A downloadable Visual Novel for Windows, macOS, and Linux

Update July 5 2023:

Fixed some errors in the voice files.

Paris and Ash have been forced to close their restaurants and sail to New Trinity after their hometown becomes little more than a rundown hunk of grass floating in the sea, thanks to the king and his taxes. They need money quick, and find an advertisement for a job requiring a guild to escort someone to the capital city. Join the adventure as two best friends fake their way through a get rich quick scheme and end up loving the consequences. Literally?

Become Ash and customize their gender, pronoun, look, voice, and background

Different backgrounds means you can play all 3 romantic routes 2 different ways

An emotion-based choice system, with hints you can turn on and off. 

30 CGs.

A full original soundtrack, which is available on soundcloud

An immersive, 98,000 word adventure about friendship and honesty (or lack there of) 

8 endings, and other unlockable scenes and content 

Make the game yours by choosing the main menu screen! 

Full voice acting!

Accessibility: You can change the font from the main menu.


Descriptions of intimacy

Brief nudity

Minor drug and alcohol content


Meet the voices who bring these characters to life

(Full list available in end credits)

Elissa Parks  

Christian O'Boyle

 Dani Chambers

Justin Sabio

Tony Onorific

Belsheber Rusape

 Joshua Waters

 Minh Ton (@minhyva)

Trina Deuhart

Joe Goffney

Arther Tisseront

De Voice

Olivia Steele VO

Current version: 4.5

Update July 5 2023:

The Pretenders Guild is now fully voiced! There are some minor audio issues that will be taken care of in the upcoming weeks.

Follow The Pretenders Guild tumblr for updates on voice acting and CGs.

Story, Art, Music, Programming: Harlevin Studios

Note: None of Paris's lines are voice acted in chapter 5.

Guide Start



Choose the shika emblem for your guild (the one with horns)

Name your guild "Guild"

Chocolate cake


Choose the cubi emblem for your guild (the one with bunny ears)

Carrot bread


Choose the reaver emblem for your guild (the one with three points)

Don't read the letter

#Chapter 1


I hate rats - Gentle [Well, I wasn't expecting that...]

What are you doing out here? - Flirty [Anyway, I was looking for you / I was looking for you of course!]


I need the room for a little while - Angry [Yeay, yeah, I got it.]

Who are you? - Flirty [Who am I?]


Bring me something to drink - Logical [Ah...]

Do I look feminine to you? - Yes [ I do]

I need a distraction - Angry [Okay, stop!]

Nevermind... - Gentle [It doesn't take a genius to know he wants to ask me something]

#Chapter 2


Where is he going? - Gentle [Eh...]


We'll just have to share - Flirty [Ooh, looks like I might have some sweet dreams after all!]


It's your job to protect me, so... - Logical [It's all right, I have to go, too.]

Should we go right? - No [Uhhhh]

#Chapter 3


What should I say - Funny [I clap for him, letting out a few cheers]

Did I say something funny? - Gentle [I shake my head, unwrapping the necklace and freeing it]

Let's make a play - Flirty [I look over at Rafael, sliding closer to him]


What should I say? - Flirty [...You know...I think your scars are hot]

Let's make a play - Funny [Ooh, Paris and I can be the leads! We'll be furious rivals in a race against time!


Forget this ever happened - Gentle [There's no way I'm going to just let Braums cry in his room alone.]

Do you...like plays? - Flirty [Why Lord Braums, are you inviting me out?]

Let's make a play - Logical [I'll be the writer and director!]

#Chapter 4


... - Logical [Difficult

Was I incorrect? - Gentle [I-I mean, um...I wasn't...I didn't...]


Does the fact that you were paying attention mean you're interested? - Flirty [I make a valiant effort to wipe the look of terror off my face, covering it up with a smirk]

How to proceed... - Logical [Welp, there's bound to be tons of berries and mushrooms around nearby. That'll do!]


I should say something to cheer him up - Logical [Look, I would happily vouch for you.]

