I was going to post a review for each individual route, but after some thought I decided against it. Simply because the storylines intertwined so much that posting the review separately means typing the same thing again and again. If you don’t want to be spoiled stop reading now.
To put it simply… there’s one major storyline. Whoever’s route you’re on you’d still be following the same major storyline, only with minor changes. For example, in the part of the story where Luca’s still tasked by Mei to investigate the academy’s seven mysteries, if you’re on Mei’s route you’d be going with Mei to the temple for your investigation. If you’re on Gessie’s route Luca’d go to the infirmary to ask for information. After that the major storyline would resume… It’s good because it means you don’t have to sit down through all of the text again and again and you can skip most of the text belonging to the common route. On the other hand, I think the Skip functionality doesn’t work all the time… sometimes instead of only skipping text that’s been read, it’d skip unread text as well. I found myself just clicking quickly instead of using the Skip functionality in order not to miss any unread text. One advantage to having a major storyline with minor storyline branches: each playthrough gets faster because you just skip the parts you’ve read.
What’s the major storyline? I gave you some facts from the game and translated the Legend, so you should be able to guess. But if you couldn’t be bothered guessing… *spoiler* Basically, in the old times, Chernia used to be a kingdom. Everything that happened in the Legend, with the Night Dwellers devouring humans, were a fact and not just a legend. The King of Chernia made the contract with Night and got devoured by Night. The effect of the contract was to suppress all the Night Dwellers’ appetite and hunger for human; this was possible as Night was somewhat the de facto leader of all the Night Dwellers, and he’s strong enough to influence all of the Night Dwellers. Every 100 years this contract got renewed, and the Sacrifice was always born having the memory of all the previous Sacrifices. The Sacrifice would always have a marking on his/her back as well, which Night put on him/her and this marking protected the Sacrifice from other Night Dwellers (except the one who put the marking there). This year was 100th year since the last one, and it’s Luca’s turn to be the Sacrifice… except that he didn’t have the previous Sacrifice’ memories and thus knew nothing of what was approaching. He still, however, had the marking on his back (the one he thought to be a bruise). All historical records of the era of when Chernia was still a kingdom was purposefully destroyed… so there was no record of the King’s family name. The Sacrifice that came every 100 years had always come from the King’s bloodline. The King’s family name was Rufen… and Luca was his descendant. *spoiler*.
But can I just say this… I like Luca’s reactions after he found out what was going to happen to him. Disbelief, anger, despair… until in the end he got back on his feet and decided to do something about what was going to happen. It makes him a likeable main character. Since the story is narrated by him, you get to see the thoughts that goes around in his head. Thankfully the narration wasn’t overly done that you’d think he’s just being whiny… at least, I didn’t feel that. It was quite pleasant too to see him deciding to take matters into his own hands (in the Good Endings).
Mei’s route is the first one I started with… because he’s the one who seemed least interesting. His storyline did turn out to be rather interesting, and felt somewhat complete. Probably because Luca interacted with Mei throughout the storyline (with the 7 mysteries investigation etc), so following his path seemed… natural? The theme of his story was, I think, betrayal/deceit, and his devotion to his duty, along with the memory of blood he has.
His good ending made me think “…elope?”, and while it’s a nice, fitting conclusion to his story, it’s a bit too inconclusive to my taste. *spoiler* It’s nice that Mei decided to do what he wanted (saving Luca) instead of following what his blood told him, but running away with Luca at the risk of everyone else’ lives was rather… unlike him? *spoiler* His bad ending, on the other hand… was… (º д º |||)… was… creepy factor to the max… (I’m impressed that they actually put that ending in there, considering it’s supposed to be an all-ages game, even if there’s no CG scene for it and it’s purely text. And this is their first game… I’m looking forward to their next game 😀 ) In his route, you’ll learn what role the Soniella family play in the whole thing.
Gessie’s route had a sombre feel to it. The main theme of his route was his ponderings about what make humans different from the Night Dwellers, coupled with his unquestioning loyalty for Night (that is, Eus). He was also wondering if the path Night was leading the Night Dwellers to was really the best path and if there’s no other possible paths. It’s probably just me, but his reason for saving Luca in the Good Ending felt… weak? Maybe it’s just me (. __ . ) His Bad Ending was alright… not as bad as I was expecting *spoiler* since he‘s an unusual Night Dweller who actually didn’t feel the need or hunger for human flesh, in his Bad Ending he didn’t eat Luca… Eus did x__X *spoiler* In Gessie’s route you’ll learn that nowadays Night Dwellers have more resistance to sunlight. In the old days, it would kill them instantly.
