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Video Game / Victory Belles

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The Second World War just got a lot cuter.

Victory Belles is a free-to-play iOS/Android turn-based Role-Playing Game set during World War II.

As the German pre-dreadnought battleship Schleswig-Holstein fired the first shots of WWII, a mysterious noxious mist descended upon the seas, disabling ships and crews around the world and choking out many coastal cities. From this mist emerged a vast and terrifying fleet of warships helmed by strange mechanical women dubbed the "Morgana", who swiftly proceeded to mercilessly attack anything and anyone caught within the mist. Even those ships that were able to fight back found themselves outmatched by the new threat. But not a moment too soon, mysterious women known as "Belles" manifested aboard many warships and were able to ward their crews against this threat, protecting them from the Morgana mist and bolstering their ships' capabilities to match the Morgana themselves in battle. With the naval war cut off before it could even really begin, the League of Nations held an emergency meeting to establish the International Naval Protection Force (INPF), organizing the Belles of all fleets into an ostensibly neutral force that would protect all of humanity against the Morgana. However, with humanity continuing to war among itself even in the face of a greater threat, only time will tell how long this arrangement holds.

The game was successfully funded on Kickstarter in May of 2016, but thanks to a Troubled Development only entered closed beta in September 2021 before finally being released in February 2023. It is heavily inspired by KanColle, but features ships from all the main naval participants of WWII (plus the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, and Spain). One particularly unique selling point of Victory Belles is that Belles are voiced in their native tongue, rather than universally in Japanese or Chinese (or English, as might be expected of Victory Belles's American development team). Additionally, the characters are designed by a dedicated art team, giving a consistent style to the various Belles.

Voice actress reel, Kickstarter page, Closed Beta trailer.

This game provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: The League of Nations in-game is significantly more powerful than it was in real-life, acting as a stand in for the United Nations and being capable of getting all world powers to rein themselves in. This probably has something to do with the Morgana being literal existential threats to mankind.
  • All There in the Manual: As of the game's 1939 start, some information about Belles' histories, personalities, and other characterization is contained in Kickstarter updates rather than the game itself.
  • Alternate Timeline: The Morgana's arrival does change a few things, but some things appear to have already been alters before they arrived.
    • Italy and Japan are not members of the Axis Powers when the game starts in September 1939, while Spain and Turkey are.
    • The United States apparently joined the League of Nations in this timeline, as they are directly involved in its resolutions.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • Belles can survive having their HP depleted in a single battle, and if they are engaged by the enemy afterwards, you're given the option to emergency evacuate that fleet. Since Belles can be Killed Off for Real, this gives you a chance to save them for another day.
    • To prevent the player from accidentally breaking the game by losing all of their Belles, your flagship Belle cannot be sunk - the game will auto-retreat your fleet if it is engaged when the flagship's HP is at zero. This even extends to that flagship being the player's last Belle.
  • Attack Its Weakpoint: Inverted - in order to maximize damage, it's not ideal to focus on weapons that can do damage to unarmored portions of Morgana, but rather to use those that can penetrate their heaviest armor, as the most devastating critical hits like full ammunition explosion, command crew loss, and large damage multipliers can be found behind heavy armor like the conning tower, citadel, barbette, and turret face. Meanwhile, less-armored areas can only generate things like 2x or 3x damage hits and reduced rate of fire.
  • Badass Normal: The crew of the Soviet cruiser Aurora boasts the only human-on-Morgana kill as of October 1939.
  • Battle Cry:
    • Marseillaise leads her crew into battle with various French revolutionary slogans, with "AUX ARMES, CITOYENS!" (TO ARMS, CITIZENS!) being a favorite, no doubt due to its use in her namesake song.
    • Some of the Soviet Belles, such as Kirov, are fond of charging into battle with an "URA!".
  • BFG: The Morgana battleship Treason is explicitly stated in a Kickstarter update to have 32-inch naval rifles, which positively dwarf Yamato's infamous 18.1-inch rifles and even the 20-inch rifles of Design A-150 "Super Yamato", being closer in size to the 800mm super artillery guns Schwerer Gustav and Dora.
  • Born Unlucky: Leberecht Maas is plagued by spectacularly awful luck in everything she tries. However, she refuses to let this poor luck get her down.
  • Brutal Honesty: Emile Bertin has no filter when she offers criticism and thus even what she intends to come off as constructive is often interpreted as simple berating, which in turn earns her few friends.
  • Canada, Eh?: Saguenay is very much French Canadian and peppers her speech with Quebecois. However, she's much more in the style of a 19th century French Canadian fur trapper than the more modern stuck-up stereotype.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Decidedly averted. No French Belle shows any particular proclivity to surrender or give up without a fight.
