Little God…the title brings to mind one of those cheap life management sims where you’re stuck overseeing some lame, desperately needy town or equally pathetic village. Instead, in this visual novel written by Septimus, the writer of the up and coming visual novel Deeplake, we’re treated to a supernatural/action story. The story stars you, lone survivor of some kind of attack, and your Lieutenant. Alongside her, you must ward off beasts, deal with a warlock, and carry an assortment of ill-inspired “Type-whatever number” weaponry.
See, now that I’m back here doing reviews again, I’ve decided to do away with the usual formulaic standard bullshit. I don’t think it’s necessary anymore. Really, it makes everything come off as dull. One should be able to gather the four essential categories (story, gameplay, graphics, and sound) out of my game overviews easily, kind of like how, despite being placed immedieately into Little God’s story without a needless world intro, I just got it. The VN doesn’t spend forever and a day telling you what the monsters you’re fighting are or waste text space explaining to you the ins and outs of the organization. No. Little God gives you you in the here and now.
I’ve played one too many games that had the whole hour long cut scene shit. It’s a risky move, because it’s always a hit or a miss and more often than not, it’s a huge miss. I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting my time reading walls of text that I could, you know, use my brain and get the information from my surroundings while I’m playing. Sure, you could say that you don’t want to be lost by being thrown right into it, but at the same time, why make me feel stupid by explaining the obvious? If the Hfoiasjs hate the Afdsojis then let me figure that out on my own, rather than making me read about their huge ten year war. Great.
Like I already mentioned, Little God puts you right in the action. You’ve got the sound of your heart beating and a very real sense of fear. The visual novel plays out in pure NVL style, that is rows of text carefully displayed over faded backgrounds. It works here. White text on black background allows so much more room for imagination. Too many of us forget how much we could experience given minimal resources. A lonely kiss, a broken heart, and a depressed hug are so much more powerful when we can see it in our own head, rather than being forced fed images of tears and constant blue.
The sounds play a major help in Little God’s story. All were picked out very well, I have to admit. Every description of a door closing found its match in a little sound effect. Hurried scenes had fast paced music. It kept me focused, on my toes, and for a moment there, made me forget that I didn’t have to hurry at all because the game didn’t have a timer or anything.
There are very few pictures. I wish that the writer hadn’t chosen to show the grand final enemy. It took away from things a bit, at least for me. The graphic overlaying the background image looked…maybe the word is clunky. It kind of just floated there obnoxiously. I know the author “stole” the image from his artist friend (the same one working with him on Deeplake, SapphireDragon) however that doesn’t excuse the awkwardness. Things would’ve been better without, since things like that don’t work in NVL mode for me, sorry. Something about the perspective made my eyes burn.
While the rush of the beginning scenes was enough to keep me reading, the ending was wholly disappointing. The whole story kind of dissolves into a bit of a cheesy mess. I felt that the final boss’s character was a horribly misplaced cliche. As soon as the Lieutenant says who he is, Little God starts slowly going down the drain. The battle becomes overclogged with mentions of Type-07 and Type-47 and Type-whatever weaponry. Why the names? If it’s a projectile, it’s a projectile. If it’s an explosive, it’s an explosive. I could see the weapon naming for a longer visual novel, but for something that takes ten to fifteen minutes, no.
It didn’t keep much of my interest after that. Things got into “just like the others” territory. I’m not going to spoil much, so I’m just gonna say special blood, that kind of thing. Never was into those kinds of stories. I have to mention the main character not thinking he’s special or anything. It sort of ties into the territory, a little bit. By getting the good ending, you see this visual novel’s connection with the title. Sadly, I was rolling my eyes at the whole thing.
One poster on LemmaSoft Forums mentioned how they could see Little God being a pilot to a longer series. The same thing crossed my mind. If the final scene had been done differently, I would look forward to such a thing. I would run for it. I would chase it down. Too bad things didn’t turn out in a better way. Everything else was pretty ace. The story, up until the warlock point, proves how maybe some of us should put down the gimmicky shiney-eyed anime girl graphics and go back to our simple storytelling roots. Little God shows that you don’t need all of that to draw a reader in. It’s all about the words and how you place them.
There aren’t very many choices to make in the game. Only a few. They’re all pretty obvious if you pay attention. Hell, you don’t have to pay attention to a couple. Use common sense. Then, go back and get some of the bad endings, particularly the first possible bad ending when you go the wrong way. I loved it more than I loved the good ending. Crunch.
Bottom line? Little God was a refreshing little read. Septimus knows his craft. If he’s half as good writing Deeplake as he was writing the beginning of this, then, damn. I’ll be one of the first to check it out when it comes out. Oh and by the way, if you’ll be writing more stories in the vein of Little God’s start, you’ve got an audience right here. Nice job.