(Non-Otome Game Review) Visual Novel
Release Date: October 18, 2018 (North America)
Developers: WMY Studio
Publishers: WMY Studio, CIRCLE Ent., PM Studios
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
There is an urban legend…
Write down your troubles on a note and pray. A god shall hear your story as relayed.
People who believe in the legend live all over this world, in every shape and form. They write and pray to the gods, seeking help for their troubles.
A quiet nerd stuck in a hopeless crush.
An impoverished artist contemplating suicide.
A rookie police officer hoping for his first big case.
A young woman desperately chasing her dream.
Even a stray cat who would be satisfied with just some food to eat.
What would the world be like if such a god exists with the power to alter the fate of those that believe in this urban legend? What if, you are that god?
One day you wake up as a young goddess called, Myth who apparently lost all her memories. Clueless as to who you are and what’s going on, another god, Will, who takes the form of a dog fills you in with the deets. You learn that your job is to fix the problems of those (humans) who write you letters asking for aid.
As you go along the story, you’ll also get to discover the rules and limitations of your power when bending the fates and destinies of your mortal ‘clients’. Aight! This should be fun!
MECHANICS: Puzzles and Problem Solving
You’ll spend most of your time reading letters for the entirety of the game while thinking of ways to alter each situation that’ll give you the best possible outcome. To do this, you’ll either switch or re-arrange sections/portions of texts from one letter to another; by doing this (with your so-called magic pen), you’re changing the fates of the main characters giving them better end results.
You’re also given two options on how you want to play the game at the start. The Normal Mode gives you hints and clues in solving puzzles while Lunatic Mode doesn’t.
ART AND MUSIC
Although it’s not the shoujo–type art, I normally crave in visual novels (laughs), the artwork was nonetheless, fantastic for this game. I personally love the character designs and thought they were absolutely adorable, esp. my sons Jimmy and officer Chang. ( ´ ▽ ` )
The carefully curated bgms, blended perfectly with the game’s well-crafted atmosphere. I liked how each main characters have their own theme and while they’re not fully voiced, the game added pre-lap dialogues for each main cast, so you can hear them talk before you read their letters. The OP song, “Ω2πⱯ” was also one of my personal favorites as it did a great job laying out the game’s enigmatic vibe.
You can purchase the game’s complete soundtrack here.
Besides the two gods, Will and Myth who are in complete control of how each scenario move forward, you’ll also be following the lives of these main characters, all of which have very interesting story arcs.
- Chang Gyeong-Ming
- (Lieutenant) Kang Baek-Ya
- Li Wen
- Park Sang-gun
- Wen Zhaoren
(Note: More characters unlock as you progress in the story)
Rewriting One’s Fate Affects Another
‘Deduce and Decide’ ~ these are the most crucial points of the gameplay as your decisions either make or break the character’s goal, endgame or even fate ~ Who would’ve thought playing god can be so difficult!
It’s also fun to see how every story is somewhat interwoven and connected with another as you, later on, progress through its overarching plot. Ever heard of the butterfly effect? This game is kind of like that.
When I say ‘dark’… I mean it.
All of the main characters have their own unhappy (sometimes distressing) stories to tell that bring up different real-life issues. At first, the themes were rather minor and almost trivial. Issues that were presented in the beginning can come up as simple as helping a boy impress a girl at school to aiding a police officer make the best out of his first day on duty.
But as the letters pile up, you’ll eventually come across more serious problems which can sometimes lead to a crippling life or death predicament. Be warned, the stories get dark, pretty fast!
That said, this game is not for everyone. There were a few scenarios that tackled very sensitive subjects such as suicide, sex trafficking, mental illness, and child abuse. If these issues make you feel uncomfortable, you may need to think twice before picking this one up as the darker themes can be a little too much (for the faint of heart).
I personally, felt really uneasy going through Alicia’s arc in the beginning. This character cannot catch a break at all, and her route was becoming harder to swallow each episode.
But here’s one of the game’s major pros: These (sensitive) issues were dealt oh so well that it even took me by surprise! I was really impressed by how each of them ended up with a positive turn around. I’ve also enjoyed how the writers added humor to some of the depressing scenes. Most of the characters go waayyy deeper than I expected, they’re not boring so to speak and their development was really something to look forward to.
SYSTEM AND LOCALIZATION
I bought the Nintendo Switch copy of the game. The only problem I’ve had with it, the first time it came out in the e-shop was that it wouldn’t let me play on “docked mode” and the game will only load if you’re playing it hand-held. Thankfully, the developers fixed this bug a couple of days after its release and you should now be able to switch on either mode with no issues. The game also crashed twice for me, but thanks to its autosave mode, none of my progress was deleted.
The localization was pretty top-notch. Although WILL was published by Circle Entertainment, it was Sekai Project who provided its English translations. *tips hat to SP* ヽ(￣ω￣)
The N.Switch System was very straightforward and easy to navigate. While Nintendo doesn’t offer trophy systems, the game conveniently enough has its own achievement section for players who want to complete it by 100%.
It also offers a Dictionary section where you can read and view the vocabulary terms that were used in the game. Some entries come with illustrations, such as the example above. Look at that cute Ser Spotty plushie!
It took me a decent 20-25 hours to beat the entire game as there were a couple of instances where I had to go back and unlock other endings to see if the story branches out differently. Some of the puzzles can get a bit difficult and exhausting near the end that it certainly requires a lot of patience if you’re planning to clear this one out by a hundred percent (that means getting all the endings, completing all dictionary entries, and collecting all the CGs).
Take note that in this visual novel, giving the characters a “good ending” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the “best” for them.
WILL: A Wonderful World is not your average visual novel. Its unconventional mechanism of moving sections of texts from one story to another was quite engaging. I had fun experimenting on the countless possible outcomes for each of the in-game characters. Their stories were really good and the main casts’ development was immensely defined, they grow on you.
I should warn you though; the game gets aggressively heavy in tone as you progress. While I don’t really mind the hefty timbre of angst and sadness some story presented, I don’t think you should be playing this one blindly if you’re someone who’s easily triggered by the issues mentioned above.
Do I recommend this game? YES
WILL: A WONDERFUL WORLD is a narrative game with a twist, packed with unique puzzles and an incredible cast. If you’re a visual novel junkie like me, this game is an absolute gem and seriously a must-buy! I haven’t played a VN this interesting not to mention, emotionally heartrending in years. To me, WILL: A Wonderful World, was such a memorable experience, one that sticks to you like glue. I bought the digital copy of the game ($15.00) during its debut in the eshop and now that they’re releasing a physical version, I pre-ordered it again for the reason that it’s definitely one for the shelves and worth the collection.
I recommend picking this one up along with your fav. box of dark chocolates for the experience.😉