I don't want to let you all down - Gentle [Braums, you're going to be a great king]

#Chapter 5


Then Braums comes to me - Gentle [Despite how queasy this whole thing is making me feel, I'm really glad he's okay. I'm glad we all are.]

Braums is kissing me - Flirty [The complicated thoughts that had been swirling around in my head are immediately gone in favor of thoughts exclusively for the Reaver sharing my blanket.]


Paris kissed me - Flirty [No...]

I feel - Logical [You know Paris...I feel like a terrible person, but I keep thinking.]

PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux
Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars
(502 total ratings)
GenreVisual Novel, Interactive Fiction
Made withRen'Py
TagsCharacter Customization, Gay, LGBT, Otome, Ren'Py, Romance, Voice Acting, Yaoi
Average sessionAbout an hour
InputsKeyboard, Mouse
AccessibilityOne button


The Pretenders Guild 1.9 GB

Install instructions

If you find any typos or bugs, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at aferalcircus@gmail.com!

Development log

View all posts


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Viewing most recent comments 1 to 40 of 142 · Next page · Last page

Everything past chapter 3 has np sound, anyone else having that issue?


the dialogue flowed so nicely, the characters were all so lovable, and the overall storyline was so fun!!! this was really really good, i adore rafael fr ... 

this is amazing, i actually love this soo much!!! i never ever comment on anything but this is just too good. the voice acting is amazing, i'm obsessed, everyone is so talented. honestly, the art style i am not fond of but i grew to like it and i absolutely love paris' character!!! thank you for making this

Hello people! I would like to ask a question, what platforms is this game available for? because I have an Android phone and the download button does not appear (For any platform, there is simply no button) thank you very much ♡

hello! It was an error on my part, the button should be visible now. The game is available on Mac, windows, and Linux. 

Thank you so much!♡

The download button for pretenders guild is not popping up anymore for windows.

thank you for letting me know! It should be fixed now. 

hii !! love this game, but with braums i dont get the option to read the letter is that just me? <3

hi! Thanks so much for playing ^^ can you please elaborate on your issue? You can send screenshots to harlevinvns@gmail.com and I’ll figure out what’s going on 😊

it worked when i tried again later so its okay <33 tho i have another question, theres one cg that i havent gotten and its the 8th one on the 2nd page, how do i get that one? <33

I’ll look into this!


This looks like a Braums CG, you will get this one just by playing his route!

ahh thats weird cuz i did his route first and also played it again with another "species"(?) to see how it would change some points in the story, is it perhaps a "bad" ending gc or something? <3

Hmm it should be just in the route! Can you please post a screenshot, so I can make sure I'm checking the right one? Also, what version are you playing? It should be in the name of the download.

genuinely one of the best otome games I've played (and ive played probably too many)

I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much! Thank you for playing 😊

I really had fun playing this game but Paris and Rafael voices would randomly decrease.

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only in ch 1 so far, & i'm loving the humor. i adore paris but i had to pick rafeal cause he's so dang hot. 

though looking at the comments, i'm a little concerned: if there's nothing in this that's nsfw, why did it come up in an nsfw search? i also saw a comment saying that there was nsfw stuff in celestial crowns, which i also found in this search & played, but i saw nothing in that which was nsfw either. i've barely found anything on the entire search page that is nsfw at all... it's making me doubt the trustworthiness of itch.io's search function, & possibly the tags on any of these games


hello! Thanks for playing. Celestial crowns is rated nsfw for content that will be in future chapters. I thought it best to add the tags now even though there is no nsfw content in the demo. The pretenders guild has a tag for adult content due to some romantic scenes later in chapter five. They’re not explicit but I wanted to be safe. 

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Hello Harlevin,

I'm writing to let you know "Harlevin" and "The Pretenders Guild" isn't showing up in the itch.io search function. For "Harlevin", it says "No results found" whereas it simply does not list "The Pretenders Guild" at all. It does show up using a search engine under "The Pretenders Guild" + "site: itch.io". Thought I should let you know.

