as well--my first playthrough was probably around three hours or so, so I'm expecting to get a good amount of playtime in to complete all the endings and branching paths...10-15 hours is what I'm estimating right now.)

I was also impressed by the number of choices present in the game--they happen frequently, and never feel pointlessly shoved in. I don't know how well the illusion of choice will hold up in further playthroughs but at least in this first one I really felt like my choices had an impact, which makes me very pleased.

As for the story--I loved it. Nearly all of the characters are interesting and have different layers to uncover from what I've seen in the game so far. I particularly like what's been done with the stepsisters--the game doesn't quite make excuses for them, but does a lot to make it make sense why they'd be so cruel to Cinders. Finding out more about Sophia in particular (who is probably my favorite character) is something I'm looking forward to trying to uncover in later playthroughs.

If I had one complaint, the only thing I could come up with is that at times the game's dialogue clashes with the tone they seem to be going for. They're trying to make the story feel like it's in a historical place--one where there are elements of fantasy, but that could otherwise reasonably exist at some point in history. But a lot of the dialogue feels oddly modern and even occasionally slang-y. I don't think this is exactly a problem, but it does clash at times with their attempts to make things feel 'historical.'

But honestly, that's a nitpick, and one I gave partially so this review wouldn't be completely glowing. Otherwise, this is probably the best Visual Novel I've played, hands down. I'm glad it's finally showed up on Steam.
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84 of 91 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
19.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 8, 2015
What an amazing game. Not sure I'm entirely qualified to write a review since this is the only visual novel I've played - but I love the game so much, I have to gush about it. Let's see:

Pros:
- Incredible soundtrack. It's too bad they don't have that as DLC because if they did, I'd buy it in a second.
- Lovely graphics. The artwork is gorgeous in a perfect fairytale way.
- Very interesting story. A good thing too if you're going to play over and over for multiple endings.
- Rich characters. Their dialog was well written and I cared alot about what happened to them.
- Choices really make a difference. The way the story flows is very much up to you. Choose wisely.

Cons:
- Some of the dialog between characters can get a bit preachy.
- As with most "choose your own adventures", they don't always give you the choices you'd like.

All in all, if you have any interest in the Cinderella story or a well written book-like game with pleasing artwork and music, I highly recommend this. And with all the many ending variations, there's lots of replay value. I've 100%ed the achievements but there are still 2 endings I really want to see so I'm not done playing yet. What a great game!
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48 of 52 people (92%) found this review helpful
Recommended
9.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 30, 2014
Remember when your grandma used to read you Cinderella and you were thinking: "what's wrong with her, why she never stands up to those nasty sisters and horrid stepmother, at least, she could drop some flies in their soup, get some ants to their beds and some giant spiders to they rooms".
Well, Cinders doesn't do all those childish things, but your childish dream can be more than fulfilled in this game. Cinders can do things and go places and be mean if need be, and there is need, as we all know.
Another great thing about Cinders, we see motivations behind actions, nobody is evil just for the sake of making somebody else look pitiful.
This VN is satisfactory on many levels. It looks nice too, dialogue is good and great at times.
There are many endings and some heavy choices. Choices are most of the time too obvious, though, but it's hard to expect otherwise when we are talking about so well known tale.

I recommend it for all VN fans out there.
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82 of 105 people (78%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
10.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 19, 2014
Pros:
Art
Music
General plot

Cons:
A LOT of redundant dialogue, the developers of this game clearly made some unflattering assumptions about their players intelligence. ex. Cinder witnesses two characters talking, then one leaves, Cinder asks the remaining character what they were talking about, remaining character then rehashes the conversation you just read. It's painful and you start pressing enter rapidly to move to the next scene.
Mouth animation that doesn't fit with the otherwise wonderful character art.
Every single character in the entire game will lecture you more than once on the evils of making assumptions and stereotyping people.

It is my suspicion that the developer wants you to play Cinder while subverting all the tropes of the Cinderella fairy tale. I chose options that were more in line with the original story for the first play through, could be why almost every conversation I experienced contained a lecture on stereotypes, but it felt very heavy handed and preachy.
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