Due to unforeseen events beyond my control, I was not able to play this title for as long as I would have liked. However, with just the world narrative and the character introductions alone, Echoes Of The Fey: Episode 1 already has me fully engaged in the plot. This episode, titled The Fox’s Trail, takes place after a tragic event that ended an horrific war. The plot follows Sofya Rykov, a private investigator with a secret she must keep hidden.
Sofya is approached at her office by a Leshin (elven) woman who is seeking answers to the mystery surrounding her, presumably dead son. At first, Heremon, Sofya’s friend, and partner felt uncomfortable accepting the request for fear of the wheels this case could put in motion. Sofya ignored this warning and agreed to take the case for a pound of gold. From the small amount that I was able to play, it is clear that there are several sinister betrayals and twists in store for our heroine.
The world that Sofya and Heremon reside in is abundant in magic, which leads the mind of the audience to wander, as the possibilities are limitless in terms of twists. The style of gameplay is a combination of a visual novel with light elements of a point and click adventure game, similar to the spin-off titles in Capcom’s Ace Attorney series with dare I say, a little bit more in terms of world interaction and traveling.
And I must be honest, as that is part of my job, the artwork in this game is not the best I have ever seen. There are also times where the actors say lines, that while meant to enhance the emotion behind their lines, do not speak the written dialogue itself. I feel as if that was not needed, but they make up for it by having subtle nuances such as moving lips and facial expressions.
While we are on the subject, the voice acting in this when it does show up is impressive. I have played many a game where I was taken out of the illusion simply because a line or an actor just did not deliver. This is a pitfall many more established companies have fallen into including Namco just to name one. The dialogue options are simple but clear, allowing you to really think about how you wish to respond. There is also a world map, a logbook so you can recall your progress and a simple but effective settings menu which can all be accessed from the pause menu. And this is more of a personal note here, I LOVE the fact that I can pause and save my progress at any time and there are multiple slots. As an adult gamer who has to work a full-time job, I never really appreciated such a normal function until I grew older.
The music is typical of what you will find in most fantasy based titles and can make The Fox’s Trail feel a bit generic. But in terms of world and character presentation, Woodsy Studios gets 5-stars across the board. Heremon was refusing the client then arguing with Sofya because of his stoic and cautious nature. Sofya’s arrogance and sometimes childish approach, even the client’s “I am better than you” aura all help to tell the story that is sure to get you hooked. I consider myself a niche gamer with a particular taste, and I found myself searching for a phone app version of this title but sadly does not exist. This is one title I would highly recommend to anyone who is a fan of mystery, fantasy, visual novels, or any combination of the three.
REVIEW CODE: A FREE Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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