Steam has become one of the largest repositories for visual novels in the world.
The genre, defined as choose-your-own novels with artistic (and sometimes) gameplay attached, has been the domain of primarily anime-centric love games, but is now becoming a more diverse and lesser genre. x-rated through the efforts of small studios who see low-budget ways of telling great stories as the perfect medium for their ideas.
“Arcadia Fallen” is a visual novel funded by crowdfunding from Galdra Studios.
It provides all the elements you’d expect from the genre – multiple choices, romance options, and branching paths based on those decisions – but adds a unique puzzle aspect to combat and crafting.
At first you create your character from a limited selection of options, then you are immersed in a fantasy world where you take the reins as an apprentice alchemist. In a world suspicious of mages and magic, you are not treated exceptionally well by your fellow citizens.
And once your soul is bonded with that of a pink haired demon, things only get crazier as our little villager engages in a battle against the demons.
When it comes to story and characters, they both lean heavily on the Hero’s Journey-style anime and fantasy tropes.
The idea is that you can make choices that affect who these characters are to you and where the story goes. “Arcadia Fallen,” unlike the competition, is very forgiving in the choices you make, and there’s no “Bad End” – the ominous finale that lurks in many visual novels and can ruin a $ 30 investment. hours in a story.
In addition to endings that don’t blame the player for making the “wrong” choices, the game actively announces when an important decision is brewing and how it may affect your relationships.
Many may find these big, bold warnings to be a hold that breaks the immersion. Still, I liked the accessibility, mainly because the more I played it, the more I thought “Arcadia Fallen” was the perfect visual novel for a teenager or a Young Adult Fantasy fan.
Another point in favor of this favor is inclusiveness, which game developers proudly emphasize. In a genre dominated by male-centric dating fantasies, it’s nice to see a game that allows anyone to fit into the story, regardless of gender or race.
And whatever gender you choose, you can have a romantic time with any of the characters which is a romantic option. Fortunately, these are tastefully made and cuter than anything else.
The story comes wrapped in a cute package that reminded me of animating young adult cartoon favorites like Netflix’s “She-Ra”.
I invested more in the puzzle segments than the actual story and waited for them through longer dialogue sections. The first puzzles slowly lead you to increasingly complex challenges.
Everything is based on a trio of circles that connect in a central circle.
You have to rotate the four circles to create patterns or match colors. I appreciate the simplicity of the idea and the quality of its execution.
If you’re in the mood for a character-centric and harmless slice of fantasy play, “Arcadia Fallen” won’t disappoint.
The many choices, the familiar yet enjoyable story, the interactions between the characters and, of course, the puzzles all come together to create a unique and endlessly replayable experience. While I will admit that I wasn’t fully invested in the entirety of the first part of the 9-hour story, I can easily see this of interest to fans of modern YA.
The publisher has provided a copy for review. Currently available on Steam, coming soon to Nintendo Switch.
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Sean Newgent of KGUN first reported this story.