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Visual Novel / Lads In Distress

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From left to right: Prince Zel, Not-Prince Nicholl, Prince Mer, Princess Charming, Prince Snow, and Prince Ellis

The whole Lunar Kingdom is abuzz with excitement and curiosity—Princess Charming is throwing a royal ball to celebrate her 18th birthday, much to everyone's surprise. Invitations have been sent to nobles and royals from all neighboring nations, although Charming and her parents only really care about the princes. After all, everyone knows that the true purpose of the ball is for Charming to find a man suitable as her husband so that she can form an advantageous political alliance, or even merge their nations together to save her kingdom from poverty. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) for Charming, the princes may need to be rescued just as much as her kingdom does.

As Charming, the player can choose one of three princes to save/wed:

  • Prince Zel—the long lost prince of Forest Kingdom, who was kidnapped years ago by a witch and is rumored to be trapped in a tower guarded by a dragon.
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  • Prince Snow—the disgraced ex-heir to the Snow Kingdom throne, infamous for his skirt-chasing.
  • Prince Mer—the prince of Water Kingdom, who disappeared into the forest seven years ago and returned without his memory, personality or voice.

The game, created by Catfish Crew, can be downloaded here. An expanded version, which will build on the current routes and add 2 additional ones (for a total of 5 routes), is in the works. The updated demo (including the first two scenes of each of the five routes,) was released on July 30th, 2017. Please note that with this release the Na No Reno version has been removed.


This game has examples of:

