The Maid's Story Review

Contributed by J. Sarunski aka Unicorn

The Maid's Story

This game is a RPG-like simulation of a 90 days term of maid training, placing the player into the position of the trainer of 3 different maid-trainees.

No main plot, except the fact, that the Game starts with all the maid-trainees beeing rookies at all chores and that at the 90th day will be the finishing test for all of then. Depending on the choices of the player, some special events will occur during gameplay, giving some background to the characters of the maids. No deep insights anyway, just more distinguishing features between the trainees, that do not affect the results of the trainig at all.

The action takes place inside a mansion that is a training ground for maids. Inside the mansion, there are living 5 Persons for the whole 90 days:,br> the players avatar, tetsuaki
the secretary, tachibana alice
the maid trainees matsumoto hitomi, yuki sanae and kobayakawa azusa
(from here on, I will refer to the maid trainees as "maids")

At the morning of any working day (monday until saturday), the schedule for each maid is to be set. Each of the maids suggest themselves a schedule and the player may change these suggestions completely according to his strategy, how to raise the skills of them. After confirming the schedule, the work for the maids start. While the maids are working, the player might choose to watch how they are doing and comment on that (scolding ore praising possible).

After work, the secretary will give a summary and make special comments regarding the state of the mansion and visiting guests at the next day.

At night, the player has the choice of
a) sleeping
b) doing a chat with the secretary
c) calling one of the maids, visited at the day, for either night-service training or praising her

The schedule divides the day into 3 parts (morning, noon and afternoon), in which each maid may train on cleaning, washing, cooking and shopping, or rest. On days, when guests visit the mansion, at noon, there is another task (service) at noon selectable.

The RPG-acpect of this game consists of
a) the individual skill-level(1-5), any maid reaches by practicing for any chore
b) the love-meter of the maids, representing their affection to their teacher
c) the percentage of each maids experience with her night-service training
d) the exhaustion-meter of each maid
e) of the state of the mansion (cleanliness of the rooms, size of trashpile, amount of food in store, remaining clean clothes and money remaining for shopping)

Any chore, a maid is doing, results in giving her experience in that chore and on the other hand, improves the state of the mansion (if the chore was shopping, the amount of food in store increases, but the amount of money decreases according to the experience, the maid has in shopping).

The music is a little bit lower than the average of the Cs-titles, I have already played. I suppose, this is quite an old title. Anyway, there are 24 midi-sequences and any maid has their own theme that is played in variations according to the actual mood, the maid is in. The voices are the original japanese voice-actresses, impersonating the characters in a matching manner. The voices are played only during the introduction, the end and the night training sequences.

During daytime, the mansion is displayed with each of the maids as a static SD (head 1/3 of whole height) graphic, according to the task at hand. At special occasions and during night-service-trainig, the picture of the mansion is replaced by another image according to the present situation.

User Interface:
The handling of the schedule is ok, 3 clicks in order to change one assignment of a maid, 9 assignments to make means 27 clicks per simulated day plus the confirming click after the schedule is set. A special button "continue with previous task" instead of having again to select the same chore would have been desirable though.

The further actions (looking after the maids at work, special events, night-service training) however have an odd interface. The choices have to be made by clicking buttons in a window appearing on the main window. If (as usual) the game is played in Full-Screen-Mode and by accident the main window has been clicked after the button-window appeared, the button-window will vanish behind the main window. If this occurs, a helping text appears in the space, where usually the text of conversations is displayed, suggesting the player to use the applications menu in order to get the button-window back to the front. Also, the dialogues are quite repetitive, so a "quit to end of dialogue"-button would have been a good idea.

My personal opinion:
In spite of the technical limits/flaws, I like this game a lot! It is not, what you usually expect nowadays from an english translated bishoujo-game: The characters are only low developed, it tells not much of a story, the music is only midi and the explicit graphics are still with mosaics.

On top of all of that, the handling of the program is odd, switching to full screen mode does not adjust the screen resolution, resulting in an black frame around the displayed graphics centered within the applications main window and the voice-acting is only available at certain situations and not throughout the whole game.

So, what may I like about it?
First of all, there is no other game of this kind around, as far as I know! There are some similiar games, but they are usually bound to an underlying storyline. This one has no real storyline at all.
Second there is some replay value, if you take on the challenge on making all of them perfect maids, that transcends the replay value of getting the 5 possible endings.
Third: The lack of a story makes the player all the more resposible for the course of events. If the mansion is a mess, it was the decision to let them not enough practice cleaning. If one of them does not get enough rest, she will become ill and stay the next day in medical treatment, meaning there is one day lost for raising her skills and the next day, there is one maid less to take care of chores. If no one cooks, the maids will not recover very well while they are sleeping. If the maids succeed in the end, it is also your success.
Fourth: The characters may not have continuous storylines, neither the less they are characters who develop according to the way, they are treated. Also the dialogues with them are funny even though the fun gets lost quite a bit after the nth repetition of the same dialogue. And depending on the actions of the player the maids may develop resentment against or affection to their teacher.
Fifth: Most of all, it is simply fun balancing between all the goals and dangers and winning at last. Sometimes, you have to let the state of the mansion go down the drain in order to push the abilities of the maids, which in turn will fix with their advanced skills the mansion just before it is to late.
(Sixth: I like the characters, even though they are not as developed, as usual bishoujo characters. OK, this is just my personal opinion, but hey, because of this, I put this point into braces, right?)

After all, I would this game definitely not advice to a person, who has never played bishoujo games before. In fact, such a person should rather stick to the state-of-the-art-games that currently become available, because they would give a more representative impression. This game is more of an alternative experience for people who know the usual bishoujo games well enough.

This is along with "Tokimeki Check in!" and "Snow Drop" one of the games, that I have never thought of deinstalling. And these are games which fulfill the usual expectations to bishoujo games to it's very best.