If you liked both politics and flirting in Game of Thrones, here's your visual novel

Imperial Grace
(Image credit: Synstoria)
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Was your favorite bit of Game of Thrones the parts with the flirting and political intrigue? Preferably both at the same time? Was it even better when combined with the harsh realities of medieval politics?

Well, Imperial Grace might just be a visual novel for you. A combination of dating sim, visual novel, and resource-management political strategy, it's a game that asks you to choose whether you'd rule with your head or your heart as a main character who has just ascended to the throne of an empire in an imaginary medieval world.

Imperial Grace has a demo, which is out on itch.io (opens in new tab) and Steam (opens in new tab) right now, but doesn't yet have a firm release date. It'll come "When the Empire is ready", which the developers hope will be Winter 2023.

In addition to the kind of relationship-building you expect in a visual novel, it seems like Imperial Grace will have light resource-management aspects as you navigate the politics of your realm. A set of policies are shown in one screenshot, allowing the player to select choices like how to direct economics, how much money to send to religious groups, and how heavily to tax their subjects. Those choices seem to feed into a set of incomes like People, Nobility, Money, Faith, Army, Resources, and Influence.

This isn't developer Synstoria's first visual novel: Their previous work, Ballads at Midnight, released for free in 2021 on itch.io (opens in new tab) and Steam (opens in new tab). It's the story of a musician exiled to a castle as food for a vampire, only to find that the vampire isn't hungry, just very bored and also (obviously) very attractive. Synstoria also made a novel for a game jam called Autumn Spirit, about falling in love with a ghost, that's pay what you want on itch.io (opens in new tab).

You can find Imperial Grace on itch.io (opens in new tab) and Steam (opens in new tab), and on the Synstoria website (opens in new tab). Here's the trailer, in French, though the game will be available in both French and English.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.