Phor’s route actually started as a light-hearted route. Which was strange when I played it, since the previous 2 characters were rather serious and sombre… His route touched on his job as a chef and his related desire when it came to consuming food (and his experiments with food which once gave diarrhea to the whole school)… His Bad Ending was pretty yuck, but after Mei’s Bad Ending I was more prepared to see this sort of ending (~__~; ) and hence wasn’t really that all surprised… still thought it’s pretty gross… *spoiler* …although I should had guessed that when asked why he’d want to save Luca and he answered that it’s because Luca was a rare ingredient and that he didn’t want anyone else to eat Luca… I should had seen that ending coming ~_~ *spoiler* For some reason, his Good Ending still made me feel uneasy, despite it being a good ending (. __. )
Minmi’s route was… how to say this… surprising? Minmi’s shown to be the worst Night Dweller in other characters’ storyline. He killed when he’s hungry and thought nothing of it. The only reason he killed was because he’s hungry, plain and simple. I started playing his route expecting the highest gross + creepy factor, and was very surprised that my expectation was not realised. He was very honest too… whereas everyone else hid their intentions, Minmi stated upfront that he wanted to eat Luca to destroy Night. As you play his route, you’ll realise that Minmi’s very upfront… because he’s very childish. Very much so, that at one point Luca taught him that he should say ‘thank you’ when given someting. *spoiler* I like his Good Ending better than Phor or Gessie’s. In it Luca didn’t do the whole crying “But you said you’d save me!” and did nothing. In Minmi’s Good Ending, Luca actually stood up to protect Minmi 😀 *spoiler* His route also felt natural, somewhat… to me his relationship with Luca grew naturally, whereas in Phor and Gessie’s route it felt rather forced. His Good Ending was just adorable 😀 In his route, you’ll also learn that Night Dwellers didn’t use to look like humans… they used to look more like ‘dinosaurs’ (Luca’s pick of word).
Eus’ route, as to be expected, is the most complete of the whole cast. It’s pretty obvious, since other characters have Good and Bad Endings… Eus has Bad and True Ending. Eus’ storyline pretty much explained everything that hadn’t been explained in everyone else’ route. For a start, it was stated in everyone else’ route that the Contract exist to balance darkness and light, and to prevent Night Dwellers from eating humans. Eus’ route revealed the real intention the King of Chernia had in mind when he proposed the Contract to Night. It was quite a melancholic reason… In his True End, basically the 100-year Sacrifice cycle came to an end. Somehow Luca discovered the method to complete the Contract and end the cycle. Even though it ended very happily, somewhat his story made me feel rather sad… *spoiler* Eus must had really wanted to meet the King once more. He said he memorised the face, the voice and the words of every Sacrifice he had eaten… but he could not remember anymore how the King looked like. The scene where he mistook Luca for the King and asked sadly how much longer must he repeat the Contract… ;__; *spoiler* As an addition, Luca’s seiyuu did an excellent job in one of the Eus’ Bad Endings. It’s one Bad Ending worth sacrificing 3 hours of your time to get. To reap the maximum emotional harvest out of his route, play his Bad Endings first, then go for the True Ending last.
Favourite route (most to least): Eus -> Minmi -> Gessie -> Mei -> Phor.
Favourite character (most to least): MINMIIIII!!!!…. -> Eus -> Mei -> Gessie -> Phor.
…this game made me include Suwabe Junichi into my list of favourite seiyuu .__.
The game has CG gallery and ‘recollection’ feature, so you can go into the Extra mode and replay scenes from the game. Also, when you managed to get everyone’s endings (including their bad endings), “Secret” would be accessible in the Extra mode. *spoiler* Basically, it’s just messages from the seiyuus… I’m not really interested in seiyuus so I didn’t bother listening to it. I wish it had been like an epilogue, like what happened years after the ending .__. *spoiler*
…now excuse me as I go back to replay Minmi’s scenes and Eus’ Endings…