Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Victory Belles

Go To
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:

  • Alien Space Bats: Take a timeline that's been proceeding completely identical to real life, and suddenly add magical shipgirls right before WWII begins.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • As of the game's 1939 start, some information about the Belles' histories and personalities, as well as certain details about how the world in general has adjusted to this new timeline, are contained in (the admittedly questionably canon) Kickstarter updates rather than the game itself.
    • The in-universe results of the weekly war plans are posted not within the game itself, but on a separate website linked to via the front page of the in-game "War" tab (specifically, by tapping the "War Reports" button). Additionally, several canonical stories and reports related to said results can only be found on the semi-official Discord server.
  • Alternate History: The game's plot is centered around just how much WWII can diverge from "our" timeline by suddenly adding in shipgirls and a common enemy to all of humanity.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • Belles can survive having their HP depleted in a single battle, and if their fleet is engaged by the enemy afterwards, you're given the option to emergency evacuate them. Since Belles can be Killed Off for Real, this gives you a chance to save them for another day.
    • Your flagship Belle cannot be permanently sunk, as the game will auto-retreat your fleet if it is engaged when her HP is at zero. Since at least one ship in a fleet has to be the flagship, this prevents players from accidentally breaking the game if they only have one Belle left.
    • Roses can be used once a day to get extra Belle vestures for a single Belle. Besides making it easier to farm specific Belles (or even just particularly useful vestures), roses can also be used to reacquire event Belles in case you lose them, since the extra vestures can drop from any map in the game.
  • Attack Its Weakpoint: Even guns with mediocre AP capabilities can rapidly deplete the HP of Morgana capital ships by continually hitting the more thinly armored portions like the superstructure. While AP-focused guns are still required for penetrating the most heavily armored areas (conning tower, citadel, barbette, etc.) to deal the most devastating critical hits (detonating the magazine, disabling engines and rangekeepers, etc.), oftentimes guns with higher raw damage but lower penetration will still end up having superior effective DPS compared to ones with superior penetration but lower raw damage even at range; even Morgana battleships have a lot of lightly armored areas, and the extra damage caused by critical hits actually doesn't scale proportionately with the rapid inflation of Morgana HP in higher level maps.
  • Badass Normal: The original crew of the Soviet cruiser Aurora boasts the only human-on-Morgana kill as of the end of 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 Maass is plagued by spectacularly awful luck in everything she tries. However, she refuses to let this poor luck get her down.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Acquiring Gorizia without resorting to the gatcha is this - during her event, Gorizia was available to everyone via the Italian Diplomatic Channels shop, meaning she could be acquired without spending a single cent. The catch is that she was the most expensive diplomatic channel item in the game, clocking in at 2 million diplomatic channels - more than ten times the next most expensive item for any faction. Getting her by farming requires completing missions that give Italian diplomacy several thousand times, and that's assuming you are using the most efficient maps for farming channels and have your secretary Belle set up for maximum channel gain. Due to how the leveling mechanics work, this means that by the time you have Gorizia, she'll at best be spending time crushing with a training ship to get leveled up properly while the team you used to farm her is handling important missions.
  • Brutal Honesty: Émile Bertin has no filter when she offers criticism and thus even what she intends as constructive advice is often interpreted as simple berating, which in turn earns her few friends.
  • 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: Fast-firing 3.5"-5" guns are more than capable of quickly sandblasting even a Morgana battleship to death at close quarters, despite their general inability to penetrate capital-grade citadel armor.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: The game has an extensive R&D system that can be used to not just fix flaws in gear, but drastically modify its characteristics to create weapons and equipment that fits your needs.
  • Dirty Coward: The Morgana Cowardice is, unsurprisingly, a cowardly villain who is constantly squealing in terror and begging for mercy. Befitting her nature, she will always flee after only four rounds of combat unless literally backed into a corner, even if it means abandoning the other Morgana to be sunk by your fleet. To top it off, she's primarily a commerce raider who specifically targets defenseless cargo and passenger ships.
  • 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 (and rather unsafe volatility if your fleet is not sufficiently over-leveled) can be handled, they can significantly enhance the striking power of a destroyer fleet early on.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Towards the end of the November 1939 chapter of the League of Nations story, the Constitution is sunk off-screen by a Sedition-influenced suicide bomber before the Captain can even speak with her Belle face-to-face instead of via letters. It's somewhat downplayed in that she's able to hold herself together long enough to save everyone else onboard and even write down a final message. At the moment, US Navy captains are still not 100% certain which of their weekly mission choices led to this particular scenario happening, or even if they only affected how Constitution was sunk.
