Visual Novels are a uniquely complicated genre to review, as they are so story heavy it is difficult to provide alot of information without divulging too many spoilers and ruining the experience of the game for potential players. With that in mind, this will be a short and sweet review, likely the shortest I have written.
As a Visual Novel, there aren’t any complicated controls or features. The only two control inputs you will need to concern yourself with are the buttons on your mouse. Left click to proceed with the dialogue/story, and the right click which brings up the menu where you can save, load, return to title, and change the system options.
(Optionally there are also:)
F to toggle full-screen mode
A to initiate auto-read mode
S to run skip mode
O enters one page display mode
Proceeding to start, you are provided with the option of prologue and story. The prologues, as the name would suggest, provides background details and rising tension for the main story, and in this mode there are no choices to be made.
Without giving too much away, the story is a supernatural school-life action genre, very much following classical tropes of it’s genre and will feel instantly familiar for any fans of anime, especially shonen anime. It follows the life-altering events of the protagonist Tenka Kurono, an average schoolboy who was adopted into a not so average family of rune-masters, who perform typical shrine duties as well as not so publicly eliminating dark creatures in secret. As you would expect, Tenka’s life does not stay normal for long and it is this transition which we are privy to in the novel.
Unlike most visual novels, Wish doesn’t actually pertain much in the way of choices, and the game designer in me wants to start a debate on its legitimacy to be called a game in this sense, but I’ll refrain. I personally really enjoy Visual Novels and walking games, and will defend them from similar criticism in conversation as they do follow at least minimum choice or interactive capabilities for me to do so. Even as a veteran VN player, Wish felt a bit arduous for me going into it as a game, and potential “players” may be better of going into the experience as a purely spectator stance.
With most Visual Novels scenes are used to break up the monotony of the novel, and whilst there are scenes in Wish, the design choice in using the entirety of the screen to display the text, rather than in a smaller dialogue box, makes the generic art and scene arts blend together into a long block over the course of the game.
The art style is under-average, though to be expected as a doujn style, low budget visual novel. The background art is filtered photos, which unfortunately are a bit too overdone in my opinion. Many Visual novels use similar assets to avoid high expenses, but the filters make the images so blurred in some scenes as to become a slight eye-sore. They also conflict occasionally with the text, making it difficult to read. Also, art style is a major contributor to the feel and finish of a visual novel game on top of the story, and with such little choice or things to do for the player, I think some more time/funds dedicated to this area would have greatly improved the overall quality of the game.
The music is greatly atmospheric, and the choices of what plays at which moments is very on-point. There are two nagging points in this area however, the first being that they are poorly looped, which again, may be less noticeable in another visual novel, but withthe lack of things to do and look at, every small thing is much more obvious to the player. The second is that the music is missing for large periods in some scenes. Whether this is a glitch or design choice I am unsure, but in most of the times this happens it seems it would have been more beneficial to have a track running.
The game is peppered throughout with screen effects and sound effects which help to liven it up. There are a few grammar mistakes throughout, but not so much as to become an annoyance or overly jarring from the experience, and for the most part the dialogue and story is well written and witty, though there are a few points where it seems to be over-done and could likely have been reduced to a more effective impact on the reader. The story is somewhat obvious, but not so much so that you can immediately guess what will happen, more in a “I have a list of options of what will happen in my head, I wonder which one it will be” way.
Overall, it is still a game worth playing (reading) but I would set it aside for a moment when you are looking for something more casual, and start with a open mindset and not expecting tons of action so as to fully appreciate it.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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