  • A Birthday, Not a Break: The only reason that Charming is holding an 18th birthday ball is to find a husband to marry who can save her kingdom from financial ruin.
  • Adorkable: While all the princes have their moments, Zel stands out due to his isolation-induced social awkwardness and shyness.
  • Altar the Speed: Mer convinces Charming to marry him two weeks before their official courtship period ends, as he is running out of time before the effects of his body swap curse kills him, and he needs to be married to Charming before he kills her so that her death will not only break his curse, but pass over control of the Lunar kingdom to him.
    • After learning the details behind his curse, Charming offers to forego the courtship period entirely and marry Snow straight away so that he can get one step closer to breaking it. Snow refuses, stating that he'd rather they use the time to see if they're compatible before rushing into marriage.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Charming's parents fill the role admirably after she and Mer marry, commenting on how nice it would be if a pair of twins make an appearance in nine months, wink wink, nudge nudge.
    • Snow's father, who straight up asks Charming and Snow if they're in a love match.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Mer assumes that all other nobles are like this, due to his experiences as a child.
  • Ban on Magic: Only Lunar Kingdom natives and fairies are allowed to practice magic. And even then, it's expensive for humans to learn how to wield it, so only nobles know how.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Some endings are much happier than others. Mer's second ending concludes with his imprisonment; one of Snow's endings concludes with them breaking off their engagement; Zel's second ending concludes with Zel and Charming going on adventures...while Lunar Kingdom deals with a rebellion.
  • Bridal Carry: Charming is furious after she suddenly wakes up in Snow's arms, nearly roasting the poor boy before he manages to explain that he was simply carrying her to her room after she feel asleep. Charming herself levitates Snow over the threshold in one of their epilogues.
  • Brown Note: Mer's voice causes those who hear it to claw at their ears until they bleed, before suddenly dying. Their bodies then completely disappear.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: The princes and Nicholl.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: If the player locks in on Nicholl's route.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Snow, despite his skirt chasing ways, is a hard working, kind-hearted man who just wants to save his father.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: The first thought that comes to Charming's mind when she learns about each prince is how to go about helping them. Zel even tells her that she has a savior complex.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Every human possesses the dormant ability to perform magic - all that's required to awaken the talent is the belief that they can indeed use magic and a proper grasp on how the spell they're casting works. This is an incredibly well guarded secret in the Lunar kingdom, to the point where natives are forbidden to teach outsiders how to wield magic, as the Kingdom's total monopoly over magic is the one of the only things which keeps them relevant in the current political climate.
  • Color-Coded Characters:
    • Charming—Pink
    • Zel—Purple
    • Mer—Green/Red
    • Snow—White/Blue
  • Crapsaccharine World: Despite the fact that it takes place in a bright, colorful world where all nations are at peace with each other, it's heavily implied in at least one route that Lunar Kingdom's financial troubles are the result of greedy nobles who keep insisting on higher wages. It's also a world where children can get abducted by witches or cursed by fairies at a whim.
  • Curse: Snow is cursed by his stepmother so that when he kisses a girl three times, she dies. This turns out to be false, as his stepmother has no magical powers. Mer was forced to switch bodies with the ''real'' prince Mer years ago. Normally, the body swap would revert on its own; however, the real prince, trapped in 'Mer's'/Evian's original body, died from starvation. Thus, the only way for 'Mer'/Evian to stay in his new body is to kill a powerful magic user.
  • Curse Escape Clause: Snow must marry a 'worthy maiden' to break his. Mer must kill a powerful magic user.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All three princes have one, to varying extents.
  • Darker and Edgier: Mer's route, in which he marries Charming to kill her in order to prevent the body switch he was forced into from killing him. He also the only guy who has an outright Downer Ending.
  • Decadent Court: Lunar Kingdom and possibly Water Kingdom are hinted to have elements of this.
  • Determinator: Charming, who in every route, goes to great lengths to help the prince she's betrothed (or in Zel's case, attempting to betroth) to.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: One of Snow's previous lovers died in his arms after he kissed her. It's what convinced him that he was well and truly cursed.
  • Divine Right of Kings: It is believed that the gods choose which station/status people are born into. Mer doesn't buy into this at all, due to being a starving commoner before suddenly finding himself in the Crown Prince's body.
  • Dragons Prefer Princesses: A gender flipped version with Zel, who's 'guarded' by the witch's dragon.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: By helping the chosen prince with his problem and convincing them to marry Charming.
  • Fairy Companion: Nicholl, Charming's childhood best friend who gives her advice and helps her out.
  • Feminist Fantasy: A game where the girl is not only the protagonist, but is smart, skilled with magic, confident, and tasked with saving others.
  • Foreshadowing: In Mer's route, Nicholl and Charming discuss body swapping spells. Guess who's the victim of a body swap?
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Played for Drama in Mer's route.
  • Fridge Horror: While not outright stated, the princes who do not get chosen have potentially very unhappy endings. Snow spends the rest of his life thinking he's cursed, Zel is forever trapped in the tower, and Mer dies.
  • Gender Flip: The premise of the game is a swap of your typical fairy tale—instead of the princess needing the saving, it's the princes.
  • Girl in the Tower: Zel is a gender-flipped version of this.
  • Glamour: Charming teaches Mer illusion magic to help him communicate with her. In his second ending, she creates an illusionary double of 'Prince Mer' to appear at her side in public, while keeping the real deal trapped in the chambers.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Zel.
  • Happily Married: Depending on the ending.
  • Held Gaze: One can occur between Charming and Zel if they picnic together at a lake. Charming and Snow also share one after dealing with a bandit attack (with said bandits snarking at the sappiness of it all in the background).
  • The Hero's Birthday: The game starts right before Charming's 18th birthday, the birthday where she has to choose a husband.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Snow's ailing father strongly felt that his frivolous, skirt chasing son was not fit to inherit the throne as he was, and so removed him from the line of succession and kicked him out of the castle in order to force him clean up his act.
  • In Love with the Mark: Mer, who plotted to kill Charming to break his curse and stay alive, but fell in love with her and couldn't go through with it.
  • Jumped at the Call: Charming doesn't hesitate to help when a prince reveals his problem.
  • Kiss of Death: Snow's curse, which he learnt about through first hand experience. Though later it's revealed to be a lie which his stepmother made up to drive him from the castle.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Snow, despite vowing that he'll never fall in love after his curse killed one of his previous lovers winds up falling head over heels for Charming the moment he lays eyes on her.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Zel.
  • Lovable Coward: Zel, who just wants to stay in his tower and cook all day.
  • Love at First Sight: Snow admits to this if you manage to woo him.
  • Love Redeems: Depending on the actions taken, Charming can convince Zel to return to society with her. via The Power of Love; Mer is ultimately unable to kill Charming because he's fallen in love with her. Depending on which route the player takes, they may wind up Happily Married.
  • Magic Mirror: Snow gains his curse after he breaks a cursed mirror. This causes Charming to realise that his 'curse' doesn't actually exsist - as you can only curse those who possess a soul.
  • The Magocracy: Lunar Kingdom, the only Kingdom where people—specifically, nobles with enough money to hire someone to teach them—are allowed to practice magic.
  • Marriage of Convenience: Charming needs one to save her kingdom.
  • Meaningful Name: The princes' names are references to the fairy tale they're based on (Snow—The Snow Queen; Mer—The Little Mermaid; Zel—Rapunzel.) Charming's name is a reference to the trope Prince Charming.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Mer's distressed/hysterical facial expressions as he tries to kill Charming and later while explaining his real past; depending on the choices made, Charming goes yandere and imprisons Mer after learning of his plot.
  • No Body Left Behind: The corpses of those killed by Mer's voice disappear after a short while.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Played with on Mer's route.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: The princes are the three people Charming's parents don't want her to marry and only invited them to the ball at Nicholl's request. Naturally, they aren't thrilled when Charming chooses one of them.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Charming, whose hair and clothes are pink.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Nicholl was merely a side character in the initial version, but is set to have a route of his own in the full game. Word of God says he was actually always intended to get his own route, but the month time limit on the Nanoreno release resulted in his role being downsized at the time.
  • Rebellious Princess: Charming, although just how rebellious depends on the prince she chooses and which actions she takes while with said prince.
  • Rebel Prince: Zel, who came to like living in the tower and refuses to go back to society.
  • Rightful King Returns: A possible ending for Snow and Zel. Though in the latter's case his long absence from court means that not everyone welcomes him with open arms - he and Charming are still negotiating with dissenting factions in the epilogue.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Charming, who wants to marry a prince to save her kingdom from financial ruin and who goes the extra mile to help said prince with his problems; Mer wants to use his position to help the poor.
  • Spare to the Throne: Surprisingly averted for all kingdoms except Snow Kingdom.
  • Shout-Out: To fairy tales.
  • Shrinking Violet: Zel, at least until he starts warming up to Charming.
  • The Speechless: Mer. Subverted. He can talk, but he had the fairy that swapped his original body with the real prince Mer's body curse his voice so that whoever heard it—unless they had water in/around their ears—would die horribly. This was to keep ties with his old self (who was genuinely mute), to make it easier to imitate the real prince, and as a form of self defense.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Charming, whose wealth and position have made her responsible and eager to help others, rather than bratty.
  • Unicorns Are Sacred: Apparently enough that it justifies killing a bunch of knights for killing them and forcing the prince who was with those knights to switch bodies with an unsuspecting pauper.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Averted with Snow.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Snow's stepmother, who cursed him to kill any woman he kisses three times and who poisoned his father.
  • Yandere: Depending on which choices the player makes, Charming can decide to imprison Mer so she can "look at him whenever she wants" after learning of his plot to kill her.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Charming, Snow, and Nicholl.

Example of: