Once Upon a Hallow’s Eve – review

Once Upon a Hallow’s Eve is a free, short game you can download from Steam or itch.io.  It’s a game with a Halloween theme, so it felt rather amusing to play this in January.

The game is pretty short (2-3 hours), so this is also a short review.

I’m not sure whether it’s more fitting to call this an otome game or a straight up mystery VN game… it just felt like the mystery elements were stronger than the otome element, but I digressed.

Story, copied from the official description:

As one final vacation before their second-to-the-last college semester ends, 20-year-old graduating student Cara Lee and her friends decide to go to a rest house up in the mountains. However, along the way, a minor landslide knocks her unconscious, and when she wakes up, she finds herself alone in a dark and scary forest. Looking for shelter, she finds a strange and haunted-looking mansion looming up ahead. Is there really more to the mansion that it seems, or will Cara Lee uncover something sinister about the house and its inhabitants?

Viktor, Vern & Vonn

There are 3 guys (brothers) to capture, and my favourite from most to least: Vonn -> Vern -> Viktor. Vonn because… his route showed his relationship with the heroine developing the best – with the other 2 guys the route felt more like a ‘best friend’ route. Overall there wasn’t much romantic moment.

Story was pretty simple with no major plot twist or surprises – it’s also free from major drama or angst, so it made for a pretty light read. Overall, given the length and the price (free!) I can’t complain about the story.

The strangest thing about the game was that you get Event CG… in the Bad/Neutral End, and none in the Good End. Oh, also, there’s no Gallery function, but given the amount of Event CGs present in the game (4?) I can understand the absence of a Gallery.

I have 1 complaint about the system. Namely, the skip function didn’t seem to work that well… by skipping unread messages, despite me choosing not to in the settings. Thankfully the game was short, so instead of relying on the skip function I just clicked my way through.

You can follow the official walkthrough (that’s linked from the itch.io page), although it didn’t work for Vern’s Neutral End (gave me Vern Bad End). If you’re after the Steam achievement for the Bad End, I found these options to be the easiest way to unlock it:

  1. Risk it!
  2. Push it.
  3. Stay.
  4. Walk around the forest.
  5. Refuse.
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About…

Just an otome game fan. ...who spends a lot of weekends playing otome games on PC with a Japanese dictionary propped open on her lap.
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