The Nardio Visual Novel Review
Is Sweetest Monster Worth Your Time?
Before we start.
As per usual, I jumped into this visual novel after ignoring it in my massive backlog for a while. I know game developers and visual novel creators would rather that a reviewer just get to things, but I feel like visual novels are best appreciated as a fresh experience. All I knew about Sweetest Monster going in was that it had some awesome art and it was maybe written by an author I like. I wasn’t quite sure.
What did we think without spoiling it?
Sweetest Monster was a tack sharp smart kinetic read that had me enthralled from start to finish. The writing was utter perfection that often left me at an uncomfortable loss. The author of this masterpiece, Ebi-hime magnificently crafted this story that was brutally honest, real and evocative.
I cannot possibly praise her enough for this visual novel experience.
Ok, after all that praise I must say this is a visual novel for adults. It’s not like raunchy or straight up masturbation fodder, but there is sex. Also, the material here is best appreciated by people who have lived life for a few years. Teens and tweens really won’t get this.
Sweetest Monster follows Robin and everyman sort of character that I found totally relatable. As you quickly find out he is in an unhappy marriage and frustrated trying to keep his job and his wife happy. He is also father to a daughter who has no interest in him.
This is not a happy story. It’s an interesting look at what it’s like to be in a dying relationship that has been going on to long. Where most of the better visual novels I’ve read had me recalling past loves, or feeling nostalgic on that new love/crush feeling, Sweetest Monster hit me right in the uncomfortable broken relationship feels. I found myself understanding and sympathizing with Robin throughout the story.
I have no idea how Ebi-hime did it, but man some of those sour interactions between Robin and his wife Sally had me totally thinking back to a few passive aggressive conversations I’ve had to endure in life. Ugh…. Why Ebi? How? Sally’s passive aggressive/spiteful dialogue honestly felt so real I found myself shuddering in disgust and annoyance. This is some spot on writing.
This was an uncomfortable read. So much so that I had to take a few sanity breaks. This wasn’t because the visual novel experience was bad per say, quite the opposite. It was to good. To realistic. I found myself thinking back to bad relationship moments and just ugh… That said I found myself quickly coming back to the story because I was honestly enthralled.
Sweetest Monster was perfectly written. The art, music and sound effects were all pretty darned phenomenal as well. This was a great package and totally worth the full asking price on Steam.
Ok, so there is more to the story than just relationship problems. A lot, lot more. It get’s much more interesting than what I just described. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say this was a unique experience that left me thinking, a lot, after reading it. There is an extra’s section that has Ebi-Himes going into the making of the story, but I didn’t read any of that yet. I wanted to write this review fresh off of finishing the visual novel and having some time to digest just what the fuck just happened.
It’s a bit of a mind fuck.
I can honestly say this is now one of my favorite visual novel experiences so far. It was a kinetic visual novel so there weren’t any choices. That is not a bad thing. I think this story worked best on the rails. I can’t imagine having to make some mundane choices or having to over think things. This isn’t a story for the masses, this isn’t an intro visual novel experience. This is like an indie art film that will one day reach cult status for it’s dark, daring, evocative story and it’s, pull no punches approach to what happens.
I saw a lot of happened coming, but that didn’t lessen the impact at all. The way Sweetest Monster unfolds is just that damned good. The way it ended had me rethinking a lot of what I just read.
I loved it.
Steam Achievements popping up always rip me out of the experience. I wish there was a way to disable the stupid things. I have no interest in them at all.
This is a masterpiece that I wholeheartedly recommend.
Weblinks & Info
- Steam Achievements
- Steam Trading Cards
- Author & Programer: Ebi-hime on Twitter
- Author & Programer: Ebi-hime on tumblr
- Publisher Sekai Project On Twitter
Get more games from Ebi-hime at the two links below: