Mice Tea Review

Mice All The Way!

Seeing as how I’m still one of the few people who do reviews of TSF visual novels, I figured that it’s time for me to check out Mice Tea. A transformation visual novel (with some TSF elements) that has been on my radar since… 2019? Wow. Time sure flies…

Why did it take me so long to get around to this? Well, I thought it was mostly centered around human to anthro transformations. Which, despite being a furry by definition, did not seem like something that I would be especially interested in. But then I played through the Felicia route in July 2022, was wildly impressed, and after a deluge of scheduling delays, here I am with Version 1.0.0 of the game. 

Mice Tea Version 1.0.0 Review
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), Mac, Android
Developer/Publisher: Cinnamon Switch

The story of Mice Tea follows Margaret de Campos. A bookish young woman who is caught in the doldrums of young adulthood, still working at the same bookstore she has for years, and procrastinating on taking the next step in her life. But after bringing home a mysterious box of floor tea, her life is transformed forever as she is thrust into a brave, new, and particularly furry, world. 

…On that note, I probably should get this out of the way. If you are here on Natalie.TF, you are probably some variety of TSF (Trans-Sexual Fantasy) enjoyer. And while there is some TSF in Mice Tea, it is mostly relegated to the Felicia route, and the game is far more geared toward furry and (general) transformation fans. To the point where Mice Tea requires at least a casual acceptance of the subject to fully enjoy. If you are not into furry stuff or have a hard limit on animal ears, tails, and maybe whiskers (a.k.a. coward stuff), then this might be a bit much for your tender soul.

For those that are cool with this though… I’ll just cut all pretense and say that Mice Tea is a treat

Right out the gate, I need to give the game major points for doing something different. Unlike basically every other TF visual novel I have covered, the characters in Mice Tea are adults. They’re not a bunch of high schoolers, they’re not college kids, they’re not even new to this whole ‘living on their own’ thing. They’re all twenty-somethings with jobs— with careers— and are all pretty comfortably settled into their lives. And instead of starring some unremarkable-looking White dude, Cinnamon Switch decided to make its protagonist a curvy Brazilian woman. A type of character who, in most other OELVNs, would be lucky to exist. But here? She’s the central character for the entire story, and receives the most exploration, by far.

On that note, let’s talk about the characters. Mice Tea makes the wise decision to focus on a small principal cast of five characters, consisting of Margaret and her menagerie of friends. This includes Felicia, her boss at Barlow’s Books and a woman with a guardedness that prevents her from reaching out to others. Which is my way of saying that she’s trans and not a great manager. Gavin, a tea shop owner who Margaret has become close friends with over the past few years, and the resident straight guy of the game. Sylvia, a flakey fashionista who harbors many secrets and insecurities beyond her bubbly valley girl exterior. And Julie, Margaret’s former college roommate and artist extraordinaire with a boisterous and irreverent personality.

The central cast is an impressively realized and deeply loveable bunch, with neatly contrasting personalities, and getting to know them over the course of their routes is half the fun. The writing is high quality, mixing the elegant prose one would expect of such a literarily endeared protagonist with natural sounding conversations and a clear comfort with the transformation genre. While also boasting a level of polish that comes with having more proofreaders and going through more revisions than a sane person would even attempt to count.

As for the story proper, Mice Tea is divided into four distinct character specific routes. Routes that, much to my surprise and delight, are very linear and don’t require a flowchart. Well, except for some light variable juggling in the Felicia route. Despite this, the game goes the extra mile by creating an elegant interactive flowchart. 

This is a level of navigation accessibility that I would have genuinely never expected from an independent visual novel of this scale. I would normally forgo flowchart duties in situations like this… but I started mapping things out back in 2022, so here’s a more condensed flowchart, just ‘cos.

Now, without further ado, let’s get into the routes. They cover vastly different TF-related subject matter, so I’m going to give them each their own little sub-review. And, just for fun, I’m going to list them in my personal recommended reading order: Felicia, Julie, Gavin, and Sylvia.

Felicia Route

Starting with the TSF route— because of course that’s where I would start— the Felicia route begins with Margaret hunting down her boss after she accidentally grabs a thermos filled with floor tea. Which not only elicits a human to anthro transformation, but triggers a male to female transformation too. Margaret takes the reins in helping this tender little chick come out of her shell with a teensy fashion show, some fun facts for femmes, before eventually introducing her to the wet and wild world of womanhood.

Aside from the choice to follow the female friend rather than the MtF heroine, it’s a familiar enough premise. However, that is merely the initial pitch for this route, and it pretty quickly takes a direction that, in retrospect, almost feels like it is trying to convert TSF fans to furry TF. …And it is pretty darn effective. Rather than prying too much on Felicia’s gender identity— because she’s a capital-E-Egg from tip to toe— the story shifts that to a B-plot, does what it needs to, and focuses on the two’s discovery of the furry fandom.

Partially due to a sexual awakening stirred by a short story written by an acclaimed and old school member of the furry TF fandom (at least I assume that’s what they are). Partially due to the local furry con happening as these two are stuck with animal ears and noses they can’t seem to keep down. But mostly due to how fun it is to be a real furry on the streets and especially in the sheets. It is a cute journey of self-discovery and communal acceptance taken all the way to its most sensible conclusion, and has probably converted at least a couple dozen people to the floofier side. It is a solid premise, but what makes the route special is everything it does while rolling toward this conclusion.

The TF writer cameo appearances are probably among the best ‘crowdfunded cameo’ appearances I have seen in a game, with all of them feeling like a natural fit for this world. More than any other route, this one really takes advantage of the powers of the floor tea, with the cast becoming straight up alchemists with this stuff. I appreciated the inclusion of other TSF transformations throughout the route, and how they contrasted Felicia’s, showing off the writer’s intimate familiarity with the genre. Heck, some of the observations are things that still go over my head when describing a TSF transformation.

But my favorite part about this route— my favorite part in this entire game— has to be how it acknowledges that Margaret and Felicia are running a business here. And how Margaret uses her superhuman mouse woman powers to clean up this utter mess of a company. 

Some might find the scene where Margaret is going through the cluster of invoices on the store laptop, creating spreadsheets, and systematically clearing out emails to be boring. Some might find the missing bank account and utility bill error to be baffling. But as a former office worker, and current star employee for a chronic procrastinator, I found that section to be one of the most deeply relatable scenes I have ever encountered, period. It does so much to realize this world and make the characters feel like actual adults, that I was blown away both times I played it.

And the decision to pivot away from being a humble little bookstore to become something grander? Yeah, that is a little corny, but as someone with a specialized skill set, I know how lucrative underserved niches can be, especially if they’ve got fat pockets. They’ve got a rock solid business plan, and that’s besides being the premiere egg hatchery in the continent.

I’ve been racking my brain trying to find something to segue into as a negative but… nope! The Felicia route is straight up excellent, and you couldn’t ask for a better introduction into this world and these characters.

Julie Route

Following the sexual antics of day 2, the Julie route picks up with Margaret returning to her apartment, only to find her friend of almost-a-decade, Julie Lin, waiting for her. Margaret shares her secret with her, the two become thoroughly fluffy, and Julie translates the instructions, as she’s a natural language wiz. With the discovery problem solved, the two decide to make use of their new powers by… hacking into a claw machine to steal a plushie!

As is to be expected, the plan gets borked 90% of the way through, and the two use their animalistic super speed, strength, and agility to escape. But rather than just end their escapades in thievery, this experience leads Julie to develop a harebrained scheme… for revenge. Revenge against a man who stole her artwork and sold it under his own name, leaving her destitute and forcing her to leave France and return to New Greenshire. To achieve this, she and Margaret go on a series of elaborate robberies, stealing this scuzzball’s works… while engaging in some kinky exhibitionist sex, because otherwise it would be too boring.

This is a strong start to a route, but despite promising the thrills of sapphic furry heisting, the route really only has three things going for it. The drive for revenge against an antagonist who is never really seen, and never actually does anything to the protagonists beyond sicking security on them. The budding romantic relationship between Margaret and Julie, as Margaret gets Julie to open up to the idea of having a more substantive relationship with dates, cuddling, etc. And a subplot that follows Sylvia as she gyaru-fies a suspiciously familiar amnesiac.

