Ambition: A Minuet in Power is a visual novel dating sim. You play the role of a young country woman, Yvette, moving to Paris to marry her betrothed, the dashing noble Baron Armand de Marbo. Things don’t go as planned and you find yourself in the midst of political intrigue and a country moving towards the brink of revolution.
Ambition is a visual novel at heart so you’ll be doing a lot of reading. However, the game adds in some interesting mechanics to make it feel more engaging than simply reading a moving scroll of text on the screen. The game has a very nice flow. Each day you can choose to explore the city. You can only go to one place a day so you need to choose wisely. Each location has something different to offer as well.
As days pass, you will have some parties to attend. Each party is aligned with a certain faction so you will have to dress appropriately in order to impress the people there and gain credibility. There are some mechanics for the clothes as well. Each unit of clothing has a novelty rating. Novelty will go down the more you wear the same outfit so you have to change your fashion frequently as France is a place of fast moving fashion trends. Doing so costs money so you must earn money by selling gossip gleaned from conversations at the parties.
It doesn’t stop there though. You can choose to sell gossip for money or give it away for free to influence the general public’s opinion on a certain faction positively or negatively. Doing either will carry the risk of you being found out as the source of the gossip and possibly losing credibility.
Not only do you need money for clothes, you also need to pay for your housing and your servant’s wages. This creates a dynamic balancing act of having to attend parties to gain credibility and favor while obtaining and selling enough gossip to make enough money to buy the dresses to attend the parties in the first place, as well as pay for your living expenses.
You also have a fatigue meter that goes down every time you go to a party. You can restore it by staying at home instead of choosing to venture out into the city. This creates another layer of nuance to the game play where you have to choose between exploring the city and gaining more opportunities and meeting characters or resting at home to prepare for a party.
As for the visual novel part, the writing is pretty solid. The beginning moves a bit slowly but it definitely picks up the pace later on. The cast and political intrigue are interesting as well. There are optional story lines that you can complete! The earliest one is investigating the Viscountess de Foix’s source of wealth on your path to get revenge on her for publicly snubbing you at a party.
Overall, Amibition: A Minuet in Power is a pretty neat visual novel concept. It adds many layers of nuance to the game play and actually has mechanics to master and engage with. While it is still a visual novel at its core, these mechanics offer another dimension to the game play and keep things fresh and interesting.