I just checked all your titles and "Celestial Crowns" doesn't show up in the search lists either. The rest do (Arena Circus, Lilith Hall, Mnemonic Devices).

Edited to add: "The Pretenders Guild" doesn't show-up in the game tag lists either. So checking "otome", "character customization", etc, it isn't listed in any of them.

Hello, thanks for bringing this to my attention! I checked and it does come up when I search, but only if I'm logged in. I'm going to contact itch.io support and see if I can find the issue.

You're quite welcome. :)

I was logged-in when I searched. I just searched again now while logged-in and it's still not showing up for me. Not your creator name "Harlevin" nor "The Pretenders Guild" nor is "Celestial Crowns". I tried searching while logged-out too to make certain, no dice. I don't know if you can find them through the search function because you're the creator or if perhaps something is going wrong on my end. Maybe having someone else check too would be useful.

Good luck!



sadly not, if you want NSFW, get Lust doll. It's a great game, but only has two named male characters.


no problem!


Hah! Not this time, BUT in my next game, you can expect some spicy nsfw scene. you can follow it here: https://harlevin.itch.io/celestial-crowns



I have a question. I really like Rafael and was wondering how to do the romance path for him. I'm already playing as the shika race (and have ash saying that he's hot) and have done the scene on the boat where you help him catch rats, but beyond that, I have no idea what to do.


In this game, it's not always the direct flirty or romance options that will get you on their route. Each character has a specific type of personality trait that they respond well to, and you will know based on the sparkles that show when picking the right one


Okay, thanks for the info. As I'm blind, I probably won't be able to figure out the personality traits thing very easily. That's why I was asking for a guide or something. If you don't mind that is. If not, that's alright. I still enjoy the game, so I'll keep playing regardless. And thanks for getting back to me so quickly.

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oh you are blind? I'm sorry for not reading your previous comment first. unfortunately there isn't an official guide. I'm sorry I don't think the developer made this fully considering possible issues with sight impaired people, since they purposely, added those visual effects to make it obvious you are choosing the right answers. So simply put Rafael tends to respond well towards smart personality and only can romance in shika or cubi races. Paris tends to respond well towards flirty personality and only can romance in cubi or reaver races. Lastly Braums (aka the rich guy) tends to respond well towards nice personality and only can be romance in shika and reaver races.

Unfortunately I don't have the time to give you the specific personality trait that works for each situation, but in my summary when I say "tends", that suggests that those specific personality traits work most the time, you may have to just experiment a bit to get the right choice for certain situations. My advice in those situations is think what would truly work best when listening to the dialogue while also considering the personality of the character. I hope this helps and maybe someone will right you a guide on here.


That actually might help a bit (personality traits I can definitely experiment with). So far, I've gotten the Broms route (I think I spelled that right). Thanks for the help.


Hello, I'm so sorry I didn't see this post sooner! Let me know if you are still interested in a guide, and I will happily put one together for you.


I am having lots of fun with this game. I've gotten to chapter 3 and am really enjoying how the story changes depending on which race you have Ash as. As a blind player, I'd like to say that accessibility with blind-user programs does work in case someone asks about that. There are a few buttons that give me trouble sometimes, but there's ways around that (saving a lot and trying out options). I really love the story and a lot of the interactions are very funny and keep the story interesting. So glad it's voice acted too cause that definitely enhances the experience.

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love this game sm !!!! the writing is great and funny and kept making me smile :] and i rlly rlly like how ash feels like their own fleshed out character while also having customizable traits ash is suuuuuuch a good mc. ive only gotten one of the endings (spoiler: it was the bad ending w/ paris getting stabbed and i honestly have NO idea what i did wrong LOLLLL so if anyone has any insight thatd be appreciated) but i cant wait to check out the other endings :]

Hi! Thanks so much for playing. I've just updated this page with a guide to the good endings. :)


I should take the time to write down a proper review at some point, but for now-- I just need to say that I lose my shit in Ch. 1  when Rafael says "I'm sorry about your tough childhood, Paris," every. single. time.

Thank you so much for the game! One of the best and my favorite!