All of these elements work, but there is an underlying sense that the story is missing something. Perhaps the antagonist needed to be more established. Perhaps Margaret needed to learn something more about herself other than she likes kink— which is a common element across all routes. Or… wait, no, I know the actual problem. It’s that the story is wrapped up so quickly and there’s barely any epilogue, when every other route has an extensive epilogue. So it does not really feel like much was accomplished. …Because not much was accomplished.

Despite this… odd omission that was probably cut due to time constraints, everything the Julie route does, it does well. The antagonist is painted out to be an adequate scumbag, and the characters feel righteous in their pursuit of the only true justice— CRIME JUSTICE. Margaret and Julie both feel like long-time friends with a lot of history and connection to each other, which makes the progression of their relationship come off as both genuine and loving. The exhibitionist kink has a ludicrous and humorous bent to it that I appreciated. And the story ends on an exciting climax that, in a way, feels like a bizarro AU sequel to the Felicia route.

In any other game, this would be a great route, but when compared to the other three, it feels like it is lacking a certain creative energy. Heck, I would argue that the short endings are actually more creative than the main route. Those give me Margaret masturbating to a Black cam girl turning into a deer, and criminal animal social media sensations. The main route gave me two cow girls sucking milk from each other’s tits, and… that’s just blasé in my book. In fact, I’ll go one step further and say that’s 2006 shit. That’s middle school shit

Gavin Route

The Gavin route kicks off with Margaret doing some drunk math and chugging floor tea while buzzing around like a 6-year-old after drinking their first Coke. As she continues to indulge herself, her body transforms not to a standard mouse woman, but a mouse-sized mouse woman, before becoming a mouse entirely. Though she retained a modicum of intelligence, allowing her to survive and flourish, she lacks even an ounce of humanity, and is left with no hope of, nor desire to, return to normal.

While a brief and nerve-wracking ending, it is presented with a level of cheeriness that obscures the dread of losing one’s humanity and— wait, that was just the short ending? Ugh. Okay, fine, I’ll talk about the main route.

This is the shrinking route of Mice Tea, and follows Margaret as she becomes a 5-inch-tall mouse woman. Her long-term friend Gavin arrives at her home shortly after her transformation, and after going ‘okay, I’m out’ he decides to take care of Margaret as she is trapped in this tiny form. 

For the first half of the story, things are largely isolated in Gavin’s apartment, where Gavin tries to be as accommodating and comforting to Margaret as he can. Giving her a feast of little bits of food, a doll dress and furniture, and helping her with her new mousy urges. Which include urges to nibble, gather, be brushed, be sexually pleasured, and bathe herself in tea. …I don’t think mice actually do the last one, but they probably would if they were smarter. 

The second half kicks off with a discovery that shatters the relationship of Margaret and Gavin, before shifting into something far more upbeat via a prolonged epilogue. Margaret changes her outlook on her transformation, she and Gavin go on some episodic adventures, and the burgeoning romance between the two reaches its expected heteroromantic conclusion. 

Now, this is a genre of story that I have precious little familiarity with, and I’m not entirely sure how to feel about it. More than any other route, it focuses on developing more animalistic traits, and features the greatest physical change. Which is something that I think prevents me from becoming a true TF fan. I tend to put a lot of value on one’s ‘humanity,’ their intelligence, and autonomy. So the idea of becoming more immersed in instincts is… unsettling to me. I’ve dabbled in this idea for darker and edgier concepts in the past, but outside of those contexts, I nope the heck out.

However, this route also focuses more on the romantic angle between Margaret and the route’s namesake… which is also something that doesn’t quite jive with me. As a tiny mouse lady, Margaret is effectively rendered physically disabled, and requires assistance from Gavin. Combined with the fact that she is deeply horny in her new form, the feelings she develops for Gavin can be read as less of an ‘honest’ romantic development and more like some variation of ‘transference.’

