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    The Nardio Visual Novel Review

     

    IS When Our Journey Ends – A Visual Novel WORTH YOUR TIME?

    Yes.

    I wasn’t expecting this.

    I’m gonna be totally honest here, I had no idea what to expect with When Our Journey Ends – A Visual Novel. Not just because of my usual, buy-it-and–forget-about-it visual novel policy. No, I am a fan of the developer, Afterthought Studios, and bought this just outta fandom for them, albeit a bit begrudgingly. The next part of this review is a bit of a rant against how this visual novel was funded. At the end of the day it doesn’t add or detract from my review, but I do feel the need to say my peace. Skip ahead to: What did we think without spoiling it, part if you just wanna get to the review.

    When Our Journey Ends – A Visual Novel was actually a successfully funded Kickstarter. There’s nothing wrong with that at first glance, but the Kickstarter had an unusually low goal – $350. When I went to check out the page to promote it, the low goal drove me away.

    It felt like Afterthought Studios low-balled the amount to make it seem like their campaign was a rousing success. It just seemed cheap (no pun intended).

    That’s not cool.

    Sure, it’s possible the team could have made this just with $350. The team behind Afterthought Studios is insanely talented and passionate about what they do. With that said, I feel like Afterthought Studios gamed the system and that bothered me so much I ignored the Kickstarter. Too many game developers large and small low-ball how much they actually need to make a game. Many view it simply as a marketing tool to build hype for the game. Or it’s a way to convince potential investors that there’s an audience for said game. Over the year’s this has made it impossible for many developers to actually raise the actual amount they need to complete their project. It gives backers a false sense of how much everything actually costs from creating the assets to paying overhead. I honestly hate this tactic and it made me sad to see Afterthought Studios use it.

    /rant end.

     

    WHAT DID WE THINK WITHOUT SPOILING IT?

    I bought this visual novel as soon as I seen it was released. Sure I may not have appreciated how it was funded, but I very much appreciate the developers. They have created great things already and I was hungry for more. What could/would they create after Kickstarter funding and a $6.99 price tag?

    Magic.

    When Our Journey Ends – A Visual Novel is a magical adventure that took me some time to get into and wrap my head around. It started off normal enough but then got weird. Interesting weird. The main character is kinda unlikable at first, but as the story went on she kinda grew on me. The same can be said of other characters in the VN. There were bits here and there I didn’t care for story wise, but overall I was OK with the main story. It’s one of those adventures where you are going to be clueless as to is going on for a while, and that can be frustrating. It was also a bit weird at some parts, cliche at others, but overall it worked. Although it sort of also felt a bit rushed to me.

    Despite that, it had moments of brilliance that had me curious and wanting more. Thankfully When Our Journey Ends – A Visual Novel has extra chapters that make up for and add to the main story. This is really where everything came together for me. Honestly, the extra chapters worked so well I think they should have been added into the original story. The original ending felt a bit rushed, but when you add in the extra few chapters it all feels right. And also, really, really nice. As a whole, the experience is marvelous, heartwarming and endearing.

    I worry that some people may play through the main story and leave it at that. That would be a huge mistake because there really is a lot more personality added in with the extra chapters. So much so that I hope Afterthought Studios comes back to this world and expands even more upon it.

    When Our Journey Ends – A Visual Novel has really beautiful art, and absolutely phenomenal music and sound effects. As I was playing through the visual novel I was coming down with a really terrible cold and found myself a bit distracted and found myself needing to take breaks. The music and background noises were so soothing that I left the visual novel running as I rested a bit and made myself several cups of hot tea. It was that soothing. Funny enough, when I would come back to When Our Journey Ends the story was the same way. A soothing fairy tale experience that the more time I spent with it, the more it felt right.

    Now there are a few issues I have with the game besides the story.

    Notice the wrong facial animation and a giant text box? Mood/Immersion Breaker.

    Often times I feel as if the protagonist, Mariko had her cranky face at times where it made no sense. It kinda ripped me out of the experience more times than I would have liked. The text boxes often times come up so high they hide most of the art on the page! (See above) This makes zero sense immersion wise and wastes a lot of the art. I really hope this is a bug.

    Speaking of art there is no included art gallery to get a better look at all that wonderful, yet unfortunately hidden art. At first, I thought this was an error on Afterthought Studios part, but while writing this review, it seems they are selling the art book for an additional $8.99. This is more than the asking price of the VN itself. I may get this in the future as a treat for myself, but it seems a bit much.

    All in all, this was an interesting visual novel experience that was evocative and engaging. When Our Journey Ends felt different than any of the visual novels I’ve played before, yet familiar as if it were an old fairy tale. The story as a whole, including the extra chapters, is something I am very glad I got to experience. I found myself more and more attached to the characters, wanting to know more. Wanting more stories. I felt happy when I finished this visual novel.

    Thank you Afterthought Studios for making me feel so much for only $6.99.

     

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      Bernardo Español

      Editor-in-chief
      Hi I'm Bernardo Español. I'm a guy with way too much energy and not enough free time.

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