14 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 15.1 hrs on record
Posted: Oct 29, 2023 @ 12:04am
Updated: Oct 29, 2023 @ 12:04am
Product received for free

“You are enough. Never make the mistake of thinking otherwise just because a man, or woman, is unable to love you.”
-Dust Hunter

Zalstar, a mostly desert landscape, is the continent where our heroine, Iris Lapis lives. Iris is secretly an assassin and is on a mission to take out the culprits that were involved in the murder of her boyfriend. Her main target is Venom, who was presumably the one to kill her boyfriend. She begins to work as a dancer at a pub just outside of Nohiria’s walls, the nation she lives in. It is here that she begins to cross off the names on her hitlist, which consists of Imperial assassins. Nothing is easier than when your target is inebriated and has the reaction time of a sloth. It is at this job, that she meets the two love interests, Seth and the Dust Hunter. Both of these men claim that they want to help her and keep her safe from the league of assassins that are coming after the bounty that has been placed on her. Of course, both are equally suspicious. Trusting them will not be easy.

Iris Lapis: Our MC. Just your average twenty-something who totally isn’t an assassin and does totally normal twenty-something activities. She has retinitis pigmentosa, which is the reason for her heterochromia. Although she can’t see out of her left eye very well, it doesn’t stop her from being a good fighter. Iris is an interesting character. All she really cares about for most of the story is herself and her goals. It does make things a bit frustrating, but she’s got a good personality in terms of writing, witty comebacks, and a backbone, as well as being a straight-up badass. She does get some good character development in the end though. The player cannot change her name, but they can change the name of their assassin alias that they would like to be called.

Seth: One of the main love interests. Seth is working as an Nohirian Wraith, one of the various professions of the Immortals. They deal with anything that poses a threat to their nation, which in this case, is Iris due to her killing Imperials which could cause a war between the two nations. He proposes working together to bring down Venom as he believes that Iris can not take him down alone. His route focuses on seeing more of the world they are in and their relationship.

Dust Hunter: One of the main love interests. A traveler from another area on the continent. Dusty is shrouded in mystery. He offers to team up with her to protect her, for unknown reasons. He’s more than meets the eye. He has big plans for their world, but it seems as if there is also a hidden meaning behind doing so. His route feels a little bit left too open for interpretation with some loose ends. There’s a section where you see from his point-of-view and it was probably one of my more favorite moments in the game. Hearing his thoughts on Iris from himself was actually very cute and endearing. There’s also a weird scene towards the end that just kind of feels like it was fit in because it had nowhere else to go. His route is more focused on the specific area they are in and the relationship between Iris and himself.

Side Characters: I don’t have a single issue with any of the side characters that have sprites. They are all super entertaining and have their own lives, problems, and reasons for being in the story. Malz is probably my favorite and it’s a shame he had very little screen time.

•The sprites for all the characters are very well drawn. Their outfits and color schemes fit the world they are in.
•The facial expressions for Iris sometimes look a bit silly, I was definitely thrown off by her kind of pouty face in the beginning, though it did grow on me in the end.
•Most of the CG art is very well drawn and I really enjoy it. Some of the eyes on them don’t look quite right to me, but are overall a moot point.
•Background art is nice and fits the world very well. You really get the feel that you are in a desert nation. Some of the background art has some oddities to it, like 3D objects or grass that looks a little too realistic for the artstyle, but they are all well detailed.
•Particle effects really add to the scene and CGs. Like the dust clouds that cover the screen and are moving and the little particle effects when one of the characters is using magic.
•The art for the small item popups is very well drawn. The food looks delicious and I really like the intricate designs for items like the vials and daggers.
•Cinematic cutscenes are a nice touch and really cool way to introduce some of the characters and scenes.
•Text box looks gorgeous. If it had some transparency, we could see the art behind it and it would be a nice touch.

•The title screen music was very well chosen and sets the tone for the game. Reminds me of something from Aladdin.
•Overall the music is done well, beautiful and helps set the tone of each scene. I enjoyed listening to it. It never felt repetitive.
•Sounds like clapping, paper crinkling, birds chirping, adds to the atmosphere.
•No voice acting.
•Occasionally the music goes silent and is gone for a scene or there is no music, but some sort of background noise like being spooky and quiet for nighttime.

UI and System
•Settings options for music, sound, auto forward, text speed, display and skip option.
•There is a map of the game’s world in the journal.
•There is a note with a list of names that Iris wishes to take out with two random civilians, which include a guy at the pickle stand, and a lady who kicked her out of the bookstore.
•The journal has bits of lore for the world and how to say certain names. This was especially helpful in the beginning of the game while I was trying to learn the world.
•There is a weird flickering around the screen edges when in full screen mode, so I had to play the game in windowed mode the entire time. I’m unsure what the cause of this issue is.
•Keyboard commands section located under help.
•Text loads all the way, but sometimes there’s more to be added after when you click or press enter/space. I wish it would either just load everything or load in a new text box because it gets a bit annoying when I have to refind where I previously left off because more text was added.
•Can’t see previously made choices, so if you’re going back through the game to choose other choices, hopefully you remember what you previously chose. At least there’s an option to scroll backwards and even loading saves is very quick.
•We can access the gallery and journal from the visual novel part of the game, which I really liked. Being able to go and look at the Lore and CGs at any time is a nice quality of life option.

I had a lot of fun playing this game. It’s got a lot of great writing and even some really good advice that can be applied to everyday life. Although the story could use some tweaking, I enjoyed it. I kept thinking about it when I wasn’t playing, curious as to what was going to happen next. Some of the twists were easily figured out way before they were shown. I’m not sure if this was meant to be this way, or if the way the foreshadowing was written was just too obvious. The game doesn’t have true stat-building, moreso it’s either the choices typically have your trust go up, betrayal goes down, or nothing. Some of the choices for betrayal are kind of odd and I don’t quite understand why the choice is a betrayal choice. Either way this is a game to check out. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the devs have to offer going forward and will definitely be keeping an eye out. I’m hopeful there is some sort of sequel to the true endings. I want more of these characters and the world.

Otome Lovers wishes to thank Foxdrift Studios for providing a free review copy of this game.

Please follow our curator page, Otome Lovers, if you'd like to see more reviews like this one!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny Award
♊︎ JeminiJess ☾ Oct 29, 2023 @ 11:18am 
Thank you! You're one of my inspirations for trying to do longer, in-depth reviews and to practice writing them as well! I hope you enjoy the game whenever you get around to getting it! :2017catheart:
Drugo⚸a Oct 29, 2023 @ 7:27am 
Glad to see you writing these in-depth, detailed reviews ;) I forgot I had this game wishlisted, so thanks for reminding me and for the nice read :ayos_heart: