A few short visual novels that I played recently between larger games:


There’s some good stuff there, but it didn’t quite click for me. It’s about a woman who had a key role in what I think was a skunkworks project in a tech company, who left and disappeared for a few years, and who has re-emerged, poking at her former project in an unusual way. Which is an interesting premise; but ultimately I thought it didn’t come together.

I actually kind of wish Eliza had been a little less interactive, at least in one key way. The game leads up to a big choice where you have to decide from five significantly different ways you want the protagonist to respond. And, tracing back, the game had to make those five different ways feel plausible, which in turn meant that the designers had to leave the main character be a bit of a cipher? Whereas I felt that she was potentially pretty interesting, so I think I’d have preferred a game where I’d gotten to understand her better.

Or maybe it’s just that I didn’t like those final choices. Because those five choices consisted of three choices of the form “the protagonist will do what this or that NPC wants her to do”, one choice of the form “the protagonist will do thing X that she wants to do”, and one choice that was basically a shrug. The first three choices made very little sense to me: some of them made no sense whatsoever, and while I could imagine one of them making a sense if it was supported well, it wasn’t supported well. I wanted to make the choice where the protagonist did thing X that she wanted to do, but I wasn’t actually convinced at all that that specific path is what she wanted to go down. (I wish there had been three different choices of doing different things that she wanted to do and only one choice of her doing what somebody else wanted; if that had been the options, I suspect I would have found that one of the choices for her to act would have made sense.) So I ended up with the fifth choice; unsurprisingly, it wasn’t satisfying, either.

It did come with a good solitaire game, though. And the main character and setting were potentially pretty neat, and I liked the visual design and voice acting! Ah well…


Not sure if calling this a visual novel is quite right, to be honest, but it is a very narrative-heavy game. And it’s rather good: charming, but also meaningful? The protagonist is visiting her grandfather in a small island town; and it turns out that that’s a pretty good way to get at some real stuff around interpersonal relationships, around worries and pains and recovery. And the mixing in of supernatural stuff and the art style both worked for me, too. Quite glad that I played it.


I started off kind of cool on this game: the writing was trying too hard, the first-person navigation during the interludes didn’t really work for me, and I don’t think I’ve ever had my iPad heat up before. But I turned around on the game in the second half; it’s a game about a group of misfits dealing with personal issues, and it works pretty well as that?

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