Category: Visual Novels

Fatal Hearts – Guest review

The best Christmas gift is getting out of writing the day’s post! Enjoy a videogame review instead.


Fatal Hearts

“Probably not a dating sim” my sister writes to me as her endorsement. Technically true, but by a narrow margin.
For most of it, I felt it was decent. I didn’t find anything overtly objectionable about the writing and overall plot direction for the first half or so. I am glad that it tends to give me choices to do what I would conceivably do in real life, were I in the same situation…usually.(Spoilers for the rest.)

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Cinders – Guest review

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. From the game’s blurb, I expected lots of interactivity and a deeper exploration of the situation presented in the original fairy tale, and that’s exactly what I got. The writing is solid, the characters are believable, and the plot is a delicious mix of moral nuance and deep characterization spiced with a
dash of political intrigue. The whole thing looks very professional – the music is nice and the art is gorgeous. There’s a lot of interactivity, too. Cinders isn’t a complete blank slate, but her personality is malleable enough that I really feel that I have a good deal of agency in the story. I’d even say that her character hits that excellent balance where her few preset traits serve only to enhance the depth of the choices.

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Long Live The Queen – Guest review

Long Live The Queen

“Enjoy your princess raising sim & try not to get her killed too quick!” is my sister’s encouraging message for this game.

You play as Elodie, the crown princess of the kingdom, whose mother has just died. She is still too young to inherit, however, and so must wait a year before she can assume the crown.

Unfortunately for you, things get complicated fast.
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Exogenesis demo – Guest Review

I found this visual novel on Kickstarter and tried out the demo. Supposedly, the game is heavily inspired by the Ace Attorney and Zero Escape series. I have mixed feelings toward both, but it seemed like the problems I have with them (plotlessness and bizarre over-the-top pseudoscience mindscrews, respectively) wouldn’t be present from the blurb I read. (more…)

Ever17 (Guest Review)

I see what you mean about drowning women on cover art, Farla.

I heard people on the internet say this was a good game so I checked out an LP. I really should have learned my lesson after Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors, especially because it was recommended by people who liked Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors and was cowritten by the guy who wrote Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors, but here we are. At least my bad habits generate angry reviews for your entertainment.

Ever17 is not a good game, or a good story, or a good anything. I do think, however, it could easily reach “so bad it’s good” territory, because the plot is hilarious. (more…)

Depression Quest

Depression Quest is a short but wordy browser game. I’d strongly recommend it, with the caveat that it should be avoided if reading about someone trapped in a depressive spiral sounds like it’d just get you depressed.

The degree to which it’s a “game” is pretty limited, but it works as a narrative you get invested in. At each page, you read another bit of the story, followed by picking several choices. Eventually, you reach the end. Depending on how depressed the character is, some or even most of the choices will be unavailable. This limits your impact on what happens, but I thought it was a really striking illustration – after picking several bad options to find out what would happen, I ended up trapped for a while with no options but to plod along miserably to the next section and hope eventually things would get better. I felt the writing did a wonderful job of conveying how the character felt – this isn’t a dramatic story, but an ordinary one of an ordinary person surrounded by other ordinary people who don’t understand what’s happening or know the right solution. And I liked how it struck a balance of not having easy solutions while still showing that there was hope.

Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem (Guest Review)

Hello, Dragon Quill! This is Ember with a guest review!

Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem is what the developer calls a political fantasy/otome VN, but I personally like to refer to it as a diplomacy simulator. You play a young noblewoman from one of seven kingdoms (well, one of six, really — one of the titular kingdoms isn’t playable) who’s been sent to an international summit to foster peace between the nations. Part of that peace-fostering process involves intermarriage, which is where the otome/romance element comes in. But there’s a lot more to do on Vail Isle than scout out a future spouse (or paramour): there are mysteries you can solve, secrets you can uncover, and a world-alteringly important diplomatic process you can attempt to influence for personal gain, the good of your nation, or the continued peace and prosperity of the known world. (more…)

Nachtigal

nachtigal

This was haunting, but not in a good way. I got an anti-rec for this on the basis that it involves two very white vampires menacing a dark-skinned girl while saying her skin color probably means she doesn’t even taste good and implying that there is normally no one in Europe who isn’t snow-colored, and the race issues turned out to be the least horrible part.

This is a free game, so…I guess check it out if you want to play what amounts to Wither: The Visual Novel.

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ERROR: Human Not Found

ERROR: Human Not Found is a murder mystery visual novel about a murdered AI. You play as one of the researchers involved in the AI’s development, and team up with another AI to investigate the mystery. It’s free and you can pick it up on Steam here.

As I’ve said in previous reviews, this is right up my alley. I’m a huge fan of transhumanism and emergent humanity, and sapient AI is a great topic for that. Unfortunately, the story is just a bargain-bin of cliches that adds nothing interesting to the conversation. The AIs are all just humans wearing robot hats, and the plot has all the depth of a Saturday morning cartoon.

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