  • Enemy Mine: Heavily downplayed - while the various combatants in World War II do 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 with incredible speed but no starting armament of any kind, 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: Deploying a training ship like Recruit or Jeanne d'Arc with a cruising fleet will massively increase the experience gain of all lower-leveled Belles. Certain traits can also be grafted onto equipment to raise EXP gain.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas:
    • Houston dresses like a cowgirl, loves beer, gambling, and thrills, and of course speaks with a strong Texan accent.
    • Texas herself dresses and acts like The Lone Ranger, and her rigging is in the form of a massive horse.
  • For Want Of A Nail: Even just in 1939, the arrival of the Morgana and the Belles has already derailed WWII significantly:
    • Though the naval war between the Allies and Germany has not fully ceased, its scope and intensity has lessened significantly, with one of the more immediate results being that the Admiral Graf Spee does not sink on December 13, 1939.
    • The British and Italians opt to expand the terms of their agreements, much to Hitler's chagrin.
    • While there is still little public appetite in the United States for getting involved in another European war, there is increasingly public support even among some erstwhile isolationists for full international cooperation against the Morgana, with the Roosevelt administration even signalling its support for prospective League membership.
    • Due to the Morgana threat, the Imperial Japanese Navy and its allies have not only de-prioritized the war with China, but opted to forge closer ties with the United States, which has already at least partly paid off with the US Pacific Fleet saving the Japanese 2nd Fleet in a major battle near Formosa.
    • During the 1940 German-Soviet Economic Conference, the two powers agreed to an expanded trade deal that would sell not one but three Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruisers (Blucher, Prinz Eugen, and Seydlitz) in exchange for additional resources, rather than the historical deal where only one was transferred in exchange for a smaller sale of resources. The scale of the Soviet exports potentially eliminates the need to carry out Operation Weserubung to secure iron imports from Sweden.
    • Due to heavy Soviet naval action and Morgana and German weather control delaying the onset of winter, the Winter War ends an entire month early in a much more decisive Soviet victory.
  • The Gadfly: Leningrad delights in provoking people, sometimes as part of an actual plan, but often just to try to make them question their own positions, with Mahan being a particular favorite target in the Kickstarter interviews.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The faction system used for daily/weekly missions and the metagame has resulted in a few oddities that nonetheless don't occur in the actual story itself:
    • As of the 1939 start date, Italian, American, and Japanese captains are free to join any faction due to their nations not having officially joined the war yetnote .
    • Dutch captains get British missions and are counted as part of the Allies, while Turkish and Spanish captains get German missions and are counted as part of the Axis, despite all three nations being officially neutral. This is because only a handful of Kickstarter backers can currently play for those nations in the first place, giving the developers little reason to create a entire set of unique missions just for them.
  • Gathering Steam: Inverted. Every gun has a "fatigue" stat that acts as a stacking penalty to its reload time for each round it's fired in. While it's fairly easy to reduce the fatigue on guns 5" and lighter to negligible levels just by getting rid of manual supply advantages, heavier guns tend to have far more substantial fatigue, and a valid strategy for normal mode 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 automation advantages and quirks.
  • 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 or even just female crews 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.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: Due to the Morgana threat, the League of Nations has not just been revived, but significantly strengthened compared to its real-life counterpart, becoming something closer to the United Nations and having enough power/usefulness that even nonmember states like the United States and Germany are willing to cooperate with it (despite the latter in particular still being at war with several of its members).
  • 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 just to momentarily delay the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau from sinking Allied convoys rather than stand down and surrender as requested.
    • Marseillaise embodies the fiery spirit of the French Revolution and throws herself and her crew into pursuits (and battles) with that same spirit.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: A well-equipped Belle with a good crew can reliably land hits at the maximum engagement range of 30,000 yards, far eclipsing Warspite and Scharnhorst's tied 23,000 yard record.
  • 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: Ships equipped with centerline torpedo batteries can only fire a single volley per battle. If they fire and miss...too bad!note 
  • 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 already 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 gives 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 fire as if they were real naval rifles despite being little more than painted logs. Similarly, Amerigo Vespucci is a training sailing ship whose cannons would be about a century outdated even if they weren't wooden imitations, but she has an alarming amount of room for upgrades, on par with many light cruisers.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Battlecruisers are every bit as fast as cruisers and destroyers while still being far more armored than any heavy cruiser and carrying a full battleship-grade armament. There's also Dunkerque and the Scharnhorst sisters, who are classified as battleships but still possess battlecruiser-esque speed.