Is there no download button on this page or am i just dumb?


I was in the middle of posting an update and had some technical difficulties, should be good now!


Hello!  I have played only a few hours and love it so far! One thing is that the voice lines for Paris and Rafael are a bit too quiet for me to hear... I would suspect my hearing issues but I can hear Ash's lines just fine, I am just letting you know for future updates.


Such a super fun game! I'm looking forward to playing all of the routes. I spent a little over three hours enjoying Rafael's, and I adore him so much! The plot of this story is fun, the music is relaxing, the art is beautiful and the twists are delightful. 100/10!

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uh hiii, can I ask how to get Rafael's route? I just started and am currently at Braums' route, but it bugs me that I can't choose Rafael's at the part where you'll choose the route at first. I'm about to die in anxiety '-' whasudguswa jk. Should I finish the 2 routes first before getting his? or smthg like that? 

edit: oh gosh, I just read the comments on how to get Rafael's route, and sorry for bothering you shuwiefh, man I just realized that I should use my eyes more than my, uh, hands (it'd be much weirder if I typed mouth when I'm only typing using my hands so yeh excuse me '-').


Haha it's okay, Martinez! And thank you L. Boucher!

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This game is great! I had a wonderful time playing it. Thank you so much for creating it and making it available. The whole cast was really enjoyable in their scenes together, and I particularly enjoyed Braums and Rafael.

I downloaded the game two days ago, and I am completely O B S E S S E D, I finished two Paris' endings (he's my favorite character) and one for each Braums and Rafael. I've finished endings: 2, 4, 5, and 7 at the moment, but I want to finish all of them! 

The characters are amazing and so funny, the romance is really well done, and I loved all the voices! 

Honestly, I'm so happy I discovered this, you made such an amazing game! Congrats! And I'll be playing more of your games in the future! 

hi! the description mentions 96k words, is that only for the current chapters(1+2) or will that be the count with all chapters combined? 


hi! The game is currently complete, that is the total word count. ^^ 

It’s just that only the first two chapters are voiced. Thanks for your interest! 


Just played Paris and Raphael's route, love it. Raphael is best boy and I will ship Ash and him together until I die

Hi I may not understand something but for some reason when I get to choose a route I can't choose Raphael.

Hello, only cubi and shika ash can romance Rafael. If you choose reaver in the beginning, his route is locked. 

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Oh, thanks for help

Hi I really love the game but I got a quick question. Where do the sparkles to show I have made a good choice appear

Hi! Thanks for playing. The sparkles will appear in the center of the screen, but only if the choice affects the route you’re currently on. There are no sparkles in the intro because you won’t have chosen a route yet. 

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really enjoyed this visual novel. And, goodness gracious the soundtrack! It blows my mind that you guys created it, it's so whack! (in a good way haha). I'm not very comfortable with, uh, intimate stuff but I'd be lying if I said that the story wasn't good. A great balance between comedy, romance, and all that good chiz. For what it's worth, I give you two thumbs up! (or two happy dudes?)         ٩(๑・ิᴗ・ิ)۶٩(・ิᴗ・ิ๑)۶


aaaah i stumbled across this this afternoon and i'm in looooove. thank you so much for this, it was amazing!! and thank you for the many different customisation options for Ash! i'm gonna let my first playthrough settle and then i'll be straight back in there trying a different route <3 <3

- also love the voice acting!! so i'm def looking forward to re-playing it when all the voice acting is done :D

I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much! I hope to bring more voiced chapters soon!

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omg i've ignored all of my chores to play this game literally all night! my husband is not pleased lol

I've only done rafael's two endings but I'm excited to play more! how many pieces of content can be unlocked? I see that on the main menu there is a little rafael icon that has lit up, but there are still 4 out of 6 scenes locked when I click on it.