  • Combat Medic: Marat primarily works in her ship's sick bay. Marat also happens to be a battleship with a dozen 12" guns.
  • Cultured Warrior: The Belles inherit much of the collective memories associated with both their pre-awakening service histories and their original namesakes. As such, many Belles have a deep interest in the finer things in life, from fashion and gourmet dining to opera and theater.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: It is entirely possible to essentially sandblast a Morgana battleship to death with fast-firing destroyer guns, especially in close quarters despite their general inability to penetrate the citadel armor of a battleship.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: The game has an extensive R&D and construction system that can be used to fix flaws in gear, modify its characteristics, and create weapons and equipment that fits your needs.
  • Dirty Coward: The Morgana Cowardice is, unsurprisingly, a cowardly villain. Befitting her nature as a coward, she tries to keep her distance at all range brackets and has very low reserves, meaning she flees after only few rounds of combat. Unless she can be forced into close range or engaged with powerful long-range weapons, she'll try to remain as far away and hard to hit as she can and run as soon as she can, even if it means leaving the rest of the Morgana battleline to get picked off by Belles.
  • Disk One Nuke: Japanese Type 93 Pure Oxygen Torpedoes are easily acquired on most Japanese ships and are far more accurate and powerful than other torpedo options. So long as their considerable weight can be handled, they can significantly enhance the striking power of a destroyer fleet early on.
  • Enemy Mine: Heavily downplayed - while the various combatants in World War II did agree to form a Neutrality Fleet to deal with the Morgana, they still haven't put aside their grudges and are still fighting a land war with one another.
  • Exact Words: Queen Mary states that her function as a Belle is to protect the ship and its crew (and passengers). While to most Belles, this means engaging and defeating the Morgana in combat, Queen Mary is not a warship in any conventional sense. As an ocean liner turned troop transport, and one capable of incredible speed at that, with no armament beyond maybe a few token anti-air guns, she suggests that the best way for her to do this is to avoid the Morgana rather than fight them as other Belles would.
  • Experience Booster: Training ships, like Recruit and Joan of Arc, increase the experience gain of all Belles their level or lower. This makes them useful for early battles to get your Belles up to speed, after which they can be placed in cruises to further level your forces.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Houston is extremely stereotypically Texan, dressing like a cowgirl, loving beer, gambling, and thrills, and of course speaking with the standard Texan accent.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • The arrival of the Morgana and the Belles derails WWII significantly, effectively limiting it to a land conflict in Europe.
    • The United States is much less interested in joining the Allied Powers due to the Morgana being a more immediate threat than the Axis Powers.
    • Japan actually starts working toward ending its war with China and allying with the United States due to the Morgana being a bigger problem for their ambitions and survival than the US could ever be.
  • The Gadfly: Leningrad delights in provoking people, whether for a particular reason, or just to try to make them question their own positions, with Mahan being a particular favorite target.
  • Gathering Steam: Inverted. Every weapon system has a "fatigue" stat that acts as a stacking penalty to that weapon's rate of fire every round it's fired in. As a result, weapons, and especially long-range weapons will fire slower and slower as a battle drags on and a valid strategy is to deliberately reduce the max elevation of a weapon to reduce its functional range and prevent wasting fatigue on inaccurate long-range fire. Fatigue can also be mitigated at the cost of weight with enhanced automation.
  • Gender Is No Object: Belles and their captains are known to pick capable crew from around the world without regard to gender or nationality to fight the Morgana menace, even if their home nation's policy would normally forbid coed crews or even women from being naval crew in general.
  • Glass Cannon: Most heavy cruisers have a great deal of firepower but absolutely abysmal armor, with Houston perhaps exemplifying this the most with her two inch thick belt being nowhere near adequate protection against anything larger than destroyer guns.
  • Healing Herb: Marseillaise knows and employs many herbal remedies and is able to cover shortages in the ship's more proper medical supplies with her herbs.
  • Hot-Blooded:
    • Rawalpindi may be a mail carrier armed with a handful of badly outdated naval rifles and protected by not even half an inch of armor, but she's absolutely raring for a fight. Fitting given that the historical ship engaged in an absolutely hopeless naval action to even momentarily delay Scharnhorst and Gneisenau from sinking Allied convoys rather than stand down and surrender as the German captains requested.
    • Marseillaise embodies the fiery spirit of the French Revolution and throws herself and her crew into pursuits (and battles) with that same spirit.
