i finished this game! so now i wanna write my full thoughts on it, apologies in advance for how long this comment is.
i really enjoyed all of the characters! i definitely think, if you're going to go for all the routes, you should play them in the order that's recommended. (rod, karma, rumple, fritz, waltz.) i don't like getting info repeated to me, or having to sit through a route when you know some crucial thing but your character doesn't, and playing in that order minimizes it a lot. each route unveiled some more info that i didn't know yet, and the retreading of things you already know doesn't take that much time. waltz's route also definitely felt like a true ending.
when you play through every route you really end up loving everyone. somehow, rumpel went from a route that i thought i was just gonna play to complete the game, to one of my favorite characters... though all of the characters are basically my favorite characters now. rumpel and fritz's routes ended up making me fall in love with waltz before i even got to his own route. all of the routes are great, but waltz's and fritz's are a step above, tbh. if nothing else, you should play this game for their routes (and since you need to play 2 routes to unlock them, you might as well play all the routes!). fritz's made me almost cry about 3 times, and waltz's had me crying before i was even halfway through. the writing in this game is truly top notch.
i really want to specifically praise the way lucette's relationship with her father is written. i also have a very strained relationship with my own father, and i related maybe a bit too much to her in that sense. the writer(s?) handled it with a lot of grace and made it into something realistic and beautiful. thank you for that, genuinely. it really touched my heart.
this game has so much polish. considering its a free game, i was surprised. the right choice indicator, the little chimes that play as you hover over options, the beautiful art (i feel that rods sprites are especially well drawn), the intricate dialogue box, all of them give this real sense of class to the game. it genuinely feels like a visual novel i would be willing to pay $15-25 for.
my only real gripes with the game would be:
1. the fact that you're still step siblings with rod no matter what ending you get. i dunno, i love rod, i like his personality, his design, his story, ect, but it feels odd to play a route where your mc is dating their own step brother. and it gets brought up multiple times in the text. i get that they arent blood related, but... it just sits strangely. also
[SPOILER WARNING FOR ROD'S ROUTE] i wish it was covered somehow, is the king in love with ophelia solely because of rod's curse? did the king love her before, but only go to find her because of the curse? or did he have no clue she existed, but because of the deal rod made, he fell in love and sought her out? maybe it was implied, or said somewhere and i'm forgetting, but i would love to know. though i guess if it wasn't explained, it could always be explained in the sequel. [END SPOILER WARNING]
2. that theres not an annice route!!! holy crap i literally fell in love with annice as soon as she appeared. every time lucette was mean to her it hurt my very soul. i wouldn't even care if it was just a friendship route and not a romantic one, just lemme tell annice that i appreciate her, i respect her, i respect everything she does for the marchen... but i digress.
to end this long as hell comment, this game is honestly amazing. i'm super excited for the sequel and i'll be waiting patiently for its release! i can't wait to return to the wonderful world you guys crafted.