This sense that something may be ‘wrong’ is even worse in the ‘stay small’ ending. After spending months trying to get back to her normal size, Margaret— immediately— chooses to say that she wants to stay a tiny mouse woman for the rest of her life. Using an imperfect physical disability comparison, this is akin to someone recovering from a broken leg… talking about how she wants to break her leg again, as she prefers living that way. It is ultimately her choice to make, and she has the right to do whatever she wants with her life and body. But I still have to question if her sense of judgment is affected by the trauma of turning into a mouse woman and the attention she amassed as a mouse woman.

The route really tries to work around the issues of consent, control, and maintaining a healthy balance of power in a relationship. It is a thorough exploration of a concept popular in certain TF communities, taken to its logical conclusion, and the creators clearly understand the criticisms I am offering. But despite this, and likely due to my inability to view this story through the lens of its particular genre… I think this is the weakest route by far. I would prefer it if it were more eccentric or degenerate, but at that point, you’d just be making a horny mess and not building upon subgenre.

Sylvia Route

Last but not least, we have the Sylvia route, where Margaret winds up sharing her tea with Barlow’s no-show warrior, sending the two on an adventure of burgeoning friendship and understanding. It was a route that I was particularly curious about, but it started on a rather sour note by positioning hypnosis and gyaru-fication (which is like bimbofication sans the intelligence stat drop). Neither of which are things I have any particular interest in. But then it shifts things into a wildly different direction that… I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

The Sylvia route is one about mental transformation. About using the immense power granted by Sylvia’s naga form in order to expand and enhance the minds of its two central characters and transform who they are. Except instead of being done via mental commands and effectively killing off the undesirable elements of a self, it facilitates transformation by introducing additional personas. Or, if you want to view things through a plurality lens (which is another imperfect comparison), a different facet. A facet who compliments their original personality but allows them to behave differently, relying on unused yet internalized knowledge to achieve things they never thought possible. It is something that I have rarely, if ever, seen from the transformation genre, either due to its scarcity or my lack of exploration, and I love it.

Transformation, as a genre, is most often focused on the physical, one becoming something else. And while the mental is a fixation in some instances, it is often strictly to meld the mind to better fit the new form. They might become someone else at the end of the transformation. But that someone and something are one in the same. Normally this is facilitated through an exchange but here, the transformation is additive. Nothing is destroyed, nothing is replaced, and everything is broadened. The characters are able to become more than who they were at the start of the route, or in any other route in this game.

While Sylvia and Margaret going through their own parallel journeys of self expansion would be enough to create a deeply entertaining story, that is merely the focal point. It manages to make a shopping trip with all the beats essential to a good ‘acceptance’ transformation story. There’s basically a Giu Giu ‘gender change’ scenario thrown in — because a patron suggested it— and the developers absolutely nailed it. An entire subplot centers around Sylvia using the powers of mental hypnosis and therapy to help other people unlock their true self and rid themselves of trauma. Hell, it even has the wildest sex scenes in the entire game. Which, in my book, makes them the best.

All of which culminates with two conclusions. An alternate ending that basically condenses a 20,000 word story into 2,000 words, and only keeps the best parts. And a true ending that… I don’t want to give it away, but it satiated something deep within the dark recesses of my mind. Something that has long since been starved for sustenance. And this route brought it back to life in one brief, glorious, moment. 

Beyond that personal connection though, I still think it is an incredibly strong ending for a transformation story, given how it broaches the subject matter in such an obvious yet seldom explored way. Seriously, it’s a 10/10 banger ending, and it’s how one should end their time with Mice Tea, no question.

As for the negatives… I’ll keep it brief and say that Sylvia is a trans woman, and I feel like the script is missing ten or so crucial lines to help explain her identity. I originally went on a tirade about this, and even searched through the script files to test my sanity, but I’m pretty sure that some things just got lost in the drafting and rewriting process. Those things being a proper explanation of the “insecurities about [Sylvia’s] transition” and… any in-game tidbit clarifying her genital situation/dysphoria.


That covers the routes, but there are some other subjects that I want to discuss. Starting with the way transformation works within this game.

