Steam has been one of the most important repositories of visual novel images anywhere.
The genre, defined as choose-your-own-adventure novels with art (and sometimes) gameplay attached, has been the realm of mainly anime-centric romance games but is growing into a more diverse and less x-rated genre thanks to the efforts of smaller studios who see the low-budget means of telling great stories as the perfect medium for their ideas.
Galdra Studios’ crowdfunded visual novel “Arcadia Fallen”, is now available for purchase.
It provides all the elements you’d expect of the genre — multiple choices, romance options, and branching paths depending on these decisions — but throws in a unique puzzle aspect for combat and crafting.
After creating your character, you will be thrust into a fantasy world as an apprentice alchemist. Your fellow townsfolk don’t treat you well in a world where magic is feared.
Your soul is bound to the pink-haired demon and things get even more crazy when our little villager gets involved in a fight against demons.
Both the story and the characters are heavily influenced by tropes from anime and Hero’s Journey-style fantasy.
You have the power to choose who these characters will be to you and what the story will look like. “Arcadia Fallen,” as opposed to competitors, is very forgiving in the choices you make, and there is no “Bad End” — the ominous finale that lurks in plenty of visual novels and can ruin a 30-hour investment in a story.
The game does not criticize the player for making “wrong” decisions. It actively announces when significant decisions are being made and how they can impact your relationships.
Some may find these bold, large warnings to be too intrusive. I still appreciated the accessibility. This was mainly due to the fact that “Arcadia Fallen”, which I found the best visual novel entry point for teenagers or fans of Young Adult Fantasy, was easy to navigate.
Another advantage is inclusivity, which game developers proudly highlight. In an industry that has been dominated by male-centric fantasies about dating, it is refreshing to see a game where anyone can be a part of the story.
You can share a moment of romance with any character who is a romance option, regardless of your gender. These characters are well-done and much cuter than other options.
It’s wrapped in a neat-looking package, which reminded me of recent animated cartoons for young adults like Netflix’s She-Ra.
I spent more time on the puzzles than on the story and long dialogue sections made me miss them. These puzzles gradually eased you into more difficult challenges.
It’s all about a triangular circle that connects to form a central circular.
To create patterns or match colors, you must spin the four circles. The simplicity of the idea is admirable, as well as the execution.
“Arcadia Fallen”, which is character-centric and inoffensive, will satisfy those who are looking for feel-good fantasy gaming.
You will be able to replay the experience many times over, thanks to the variety of choices, the familiar story but with a lot of fun characters, and the interactions between them. While I confess that I didn’t enjoy the whole 9-ish-hour first run of this story, I can see why it would be appealing to fans of contemporary YA.
A copy was provided by the publisher for review. It is currently available for purchase on Steam. The Nintendo Switch version will be soon available.
Sean Newgent from KGUN reported the story.