I decided to play this hoping it would be a spooky little title that could serve to get me in the mood for Halloween. Alas, it turned out to be another crappy piece of Steam shovelware.
Title: It Comes Around
Developer: Glass of Water Studios
Publisher: Afterthought Studios
Playtime: 1 hour
Buy It Comes Around here on Steam.
I received a review copy from the publisher.
It Comes Around is set in a Japanese high school where members of the Occult Club are getting taunted and killed off by a blood-covered girl, who may or may not be a fellow classmate who recently commited suicide, after performing a dangerous ritual to contact the dead.
There’s really nothing to recommend about this game. The one positive aspect is the art; I liked the sprites (despite them all strangely facing in the same direction) and thought their design was well-suited to a horror game, reminding me somewhat of Corpse Party. The CGs, while very few, were also quite good, and the music is decently atmospheric. That’s where the positive points end, though.
The story is a pretty standard Japanese curse plot, but that in itself isn’t a negative; I don’t think every VN has to have a strikingly original plot filled with twists and turns, and even mundane or cliché stories can be extremely enjoyable if they’re well-written. Unfortunately, the writing here is bad. Some of the descriptive paragraphs are alright, but the grammar is dodgy throughout, the dialogue is laughably terrible, and there are parts that make very little sense. Characterization is non-existant so we’re never given a reason to care about any of the students. Also, during the beginning of the game the characters are supposedly communicating via text message, which isn’t at all clear in the writing as their language is exactly the same as their spoken dialogue.
I’ve said before in other reviews that a visual novel has to succeed at both the visual and novel parts, and, I would argue, the majority of that effort should be in the novel bit as the player will mostly be reading, especially in a kinetic novel like this where there are no choices. I actually liked some of the ideas in the plot, even if they didn’t tie together particularly well, but if you can’t write clean, engaging prose then your visual novel is just not going to be enjoyable. Sorry.
Even if you don’t put as much stock as I do in the text, the game is very shoddily put together; there’s not even a CG gallery. The font is ugly and hard to read. Transitions don’t feel smooth. Maybe it’s because I’ve just finished one of ebi-hime‘s games, which are always so professionally put together, but to see this lack of effort in a commercial game really galls me. I don’t like giving negative reviews, but the more lacklustre OELVNs I play, the harsher I feel I have to come down on them. That being said, I don’t think any developer of a game I review negatively should give up – I just want them to improve and work towards lifting the unfortunately low standards OELVNs currently rest at.
However, that doesn’t change my conclusion that, overall, this is a lazy and bad game that isn’t worth the money, no matter how cheap it is.