Thank you so much for this game! Are you planning on any future works? <33


thank YOU for playing! Am I planning future works! Always! There are those six scenes, some early sketches, and a special letter you can unlock. ^^

I always look forward to the voiced chapters, one of my fav dating sims ever. qvq <3




amazing game but it would be nice if we could rewatch the tutorial or at least something to remember what each symbols for the choices mean

Hello, the tutorial is the first CG in the gallery of the voiced version! I thought it was in the unvoiced as well but I will double check on that. 

This was so fun to play! I liked that we can customize Ash's gender and pronouns too. All of the characters were lovable but Rafael was such a sweetheart. I got all of the endings except number 3 because I can't seem to figure out how to get it. The art was also really pretty and it's great that we can customize the main menu background too. This is a pretty solid game and it helped me get through a tough time. So thank you for this, can't wait for more! I'll be sure to check out your other games too because I'm sure they'll be as great. Lots of love! <333

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This game plays like a DnD session where all of the players love puns and references. And I love it. I am HERE for it.

Edit: I can't figure out how to get two of the endings??? 3 and 8 are out of my reach. Help???

hello! 3 is I believe a good ending with Braums as a shika, and 8 is unlocked after viewing all the extra scenes (unlocked by getting the “best” ending with Rafael as a shika) 

Sorry for the late response!

Ah, thank you!


That was amazing! I've had this game on my "want to play" list for a while now, and I'm so glad I finally got to playing it. 

I decided to give the voiced version a shot. I was kind of surprised by the many voice options for Ash, and the plan was to try all of them out with different races but I just completely fell in love with Ash's 2nd voice option (Christian O'Boyle did an amazing job with it, I'd love to hear him voice more of the game in the future!). The customization element was super fun, and I liked the details that changed along with different backstories. 

Ash was an amazing protagonist. The interactions with all of the love interests were just pure gold. It's hard to even choose a fave to be honest lol And the romantic scenes too... The writing was really good! I couldn't help myself from smiling while going through it. I think Reaver Ash might've been my fave, but I may be bias because that's the first one I went with lol Also I just have to mention this.... Rafael spanking Paris absolutely cracked me up. xD

The only real issue I noticed was the different voice volumes? Paris and Rafael especially were hard to hear sometimes (even tho I had all of them at the same volume, and turned down my music volume), which is a pity because they also had really interesting voices :( 

Overall I had lots of fun getting all the endings and cgs! I wish I played this sooner, purely because of how fun it was lol I think I might replay it  once more voiced chapters come out for Ash #2.... lmao  Totally recommend! 

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Please help I'm stupid. When I go to choose a route, I can't choose Paris' route for some reason. It's dark, while Rafael and Braums' are lit up. I was wondering if I chose something that made me unable to do his route. Could you please explain what I did wrong? Q~Q

I'm a shika cisgender girl, I've tried saying both 'yes' and 'no' to cheating on the boat,  I gave him melon bread, called Rafael 'Fai', didn't snoop through Braums' private information and didn't get mad at Braums for forgetting my name.

Oh, great game, by the way. Love the character customization!

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You get specific routes based on what race you choose ,for example shika lets you play in rafael and braums route but not paris,if you choose cubi you will get rafael and paris but not braums and ect.


Oh, ok, I get it now! Thanks!

no problem

hmm idk if it's just me, but the voices haven't shown up at all??  i just downloaded this game a couple days ago, so i'm not entirely sure if the files have been fixed yet.  if not, then feel free to ignore this comment :))

Hello! Double check which file you downloaded, and know that only the first 2 chapters plus the intro are voiced. If you still have an issue please email me at aferalcircus@gmail.com

Hey! Idk if i missed it, but is there a guide anywhere?

No guide, sorry! But there are in game hints available. But if you're curious how to get a certain ending I'd be happy to help! 

I think i figured it out, but thank you for responding so quickly! Love the game! Might leave a review soon <3

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for playing ^^

I'm so sorry I don't understand so you are not finished with the game correct? is the reason being just the voicing or you are not actually done with the routes and such ? sorry I just get so confused :0

The game is complete! It's just the voice acting that's not fully implemented. It's done up to ch 1, ch 2 full voice will come soon!

ok thank you!

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