  • Irony: Not unlike B. J. Blazkowicz, Atlantis very much looks the Aryan ideal of Nazi Germany, and also not unlike B. J. Blazkowicz, she's Jewish. However quite unlike B. J., she's German-Jewish rather than Polish-Jewish and still wishes to serve her homeland. The only reason she's allowed to serve at all, even under the close scrutiny of a political officer, is because she also has a certificate of Aryan heritage (as well as the fact that as a Belle, she represents a great deal of military power, far in excess of any Belle-less ship).
  • Innocently Insensitive: Early in Atlantis's story, the Captain offers her one of three dishes in hopes of getting her to speak up. All three are non-Kosher, but the Captain also doesn't know at the time that she's Jewish.
  • It Only Works Once: Submarine Belles only get one round of torpedoes in an individual battle. If they fire and miss...too bad!
  • Joke Weapon: American Mk 14 and 15 torpedoes are, as in real life, spectacularly awful and have several glaring defects that make them inaccurate and prone to failures to detonate and will require significant work to correct. Once all the defects are fixed, they are solid torpedoes for their weight, but other torpedoes would generally be a better use of one's time and resources.
  • Last Chance Hitpoint: Belles function as one to their ship. So long as their ship doesn't begin a battle critically damaged and it isn't the Belle's death day (the date of her historical sinking), the ship cannot actually be sunk and will instead leave the battle with one hitpoint left. Attempting to go into battle with a fleet that contains a Belle who is critically damaged will prompt a warning that if you enter battle with this fleet, her hitpoints can be reduced to zero and she can thus be killed off for real, and give an option to perform an emergency withdrawal of that fleet.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Recruit is a wooden training battleship. For reasons that are not entirely apparent her guns, despite being little more than painted logs, fire as if they were real naval rifles. Similarly, Amerigo Vespucci is a sailing training ship, most of whose guns are wooden imitations, but she has an alarming amount of room for upgrades, on par with many light cruisers.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Battlecruisers and Dunkerque are every bit as fast as the cruisers and destroyers around them while still carrying far more armor than any heavy cruiser and armament similar to battleships.
    • Pola and Algerie are among the few heavy cruisers to have substantial armor, and do so without sacrificing speed or armament. Similarly, the heaviest light cruisers like the American Brooklyn-class and British Town-class have armor greater than most heavy cruisers and firepower that makes up what it lacks in caliber with dakka compared to those heavy cruisers.
    • Volta carries a terrifying amount of firepower for a destroyer and more than many of the lighter light crusiers, while also being one of the fastest destroyers in the game.
  • Limited Loadout: New players may only have 50 Belles total. Which can lead to a cruel situation if a player runs out of space but does not wish to purchase more...note 
  • Magikarp Power: Gear with many gremlins will generally be poor as a result of those gremlins, but once the R&D time is put in to resolve all of them, can be highly effective, often even moreso than those that start with fewer or even no gremlins.
  • Man on Fire: The Morgana Fire is called that for a reason. Not only does she love starting fires and wield some manner of Fire-Breathing Weapon, but she is herself constantly on fire (though mechanically speaking, her ship is not on fire unless ignited, just like any other ship)
  • Mechanical Evolution: The Morgana are known to feed on ships, including damaged Morgana ships, and use materials from these ships to improve or repair themselves.
  • Mighty Glacier: Most battleships are significantly slower than the various smaller ships (except for armed merchant cruisers), resulting in worse map speed and worse evasion, but as might be expected, they generally have far more armor and firepower than any other ship and can do damage with their rifles that other ships could only hope to match with torpedoes.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Injustice is infamous for her show trials and executions in a mockery of actual legal procedures.
  • Moe Anthropomorphism: The eponymous Belles represent every aspect of their ship, including her namesake(s). However, unlike many other such games, the Belles do not replace their ships, nor can they operate them without a full crew. Instead, a Belle exists aboard her ship (or within a limited range around it) as a sort of spirit that gives her warship far greater combat capabilities, protection from sinking in all but the most extreme circumstances, and immunity to the disabling effects of the Morgana's mist.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Morgana all have names like Corruption, Treason, Destruction, Starvation, Sedition, and Mistrust. Even the sole non-(overtly) malicious Morgana encountered is named False Hope.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Much like in real life, heavy cruisers are only really "heavy" in that their starting equipment is naval rifles over 6.1" (155mm) in bore diameter. While the smallest (and oldest) light cruisers are certainly "light" compared to their heavy sisters, more modern light cruisers often have at least as much armor, starting health, and design weight as most heavy cruisers. Some, like Boise, Nashville, and St. Louis actually have more design weight than any heavy cruiser.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Pola is 4'10" and doesn't like being reminded of her short stature, preferring that you focus on the fact that she's a very powerful heavy cruiser with some of the best armor and rifles of any heavy cruiser in the world in 1939.
