I think it’s interesting how I’m “this” close to 10,000 hits with only eleven worthwhile(?) reviews so far. As a little bit of a thanks and payback to all you guys and girls out there – especially the ones that haven’t had their comments approved for viewing in months (sorry!) – here’s something new for you. Another visual novel review, what a great present. Hey, feeling out of the loop, because I know I am? Then check out the reviews list. It’s an up-to-date page of all the VNR4 reviews for you in alphabetical order.
In light of recent events, I’ve decided to start writing reviews again. My free time is beginning to come back to me now, sort of, so either cheer or run and squeal. Here’s a VNR4 review, this time a review of one that’s not even up on the RAA yet (as of early 11/29/08). It’s a mystery visual novel written by Marcelo_Orlando about exactly what it says on the tin – a missing bracelet.
The start-up main menu image isn’t too extraordinarily special, but it does give proof that Marcelo put some level of effort in. It’s enough to tell us that he’s (or she’s) responsible for the art, the backgrounds, and the story. That’s good enough for me. Heh, and the first piano song playing in the opening sounds extremely familiar. I can’t remember what game was using it but I’ve heard it before. I can’t really blame either one of them for using it, since it is offered as a free-to-use resource and all. Just keep in mind that if it’s available for everyone, then someone’s probably already used it by now.
There are grammar mistakes that could have easily been caught during an editing session, such as “Seiji your a sick man” and “Oh Hi…”. A lot of lines seem to have been missing commas or the correct punctuation. Even if you can tell what’s being meant to be said, it still would make things a lot nicer looking to include the commas. Instead of saying “…don’t think you should talk Seiji,” the line would have been better as “…don’t think you should talk, Seiji.” A small nitpick but a good one to remember.
The writing of this game could have been improved in editing, if I didn’t say that before. Some words are mixed up. A roster is not a roaster. Little mistakes like this add up and they’re upsetting, because they could have easily been cleaned up when Marcelo was proofreading his work. I don’t know how to stress the importance of editing. Even if you’ve written the best story in the world, if your presentation of it is sloppy with its grammar, spelling, or other fixable mistakes, your story will go nowhere. Not to say that The Case of the Missing Bracelet is that bad. It really isn’t. I’m just saying that the story should have had more time spent on it before releasing it into the world.
This game has a whole lot of possible suspects, so for some people it might be tough to keep track who’s who. I didn’t really have much of a problem with it, although I’m not sure if it was necessary to know every single person’s last name. For memory’s sake, the last names could be dropped. *shrug* It’s not too big of a problem, though. I was able to get the good ending on my first try. The bad endings don’t have much of a difference from each other; they all end the same way, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Watch for the amusing Ren’Py cameos when you’re playing this game. The background work was fair. It’s not stunning, but it does work well with the character art and that’s about all it needed to do. All of the characters look charming, even the scary Coach guy. They all belong on a lovable, hugable cupcake. D’awww. Except for the little girl with the glasses. She scared me. D:
The mystery, although almost easy to solve, was a fun read. I have to admit that things did seem kind of rushed, seeing how it was all solved within one game day. You hunted for clues, got the clues, then you chose the culprit and that was it. Of course, that’s how all mystery games are, but this one was a little too straight-forward. No twists or turns to keep me guessing, really. Music-wise, the game did well in its choices. I really liked the happy tune that plays when you go to see the Coach for the first time. No special customization of Ren’Py’s features to write about. The game’s simple, but that’s not a bad thing.
You can download The Case of the Missing Bracelet here in its LSF discussion thread.
EDIT (12/14/08): I was unaware of this while writing the review, but this is actually a demo of the actual game. However, as it is right now, it seems to be more of a game than a demo, so it won’t be a problem to anyone playing it.