LnScramble, Reviews

Ludonarrative Scramble: May 25-May 29

This is Ludonarrative Scramble! Over the course of the week, I play a handful of free, small, indie narrative games (visual novels, IF, text adventures, etc), and talk about them.

This week’s theme: Only One of Any Asset Jam Recommendations

Only three this week because of my schedule.

Heavy Rains

Dev: Iron Irid

Genre:drama, fantasy; visual novel 

My playtime: ~10 mins; 2 permutations

Okay, yeah, I can dig it. I think the art is lovely and the mood was good. It reads fairly holistically, which I think is important for a jam/flash fiction, but there’s a little bit of structural editing I think I would have recommended were I the editor on it. Alight over the start a little more, get the premise out of the way maybe a line faster and get into the world-building a little snappier. It reads a little expository in parts, and I think they could have approached some of the conversation a little more organically especially since that is the essential driving force of the plot. 

Then a bunch of little fiddly things like going ahead and giving the main character a name and some proofreading. Overall, yeah, pretty interesting. 

404 Shinigami

Dev: aohisashi

Genre: fantasy, comedy; visual novel

My Playtime: ~10 min;4 bad endings, 1 good

This was really cute. Really strong Soul Eater vibes which must have been intentional. I got all the endings, but ended up having to go through all the bad ones first. I think the writing was very quick and punchy which works for the jam and they made great use of their one asset. The text size on the name box probably should have been a little smaller because it brushed the top of the area for it, but that’s a minor thing. If I were to make any change at all, it would be to leave some breadcrumbs about how to achieve the “good ending,” but I also recognize it’s a very personal thing. I like feeling like I’ve “figured it out” as opposed to just sort of rolling into it because it was the only option left. But! It didn’t really hurt the story for me. 

Good Afternoon

Dev: melu

Genre/Format: slice-of-life, drama; visual novel

My Playtime: ~10 min; 2 permutations

This is another one I know I’m going to feel conflicted on for awhile. I like the premise of just a weird, random conversation with a guy who sits down next to you on the bench and reveals something dramatic. But then it also just kind of…happens. It’s almost too open-ended. But at the same time it’s got almost a Beckett or Stoppard quality to it, so I don’t know! *Throws hands up in the air!* 

The art is cute and it juxtaposes well with the themes in the narrative. There was a really great range of expressions when considering their limitations, but there were a few times that I felt they maybe didn’t quite use the right expression. It looks like they’re planning to make more of a game, so maybe that’s something they’ll smooth out in the end. 

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