  • Poirot Speak: Most Belles whose first language isn't English will still speak fluent English, but throw in idioms in their native language and in particular, use whatever their native language's version of "Belle", "Morgana", and "Captain" are. In a few cases, even Belles whose first language is English get in on it, with Houston preferring to call the Morgana "Brujas".
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: To put it mildly, Belles tend to hold beliefs appropriate to the the time and their country of origin, including those from Germany, Italy, and Japan, meaning some of the German Belles like Nurnberg and Deutschland believe in Nazi racial pseudoscience, the Spanish Belles seen so far are supporters of Franco's Nationalists, and Italian Belles like Pola and Camicia Nera are very much believers in Italian fascism. They're still technically heroes in this conflict despite being from the Axis because they're fighting against the Morgana, who are an existential threat to humanity.
  • Pungeon Master: Ark Royal is infamous for littering her speech with puns.
  • Robot Girl: The Morgana all take the form of robotic humanoid women in various states of overt-robotness and disrepair.
  • Royal "We": Schleswig-Holstein, perhaps befitting a ship that dates back to the German Empire, tends to use the royal "we", especially in the presence of her crew. She's generally a little more casual about the use of terms like "I" when speaking only to her captain.
  • Scratch Damage: Weapons have four damage stats - non-penetrating damage, penetrating damage, AA damage, and flak damage. A hit on a ship always does non-penetrating damage, and if it penetrates the enemy's armor (but doesn't overpenetrate the entire ship), it also does the penetrating damage. Hits that do penetrating damage, especially on the citadel can also inflict particularly devastating critical hits. The non-penetrating damage tends to be comparatively anemic and usually only inflicts minor critical hits. Similarly, in anti-air combat, guns always do their flak damage, which is generally minor, but only do their AA damage on a direct hit.
  • Sleep Deprivation: Parizhkaya Kommuna is constantly barely awake due to her workaholic tendencies leading to her foregoing sleep for days on end.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: While shots can't be deliberately aimed, a hit to the conning tower has a good chance of taking out a ship's command and control capabilities, doing massive damage and giving huge all-around debuffs.
  • Southern Belle: Puns aside, Mississippi is the very picture of a southern socialite, with a fondness for parasols, banquets, large dresses, and in case you forget she's a battleship, larger cannons.
  • Subsystem Damage: Belles and Morgana suffer a wide variety of critical hits in addition to conventional hull damage, including (but hardly limited to) destruction of guns, magazine detonations, fires, flooding, and loss of gunnery directors.
  • The Voiceless: From a Doylist/Real Life perspective, some of the Belles lack voiceovers even though they have plenty of in-game lines. However, the developers are constantly searching for new actresses and accept auditions.
  • Trash Talk: All combatants, whether Belle or Morgana, engage in some sort of this before battle. Lines could range from assurances of defeat for the enemy, to jabs against their capabilities, to straight-up personal insults.
  • Videogame Cruelty Punishment: Get a Belle Killed Off for Real? Hope she wasn't a battleship...because now you have to re-acquire however many Vestures were needed to recruit her in the first place. In addition, all gear on the Belle is lost too, requiring at a minimum reconstructing it from blueprints (if you have them). Finally, she spawns at level 1 once re-recruited!
  • Warrior Poet: Many of the Belles are artists as well as soldiers, and often consider both vocations to be two sides of the same blade. For example, Takao is a dedicated calligrapher who seeks to achieve the same level of tranquility in battle.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Older ships of various types are generally less capable and have less room for upgrades than newer ships, but at the same time often have better tactics, such as Aurora who is a very old light cruiser with only a handful of old 130mm rifles, but she boasts a tactic that boosts evasion for all ships in the fleet right up until brawl range, at which they unleash torpedoes.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The Belles and their crew and support staff may be allied together against the Morganas, but their parent nations are still at war with each other. Because of this, the INPF's contributing nations have all embedded intelligence agents, political officers, secret police, and the like aboard their Belle-supported ships specifically to protect state secrets, prevent foreign infiltration, and ensure that their crews remain loyal to their homelands first and foremost. Gameplay-wise, this all means that getting into the good graces of one nation/faction might very well worsen your relationship with another.
  • Workaholic: Parizhkaya Kommuna self-destructively overworks herself to the point of going for days without sleep out of perceived shame for her service for the Russian Empire as Sevastapol and then further siding against the Bolshevik Party in the Kronstadt Rebellion.