Videogames · Visual Novels

Videogame reviews: Aquadine

This game was kindly offered by SoftColors as a request for a review that I gladly accepted given I had my eyes on this title for a while.

If you’re willing to explore the beautiful town of Aquadine there’s a famous gondolier named Ciel who guides tourists around the place showing them the most interesting spots the town has to offer.
While being a cheerful and hardworking youngster, a lot of girls happen to have their eyes on him, but little do they know that Ciel has an important reason to maintain his reputation while struggling to pay hospital bills for his bedridden mother…

Game’s premise:

You play as Robin Liyun, a high school student immersed in books who lives together with his cheerful grandfather due to family circumstations.
One day, his routine gets shaken up when he gets asked by his teacher to show the school to their new classmate – Elisabeth, nothing less than a famous singer from neighbor town Sylphyr.
While Robin’s classmates are still in a daze after the sudden notice, he himself never showed interest in celebrities, therefore is not particularly excited about this arrival and treats her as a regular classmate.

After Elisabeth’s arrival, with a bit of push on Diana’s side, Robin gets closer to his group of friends and starts understanding the meaning of friendship while never really relying on anyone but himself or his family.
The group of friends consists of Diana, her cousin Cameron, Anya and now also Elisabeth.

While no one at his school suspects him, Robin is bearing a huge secret… will his friends be trustful enough in order to completely open up with them about his difficulties?

Characters:

Ciel

Appears to be a handsome and hardworking youngster working as gondolier. Never shows his weaknesses in front of others, a role model to look up to. Everyone loves hearing him sing, which does happen rarely… But is everything as bright and shiny as it appears?
One day he meets a mermaid, after being lured by hearing someone else sing the song he learned from his mother.

Robin

A shy student doing his best at school, but not paying too much attention to his loud surroundings. With time, his bonds with friends gets stronger, but something prevents him from opening up completely…

Diana

Robin’s cheerful friend who has a huge crush on Ciel… like most of the girls from her town. Works at a famous Cafe together with her mother. Cameron’s cousin.

Cameron

Robin’s best friend who is a lot into martial arts and is aiming for something huge in his life. He is willing to make a difference in people’s lives, the same way as someone did for him when he was a child. Loves pandas.

Anya

One of the friends from Robin’s group. Tries presenting herself as distant and cold, but gets dragged by Diana – her childhood friend – into funny situations. She’s very artistic.

Elisabeth

A famous singer from nearby town who recently moved to Aquadine creating a bit of commotion. Went on hiatus for a couple of months due to personal reasons and gets uneasy while others keep asking her when will she be doing a comeback on stage. A really sweet and caring girl, appears to have a bit of difficulty at understanding puns.

The town of Aquadine:

There’s an antique legend saying that long time ago, merfolk used to live among humans in the town of Aquadine. However as expected, in a short time merfolk had to face discrimination from human side of civilization causing the species to dissolve.

The most part of the town is situated on water and with the help of our hardworking gondolier we will explore all the corners of this town from the common everyday’s routes to the town’s specialties and classic ancient areas.
The town is very well portrayed creating a whole new world to explore through the game. Not only the design is eye-catching but it also recounts a very interesting story to each area.

Featurings:

Aquadine is a Kinetic Novel presented by SoftColors where you will find 4 character routes and one unlockable ending after the routes’ completion.

One of the parts that are found most appealing in this game is the whole setting that manages to switch from casual everyday’s moments to mysterious and nostalgic atmosphere bringing us different stories coming to each character such as secrets to uncover and difficulties to overcome.
The game presents a lot of slice of life moments between friendly classmates as well as, relatable situations they keep to themselves that we’ll come to uncover.

The dialogues are partially voiced with phrases that might result monotone after a while, however they are fit to the situations, therefore I would not consider it to be a flaw.

What I managed to slightly dislike in this game is the shaking effect added to the sprites in the moments of awkwardness, tension and so on, due to getting very repetitive during gameplay. Aside from this, there are few things left unexplained in the story, which got me curious more than anything. However, this game has really a lot to offer such as an opening video with original music, immersive atmosphere with dreamy-like background music, fun dialogue lines with lively moments, emotional parts, and a deep message at the completion of the game.

The character development is well done and personages do inspire kindness as well as will to change and grow, while reminding us that it is totally natural to ask for help and, most of all that we are loved.

Overall:

This game is recommended if you’re looking for a relaxing read with moments that can move you emotionally. Suggested if you love exploring new worlds and settings and learning more about them and their story.
As a bonus you get to know a lively grandpa who is very pleasant to have around.
Not recommended if you are looking for a Visual Novel where you get to date heroines with different branching endings to each and lots of choices to take.

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