    • Pola, Wichita, 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 for what it lacks in caliber with sheer volume of fire.
    • Volta carries a terrifying amount of firepower for a destroyer and more than many of the small light cruisers, while also being one of the fastest destroyers in the game.
  • Like Reality, Unless Noted: The backstory of the game is meant to be pretty much 100% identical to real life all the way up until the sudden appearance of the Morgana and Belles on September 1, 1939.
  • 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 wields some manner of Fire-Breathing Weapon, but she is herself constantly on fire (though gameplay-wise, her ship is not on fire unless ignited, just like any other ship).
  • Mechanical Evolution: The Morgana are known to feed on ships, including other damaged Morgana, and use materials from these ships to improve or repair themselves.
  • Mighty Glacier: Most battleships are significantly slower than most ships with smaller displacement, resulting in worse map traversal 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 carrying out 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 outright 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.
  • Moose and Maple Syrup: Saguenay is very much French-Canadian and peppers her speech with Quebecois. However, she's much more in the style of a Métis hunter/fur trapper than the more modern stuck-up stereotype.
  • 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 thus far is named False Hope.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Much like in real life, most heavy cruisers are only really "heavy" in that their starting primary battery consists of naval rifles over 6.1" (155mm) in bore diameter. While the smaller and older light cruisers are certainly "light" compared to their heavy cruiser sisters, more modern light cruisers tend to have at least comparable armor, starting health, and design weight. Some (like Boise, Nashville, and St. Louis) actually score significantly better in all the aforementioned categories compared to the vast majority of heavy cruisers.
  • 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 in their stories, but throw in idioms from their native language and 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: Belles tend to hold beliefs appropriate to both the era and their country of origin, meaning that among other things, some of the German Belles like Nürnberg and Deutschland believe in Nazi racial pseudoscience, some of the Japanese Belles support Japan's imperialist war in China, the Spanish Belles are supporters of Franco's Nationalists, and some Italian Belles like Pola and Camicia Nera are very much believers in Italian fascism. They're still technically heroes in this conflict 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 doll-like robotic women in various states of visible roboticism 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: Naval rifles 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 penetrating damage. Hits that inflict penetrating damage in a sensitive part of the ship can also inflict particularly devastating critical damage. The non-penetrating damage tends to be comparatively anemic and usually only inflicts minor critical hits at most. Similarly, in anti-air combat, guns will do their flak damage on a near-miss, 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 much of a ship's command and control capabilities, giving huge all-around debuffs.
  • Southern Belle: Puns aside, Mississippi and Augusta paint the very picture of a southern socialite, with their strong Dixie accents, graceful yet gregarious hospitality, and fondness for Regal Ringlets, parasols, fancy banquets, and fancy clothes (including a big hoop skirt in Mississippi's case). Also, they can do nearly as much damage with polite snark as they can with their big guns.
  • Stronger with Age: As a general rule, older ships' Belles are significantly stronger in the narrative, even if their actual ships are less capable than newer vessels. For example, Aurora has repeatedly shown to be quite powerful despite her ship being old and far less capable than newer cruisers like Nashville.
  • Subsystem Damage: Belles and Morgana can suffer a wide variety of additional damage types 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: most of the Belles lack voiced lines even though they have plenty of written lines in their stories. However, the developers are constantly searching for new actors and accept auditions.
  • Trash Talk: Almost all combatants, whether Belle or Morgana, will trade snark before each round of battle. Lines range from assurances of defeat for the enemy, to jabs against their capabilities, to straight-up personal insults. The only exceptions are Confusion (who's just trying to figure out what the hell's going on), Delusion (who blabs on about nothing in particular), and Cowardice (who's mostly just squealing in terror).
  • 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, any gear currently equipped on the Belle is lost too, so you better hope you either have copies or a blueprint. 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. For instance, Aurora is a very old and slow light cruiser with only a handful of old 130mm rifles, but 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 many of 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 the crews don't turn against their Belles' homelands. Indeed, the weekly war plans for the players of each faction and nation may at times be directly opposed to each other.
  • Weird Historical War: The premise of the game can be summed up as "WWII, but with magical shipgirls."
  • 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.