In a world doomed by individualism, a young man is sent to live in a state-run commune with equal number of men and women. Now that doesn't sound like a typical love story, and it isn't—from the get go, it's obvious that Anomie has greater ambitions than just telling a story of what happened to Quentin after he arrived at the camp.
On his way to the camp, Quentin meets a girl who is quite distressed about being taken from her family and her previous life, having to take part in the experiment. Later they talk though a ventilation shaft, with Quentin hesitant to support her over fear of being watched. Soon enough, Quentin is assigned to a group of four—two boys and two girls—with whom he shares assigned duties. Two of them are content or even happy with the situation, while one of the girls, Lorelei, is keen to get to the bottom of things. Though they don't like each other much, Quentin and Lorelei team up to investigate the premises.
With the pacing being just right, you're always wondering what will happen next. For the studio's first work, Anomie gets a lot of things right—the characters are well-written and believable, Quentin and Lorelei slowly growing closer is nicely done, presentation is minimalistic but on-point, making good use of the soundtrack.
Despite having this amazing Orwell-meets-Golding premise, Anomie gradually neglects its plot in favour of its characters and themes, burying the latter half of its dramatic arc in narrative smoke and mirrors. While this is obviously the writer's choice, and the bittersweet ending we get is not bad in itself, being the pedestrian reader I am I would rather see the premise and setting fully fleshed out in a traditional story. (It worked well enough for Swan Song.)
Overall, I enjoyed reading Anomie and would recommend it, especially if you're interested in psychology or philosophy—if you're in for the dystopian plot, you might not get out of it as much. In any case, I'm looking forward to more games from the studio, it looks promising!
There are more things wandering through the night than citizens of Midgard care to admit. Only a fool would stay outside—or a walkerman, one of them who keep The Weird at bay with their wit and blade. Jorgen is a young boy starting out in this dangerous trade, continuing the family tradition.
- The story (satisfying story arcs building up to a larger narrative)
- The characters (well-written and complex)
- The atmosphere (graphics, music and worldbuilding make the world come alive)
- The tabletop combat (just like a pen-and-paper RPG)
- The ending song
I didn't care for...
- The tiresome exposition (in Act 1)
- The difficult prose (it can be needlessly purple or incomprehensible)
VerdictOn the outside, Walkerman looks like a typical fantasy adventure, but its melticulous writing and great production values set it apart. As of Act 2, I cannot tell if the main storyline pays off, but it's been well worth playing so far, despite some presentation issues. Definitely recommended.
Being a nine-time widow herself, Miss Fortune is no stranger to sudden death of men around her. But this time, she had nothing to do with it – and the real killer is trying to frame her as the culprit. Two hours remain until the police arrives at the scene. Time to question all guests of the late host, gather evidence and expose the murderer – or someone else to take the fall.
- The cast (Miss Fortune steals the show as the charismatic anti-hero, other characters also have fun personalities)
- The spoken dialogue (the game really comes alive thanks to its brisk script and good voice acting—it's fully voiced!)
- The endings (while the mystery is not very complex, a case can be made against anyone—and the game lets you run with it, even if you don't uncover the whole truth)
I didn't care for...
- The confused sensibilites (the high-society private party evokes late 19th/early 20th century, if not for the hacker girl in shorts and crop top)
VerdictI enjoyed MMM: Murder Most Misfortunate for its humor, lively cast and delightful Miss Fortune, which I'd love to see in a sequel or another story. The voice acting really fits and takes the game to the next level, even if the plot itself probably leaves something to be desired to the dedicated Agatha Christie fan. To a more casual player (like myself), I can highly recommend it.
Aspen has always been a pushover. When she invited her friends to stay at her place however, she didn't imagine Pippa would literally push her into the abandoned house next door. Maybe it's just her bad luck, like when she found the old lady dead a few months back, in this very house. Or maybe her friends... just aren't. But Aspen is not the only one in there. After meeting a mysterious girl Althea in the dark, Aspen has to uncover who she is.
- The atmosphere (the writing, music and art really come together to create a moody atmosphere of night and being lost in life)
- The characters (typically for Ebi-hime, we get to look into main character's head more than in some other VNs)
- The story (while short, it does reach a satisfying ending)
VerdictDespite its name, Rituals in the Dark isn't a horror, but a moody romantic story. It's beautifully produced and I enjoyed reading it, just don't expect a novel-length work. Definitely recommended.
Young Ethani finds herself washed up on unfamiliar shore. There is a Lighthouse, a beacon for those who have lost their way, its Keeper tells her. What happened to Ethani? And will she find her way after leaving this mystical place?
- The concept (the story is first told backwards as a kinetic novel, and then from the beginning, where the player can try and reach a better outcome—I really enjoyed that)
- The choices (Ethani has some tough decisions to make, which keep the story interesting; also the game overall is easy to navigate, since you can see in which direction each choice leads)
- The characters
- The art and music
I didn't care for...
- The tonal shifts (at times, the game drops into chibi comedic scenes or grimdark tragic teritorry, with little subtlety)
- The leaps of logic (a few plot points just don't feel very realistic, in my opinion)
VerdictThe melancholic Lighthouse of Guiding Flames is not the perfect visual novel, but it's an interesting one. The story can take you in very different directions depending on what choices you make, and some flaws of the plot do not take away from the message or overall experience. Recommended.
In this game, we follow Cas, a young man suddenly reunited with his ex-girlfriend Maia, who left him without a word three years ago. Thanks to his best friend Ava, the two meet again—and what's more, Maia has some important business in town, so she will be staying at Cas' place for a while. And neither girl will tell him what is going on...
- The characters (except for Cas' sleazy colleague, who's really one dimensional, and not in a good dimension)
- The plot (it's simple, but doesn't overstay its welcome)
- The setting (it deals with entering the adult life; not the stereotypical highschool setting)
- The look and feel (nice artwork and music)
I didn't care for...
- The H-scenes (I don't think they contribute much to the story, esp. with Maia)
VerdictCompared to Sickness, an earlier Zetsubou title which I both loved and hated at different points, My Heart Grows Fonder is a less ambitious, but far more well-rounded experience. It's not groundbreaking, but I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it if you're looking for a romance with slightly older characters.
Barely keeping up with college and her family, Lilya spends most of her time with on-line friends in virtual reality. When she gets invited to test a new VR device, she doesn't think twice about it. The new technology is said to feel more real than reality itself, and meeting its inventor Jacob Lessard may be good for her career—that's what her dad is saying, anyway. Lilya is just curious, and nothing could prepare her for what she's about to experience...
- The characters (they feel like actual people; well-written and relatable)
- The choices (the game really makes you think)
- The look and feel (the game is well polished)
VerdictI thoroughly enjoyed Reality for its satisfying story and intriguing ideas. Definitely recommended.
In a world doomed by individualism, a young man is sent to live in a state-run commune with equal number of men and women. Now that doesn...
Aspen has always been a pushover. When she invited her friends to stay at her place however, she didn't imagine Pippa would literally pu...
Barely keeping up with college and her family, Lilya spends most of her time with on-line friends in virtual reality. When she gets invited ...