The floor tea, or rather Kemono Tea, in Mice Tea is a magical concoction that uses the active ingredient of transferm to cause humans to undergo a transformation into anthropomorphic animals. Everybody has a default animal based on their personality, and the more one drinks, the more animalistic they will become. However, through the addition of other ingredients to the tea, the transformation can be altered to a specific animal. The results of which are mostly determined through wordplay and cultural association, because that’s how magic works.

That tackles the ‘kemono’ part, but Kemono Tea has more transformation properties. Before the drinker becomes an anthropomorphic animal, it grants them a body they are more comfortable in, which may or may not be limited to body type and sexual characteristics. And through certain mixtures and adjustments, it can be used to change one’s physical sex— turning men into women and women into men— while avoiding all of that animal stuff.

To return to one’s human or default form, they either need to meditate while imagining their human body for a few minutes to an hour. Or they could sleep it off instead… sometimes. For more extreme transformations, it can take weeks or months to return to one’s original form. But if one drinks too much tea and becomes an animal completely, meaning they cannot meditate and will remain an animal for the rest of their life… I think.

That’s not all though! When under the effects of Kemono Tea, the user is granted various abilities related to an animal. This includes enhanced hearing and smell for woodland critters, flight for birds, hypnosis for snakes, the things one would usually expect. But it also grants them access to enhanced strength, speed, and agility. Improves their thought processing capabilities, allowing them to do mentally taxing tasks with ease. And makes them incredibly horny. Because animals are always horny!

That is pretty much how Kemono Tea functions… but the game kind of struggles with explaining it. Rather than establish the rules of Kemono Tea in the introduction section, it needs to explain how it works in four different ways, four different times, during a full playthrough. And not because it requires strenuous research and experimentation, but because the instructions on the box are written in Japanese calligraphy. Which is indeed a problem that needs to be solved… but if a problem could be solved by visiting Reddit, is it really a good problem to base your story around? I would say no.

Sady, the story pretty much relies on characters not knowing the rules as part of the initial conflict for each route. Meaning there really is no good way to address this without gutting the story, and robbing it of some tension.

As a transformation device in a story, I think Kemono Tea is brilliant. It’s broad enough to cast a vast canvas for exploration, yet simple enough to grasp as ‘tea that makes you your ideal furry self and gives you superpowers.’ It is a transformation device that is largely presented as beneficial. Something that vastly improves the lives of those who drink it. And so long as it is consumed in moderation, it has no real consequences.

That being said, it is also something so powerful that it would probably change the world forever, and I’m not convinced it would be for the best. Partially because it’s not something mystical or unknown. It’s a freaking plant. A plant that gives people superpowers and is so good, so powerful, that it could be seen as the next stage in human evolution. A plant that has immense utility for good and whose dearth of potential benefits go unexplored. And a plant that could also be used for just… the worst atrocities if it were acquired and understood by the military industrial complex. 

I could go on a spiel about animorph soldiers. Muse about chemical weapons that turn people into mice. Or highlight how Mice Tea could be read as a wholesome side story in a grand narrative about how a bunch of Japanese perverts accidentally created a chemical weapon that would redefine warfare! …But focusing on that is just completely missing the point of the story. And if I actually wanted a story where a global TF changed the world, I would just write it myself. Actually, wait, I sorta did that 11 months ago with OPPAI 3 – Let’s Go To Hell!… and that was only 6% as good as Mice Tea.

Sexual Content

Sexual content is something that comes up in… most VNs I review nowadays, and with Mice Tea, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, as it was positioning itself as a sex-heavy game. To me, sex is a powerful tool for telling a story, but it should only be included if it is serving a purpose. It is a great tool to develop characters, establish relationships, and progress a narrative in general.

Considering the team behind this project, I had pretty high expectations for the utility and narrative power of Mice Tea’s sex scenes, and… I didn’t really like them. In fact, I would go as far to say you really aren’t missing much by skipping most of these sex scenes using the in-game scene skip option. Now, that’s not to say they’re bad but, occasional absurdity aside, I found most of them to be pretty… boring.

