That Cheap and Sacred Thing

Traffic’s gone down on the blog since last week. Bummer. I blame that on lack of updates, and lack of me writing a continued Katawa Shoujo review and more impressions. Sadly, I haven’t had the time nor privacy to 100% complete it yet.

Since college has started, I’ve actually had less time available for visual novel playing and reviewing than I thought I would. Things will calm down eventually. Also, the internet sucks so bad in my dorm that it takes hours to download projects that would’ve taken me only minutes to get at home. Things aren’t looking so good.

Luckily, I downloaded a few games that piqued my interest before I left, one of them being That Cheap and Sacred Thing, by carosene [DA] (who won Rookie of the Year in another VN blog’s 2011 award ceremony, congrats). I remember playing an early version of this game years ago. The file name was called TCAST back then, too.There weren’t any pictures in that version, but I do remember it being a science fiction love story that got my attention. I wasn’t sure that the project was going anywhere, but, surprise! In my absence, it did.

The game folder comes with some screen shots and CGs in it. I tried to avoid looking at them, but I couldn’t help it. The pictures contain spoilers, so don’t open them up until after you’ve read the story. The main menu is simple – it’s standard Ren’Py fare, but carosene makes it work. There’s even a “Bonus” button that can be unlocked upon completion. Everything’s pretty standard, actually – there isn’t any fancy customization. It’s got a very… “out of the box” Ren’Py look.

You play from the point of view of Autumn, a girl that’s never let go of her friendship with her favorite android, Elly, to the point where she’s never gotten a replacement ‘droid. Androids? Yep. You see, Autumn lives in a world full of robots and androids that look deceptively human, manufactured for specific purposes. MyPals – protectors of children, MyServants – almost as cool as Rosie the originator, AmorBots – rental robowhores, EternaLovers, GuardBodies, and more; you want it, they got it.

Her world’s full of robots that look deceptively like humans, manufactured to carry out certain tasks. Unfortunately, she’s not allowed to have any of them become “committed” to her (that’s when they establish a “love you forever” bond with their owner) with a real personality, because of a past accident that happened with Elly.

Like a boss, she’s always kept Elly’s backup disk with her, for sentimental reasons, like celebrating their best friend anniversary. And since their BFA is also Autumn’s birthday, a bunch of her friends throw her a party, and surprise her with a 24 hour AmorBot. Not happy about it, she agrees to spend time with the robot just so their money doesn’t go to waste.

Wow. The artwork for Elly’s “accident” was excellent, by the way. Shocking. Brilliant choice in coloring it so starkly. Well done overall for all of the pictures, actually. The art team included Leaux, Ashley Coulter (backgrounds), Verity, Morhigan, and Sena. I also liked the music, done by Shadelight with a couple of Kevin McLeod pieces thrown in, a lot. They all fit with their scenes. Congratulations to everyone else involved (sorry for the cop-out on not listing everyone’s names, I’m a zombie right now).

The ending hit me hard. I had a feeling that it was g oing to happen – it HAD to, but I couldn’t help feeling genuinely sad for both of the characters involved. I think I understand why this game resonates with people so well. It really does pull at your heart strings. Even now, I feel like I’ve taken a punch to the stomach, in a good way. I can’t think of many good ways to feel punched, but this is one of them.

Once you beat the game, you can see a variety of game bonuses, including an art gallery, thoughts about & analyses of the game from carosene, and a look into Darlings Lost, carosene’s seemingly permanently hiatused game (don’t worry about it, real life happens). Oh, and since you asked, carosene, I’d definitely read a sequel to TCAST, ero or not.

I liked how the story included Autumn questioning her own humanity, especially when it comes to something as extreme and nebulous as love. There’s a lot of layers to TCAST, and I really appreciated that. It really makes you take a step back and think. It’s the type of story that makes for a good and complicated conversation starter.

You can look at bigger screenshots here and download & discuss it here.

About vnr4

Visual novel reviews and reporting with a main focus on independent visual novels. Enjoy.
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4 Responses to That Cheap and Sacred Thing

  1. Aaeru says:

    Oh wow.

    I’ve never seen a blog before that specializes in reviewing visual novels in English. this is the first one I’ve ever seen.

  2. Lauren says:

    I downloaded the game, but all I got was the file. How do I open it to actually play it?

    • vnr4 says:

      You have to look through the folder and, assuming that you’re on Windows, you have to double-click the TCAST.exe file to open and play it. Enjoy.

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