Visual Novels have been on the rage in the gaming scene, and it seems like you can’t avoid it. These choose your own adventure games are can pop out of anywhere whether it’s as a pure Visual Novel or a game that uses elements of the arcitype to convey a story. There are so many titles in this category with Katawa Shoujo, the “Devil Survivor” series (actually most of the “Shin Megami Tensei” games since “Persona” have used these elements), HuniePop, and “Don’t Take It Personally, Babe, It Ain’t Just Your Story” only to name a few. The piece of digital literature for this review is War: 13th Day. While the beginning can be off-putting the plot does gradually get you caught up into an enigma.

The gameplay follows suit like any visual novel: You click on a choice, read, and follow the route you want to take. While this mechanic is simple, it’s actually how it is integrated that makes it interesting. You listen to the stories of two characters, Ambrosia of the Phoenix Tribe and Wildfire of the Valkyrie Tribe, which are supposed to align with the events of the game. There’s just one problem: the stories don’t add up. As both tales contradict with one another. And as the player, it’s your job to make like Miles Edgeworth and solve this mystery to figure out what is really going on.

war 13th day romance

There is some romance, but that’s much more going on

To do this you have to go over their stories once more, and choose which direction you would think the character would do in the given situation. There’s no need to save and reload constantly since after going to a version of the story the lady and warrioress will say something’s wrong and let you have a go at it again. It’s a really nice feature to have since most visual novels have you stick with the choices you pick. On top of that you need to explore your options in order to get the “true ending”.

The graphics are fairly good-looking, though there are some hits and misses. The outdoor backgrounds feel natural with vibrant colors, and they provide decent backdrops for the story. The indoor ones, on the other hand, are not as distinctive. In the matter of fact, they look rather average when you compare the two. The character designs also have the same situation. Some of the cast has a distinct look to them that correspond to the tribes they belong to such as Wildfire equipped with full body armor while sporting a renegade ponytail as she’s with the Valkyries. These designs are great but there are others that are simple and forgettable. One thing that can be noticed about their designs is how they come off as an early project. While it is a bit offsetting I do have to appreciate that the developer went with original drawn artwork opposed to using a doll maker.

war 13th day treasure chest

There are three rules but you only know two at first: Don’t look back and don’t look into the box

Like many visual novels, there really isn’t much in the audio department. There are no voice actors in this game but this is kind of a plus for me. While some people may be accustomed to hearing a seiyu from a high budget visual novel. We’re spared from potential awkward voice cues (example of the worst offenders to this: the Fire Emblem 3DS games). The soundtrack also has a hit and miss-record though it’s only a few tracks that get to me. The few that I’m talking about are supposed to be cheery ones, but they actually wear on me enough that I had a difficult time reading. The rest of the tracks are fine, but it’s the tranquil ones that I find best. They’re subtle enough to enjoy while reading, and they match the theme of the world that’s unfolding to you.

Pros:
+ The gameplay opens up a mystery for you to piece together.
+ Artwork is original and have memorable CGs.
+ The mystery of game is enough to motivate you to find the answers.
+ No awkward voice cues.

Cons:
– Some characters get the simple designs.
– A number of songs can make it difficult to read.
– Onyx is only imitating by reputation.

Gameplay:  4.5/5
Graphics:  3/5
Sound/Music:  2.5/5
Controls:  4/5
Replay value: 5/5

tgg grade 4 out of 5

Verdict: 4/5
Normally I’m not one for pure visual novels. I can, however, make exceptions if there’s something about a visual novel that catches my attention. In this case it’s this one’s mystery that did the trick. While you can get the game for free it doesn’t hurt to give a bit of support to Dreamgazer on the game’s official site. Just remember this when you play: “he” is always watching.

Title: War: 13th Day
Developer: Dreamgazer
Format: PC
Genre: Psychological Visual Novel
Resolution: Varies
Release date: 2016-01-17
Difficulty: Normal
Spent time: 2+ hours
Average grade internationally: N/A (No listings on Gamerankings.com)
DGRS: Teen
Price: Name your price (on “War: 13th Day´s”official homepage)

tgg author avatar David Lucas
David Lucas
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @GamerFoxem

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