Why is that? Well, it’s due to a lot of reasons. Most sex scenes focus on some variety of kink. From role-playing to exhibitionism to bondage to edging. The sex scenes are heavy on prose to the point where it almost resembles erotica more than something more typical of a VN. Text is doled out in short one to two sentence bits via a smaller dialog box, meaning the ‘action per click’ ratio is awfully low. And the CGs themselves do not always have the level of detail and expression that I would like. Sometimes they have a flurry of expressions to help the characters emote. Other times they are two static images. Meaning they’re basically just erotic captions you read one line at a time.

However, I think the biggest reason is that… the writing and storytelling is so good that it doesn’t need sex scenes to punctuate things. For the most part, they don’t feel like a necessary part of the story, and you could feasibly create an ‘all ages’ version of this game without changing that many elements.

So, why are these erotic elements here? Well, the creators wanted to throw in some kinky sex scenes. Which, fair enough. It’s their game, this is what most of their target demographic likes, and people will pay more for this stuff when it is sexually spicy. I tried to acknowledge this and to appreciate the sex scenes for what they were, but during the tail end of my playthrough, I started skimming through them. Normally, I try to avoid doing this, but my opinions weren’t going to be swayed by furry rope bondage.


Now that we’ve finally finished talking about the story, let’s go over the presentation, because it’s fantastic

The character sprites, drawn by KDhynamo, are a prime contender for my favorite sprites from any visual novel. Through the use of discrete mouths and eyes, the characters all have dozens of expressions available to them, many of which are utterly adorable. Rather than bothering with shades or gradients, Mice Tea’s sprites make use of flat colors that cause the characters to pop against the soft pastel backgrounds. There are dozens of unique outfits across the cast, and many of them are so stylish or informative of the characters that I have already saved them in my ‘outfit references’ folder.

The decision to have a single base pose for each character and a flurry of different arm positions is a downright ingenious way to get more mileage out of character sprites. It’s a great idea that I have seen before, but never on this level or with this many variations. And I think the nicest thing I could say about the character designs is that every new TF, outfit, or minor character sprite felt like a treat and incentive to keep playing.

Audrey Rinoa Page (a.k.a. HeartGear), provided the backgrounds, and they are absolutely gorgeous. I’ve actually been following her (on and off) since the Material Girl days, and her backgrounds capture many things that I have admired about her artwork. But most especially, her mastery of shading and ability to make even innocuous places seem beautiful. The lack of any dark outlines around objects or hard blacks in general. The slight lavender accent applied to shadows and what would otherwise be white surfaces. And the level of detail that makes every location feel lived in. Like they’re places where you could relax, cuddle up with a good book, or just take a nap. Even crime alley!

Re.Alice handled the GUI, which oozes with class and confidence across every asset. The simplicity and elegant design of the text box and name boxes. The carefully chosen blend of turquoise and a soft beige across the menus. Or the gracefully elaborate flourishings and borders of what could be simple circles and rectangles.

As for how these assets were used, I was impressed. Character expressions and arm positions movements are frequent and add further character to the script. While movements across the stage are kept low beyond transitions, the inclusion of simple sitting and dashing animations does a lot to make the characters feel like they’re part of this world. And while the game only truly surprised me with its presentation a few times, I was floored when it did.

From panning up to reveal a second set of characters in the rafters overhead, to having characters interrupting each other by throwing a competing text box on screen. It really showcases a level of care and effort to make the most of the tools available to the developers, without aiming for something unsustainable.

Similarly, I was impressed by the sound design. The SFX library features a wealth of little noises and effects that do a lot to make the world feel more realized and tangible in a way that most players won’t notice by design. While the soundtrack by Will “Ultigonio” Bowerman doubles as a collection of fresh beats to read, write, and study to, and does a vital job of establishing the tones of certain scenes. It’s got chipper beats for walking down the avenues, somber melodies that hit at many of the game’s emotional peaks, and tracks that are practically wet with dread.

Sadly, with only 23 unique tracks that average about 90 seconds, there’s not quite enough music to go around for my taste. (This 90 second figure is based on the in-game files, extracted using Unren, not the official soundtrack, Mice OSTea.) But I guess that’s the price you gotta pay for a crowdfunded VN like this.

Lastly, we have the CGs which… I was putting off because I know I can’t be gushing about this. In regard to sheer volume, Mice Tea’s CG library is well beyond that of most other visual novels, period. Its multiple CG artists are all great artists in their own right, and some of the stuff that they produced for this game is simply excellent. However, because there is so much artwork, from so many sources, developed over the span of 4 years, the quality is not the most consistent.

Sometimes the proportions look off. Sometimes the coloring or shading shifts between two back to back CGs in a way where I had to do a double take to make sure they were drawn by the same artists. Sometimes images look like they were banged out in a day and never went in for revisions or another round of TLC. And… it doesn’t always feel like the artists are working off of the same style guide.

This one comparative nitpick aside, I think Mice Tea’s presentation is a gosh darn triumph. The simple fact that the team was able to produce so much art of such high quality on such a low budget is a testament to their skill and dedication. And it is definitely going to be part of my mental reference book when reviewing other VNs in the future.


Mice Tea is a game that does an excellent job at just about everything it sets out to do. The writing is polished, funny, and filled with personality. Its understanding of the subject of transformation is strong to the point where it genuinely surprised me in many ways. Its cast are a lovable bunch who are given thorough and detailed explorations across their routes. Its routes are pleasantly diverse, giving each one a distinct flavor. And its production values are a strong reminder of everything a visual novel can be and the power of artistically led projects like this. 

There were definitely some things that didn’t resonate with me, a few things that I thought could be better handled, and just barely misses the mark on becoming an all-time favorite. But, taken as a whole, Mice Tea is a deeply special game. I am immensely thankful that it exists. And if you are a transformation fan, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

…That’s about everything, but I have one fun fact that I wasn’t able to squeeze into the review. One of the lead members of the development team, Gunzil, is a former Student Transfer development team member who was inspired to work on his own game. So, in a roundabout sense, the open and communal nature of Student Transfer helped lead to the creation of Mice Tea. This is not too surprising, but the connections actually run a bit deeper as Eliza Velasquez, a co-founder of the Student Transfer development team, actually did some programming work on Mice Tea. And yes, she is the same Eliza Velasquez who worked on OneShot.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Tasnica

    Looks like a rather charming game! Thanks for the review.

  2. Lula

    Great review! Your experience largely mirrored mine, and it’s great to hear someone else enjoyed Sylvia’s path as much as I did.

    As someone whose spouse’s recent death from cancer ended a several-year life of caregiving, Gavin’s storyline hit me very differently than I think it would for most readers. The process of feeling out the new normal, improving accessibility for the disabled party, managing an imbalanced power dynamic, and finding new ways to experience intimacy hit incredibly close to home for me. That perspective makes the “stay small” ending feel even more uncomfortable for me, but the way Gavin earnestly stepped up to the plate to support his friend really endeared me to his character. Even more so, Margaret’s struggles through her day-to-day as a mouse hit even harder — the image of her being limited to bingeing tv shows while Gavin worked the tea shop echoed my spouse’s experience being couch-ridden during chemo.

    This was my first VN in years, and I bought it on a lark because I felt compelled to in a way I still wouldn’t be able to explain now. But it came along at the perfect time and truly helped me when I was at my lowest. Its depiction of building emotional intimacy and powerful connections with others through extraordinary circumstances gave me hope for my future that nothing else could have. Whoda thunk?

    1. Natalie Neumann

      Wow. That is a type of connection that I’m sure the folks at Cinnamon Switch would love to hear about. ^^

      Gavin’s storyline is one that will inevitably register as different things to different people. I am fortunate enough that I have not to assist a disabled family member, so that wasn’t really my first reference point for the route. However, for my criticisms of the route, I will say that Gavin was a class act and great friend from start to finish.

      It always surprises me when games like this manage to touch people on a deeper level like this, even though it really shouldn’t. People are always in varying states within their lives, and you never know what person from what background will decide to check out your work. For as much emphasis as there is on the ‘target audience’ it is always possible that a work will resonate more strongly with someone outside of that audience. :D