It’s one thing to live under someone’s shadow even when they’ve passed away, but what do you do when the spotlight is on the dead that is still producing pieces of art?
Well, in InvertMouse’s adventure/visual novel game “Without Within 3” we get to follow our amateur calligrapher Vinty who has been living her mundane life after her last two misadventures, though her minor triumph from a local calligraphy contest is a nice milestone to brag.
So it wasn’t long until Vinty received an email from someone she least expected, with a ticket to Singapore attached. She now joins her “rival” Excelia in order to catch a ghost, or whoever is behind these events.
“Without Within 3” is Vinty’s third misadventure as she joins the professional, now unpopular, calligrapher Excelia and her investigation of the Ghost of Kiki, a legendary model and calligrapher, as her works are left behind at the scenes of her appearance.
The only issue you may come across would be the references to the previous novels so I recommend checking those out as well before reading this one. Otherwise, Without Within 3′s story is fairly standalone.
“Without Within 3” starts off as a nice down to earth adventure from the view of an inspiring calligrapher as she investigates the mystery while touring Singapore and Malaysia. Later in the story, however, you’ll find more to this ghost story than you’d expected.
Much like to another story of InvertMouse’s I’ve read (“The Last Birdling”) Kiki’s tale is one of an unlikely pairing of childhood friends and tragedy.
“Without Within 3” has only one course in its story so there aren’t any choices or multiple paths to follow.
The only user interaction in the novel is reading, but there are some links to videos (and a special page) to flesh out the sites Vinty explores.
As for the narration of the story, it reads as the narrators would normally recount the events, especially the depressing details.
The music also sets the mood, from the lighthearted to the somber scenes, as you read. The tracks that play during a scene where a link pops up make excellent background music for the videos as well.
The backgrounds for the scenery are simple though the CGs based on landmarks in Singapore are accurate to their real-life counterpart.
Crowds and other individuals mostly consist of silhouettes, Excelia’s cloned bodyguards, and one simplified comedy portrait that a key character deals with too often.
Vinty goes out-of-the-way to describe the people she comes across, though one of them has their own portrait in the novel (but you can’t help but love the guy).
The cast of interest, Vinty, Excelia, Kiki, and other key characters, have a unique fashion to them which helps give them an attractive design.
However, they were given some quirks to their designs to add to their personalities, such as Excelia’s disguise cap that somehow works on anyone that is not a calligrapher.
This novel may become serious at times but that’s not to say it wouldn’t get weird.
The visual novel hits its high marks when you get close to the end as the CGs start to paint an emotional tale of Kiki’s from what drove her into calligraphy to her last moments.
So when you put all of this together then you get a well written story that has a good amount of lightheartedness with tragedy that’ll lead to tears. Furthermore, in a way, these characters, despite being in the profession of calligraphy, are relatable.
Simply put, “Without Within 3” is a worthwhile read that (though you should be ready for some depressing ghost tales) should please both fans of the series and fans of visual novels in general.
+A well written visual novel about Vinty’s third misadventure and a heartbreaking tale of fame, friends, and art.
+Blend of great art, a soundtrack ranging from cheerful to somber, and InvertedMouse’s story telling creates an emotional read.
– You will be lost with references to the previous novels if you started the series here.
Replay value: 3/5
”Without Within 3” is a fantastic story about calligraphers, a mystery, and a touching tale where events can go from cheerful to heartbreaking.
You may feel tears welling up as you read the visual novel late in the story but if I could say one thing, crying isn’t a waste of energy.
Title: Without Within 3
Genre: Adventure, Tragedy Visual Novel
Resolution: 1578×888 Windowed
Release date: 2018-05-03
Difficulty: You may cry
Spent time: 5+ hours
Average grade internationally: 84.00% Gamerankings.com
PEGI/ESRB age rating: PEGI 16+/Teen
Price: $5.99 ($11.67 for Without Within 3: Complete Edition)
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
More by David Lucas:
Tags: Indie games, InvertMouse, PC games, PC review, Visual novel, Without Within, Without Within 3