There are three elements that made me notice this game:
First off, an EVN that takes place in Belgium. Oh my! This made me at the same time ridiculously happy and a bit nervous to play the game. Unfortunately, the location doesn't really play an important role in the story. More about that later.
Secondly: vampires! Now, I know from experience that when something contains vampires I will either like it or, well, the opposite. To give a book related example: Let The Right One In is still a book that I love to reread, The House of Night series… not really my thing. For some reason I tend to have strong opinions on most vampire related works. So I was really curious to see how this one turned out.
And last but not least, it was made by Cyanide Tea! They just happen to be one of my current favorite EVN teams. I loved Ristorante Amore, one of their earlier games. It was a well written and entertaining visual novel with great art and a rather interesting plot twist. Their other finished game, The Elevator showed us that they can successfully execute a totally different genre. I must also confess that I have been wishing upon a star, like dreamers do, that they will release Break Chance Memento soon. Can you guess which Disney movie I recently watched while babysitting? Anyway, I am a bit of a Cyanide Tea fan. Consequently, my expectations for this game were of course rather high.
Before reading this review, you should probably know that JP also discussed this game in the fourteenth episode of Sound Off. I have not listened to this episode yet, since I didn't want it to influence my review. I do not know if our opinions match, or even what he and Cyanide Tea’s Lorelei discussed.
Vampires are an incredibly popular theme in all kinds of romantic fiction. That includes otome games, like Vampire Sweetie, Princess Nightmare and, the very popular and highly controversial, Diabolik Lovers. Maybe it’s because of the forbidden, dark aspect, or maybe it’s just because vampires are forever young, immortal beings. Anyway, it’s not the most original concept, but the execution of the story is of course more important.
One original element, that I noticed immediately, is the setting. Japan and America are probably the most common countries used in EVNs. Unfortunately, the location seems to be chosen at random. There is no real reason why the action takes place in Belgium. We don’t even get to see much of it, since almost the whole game takes place inside the vampire’s castle. At first glance, I also thought that the way the title was written was a spelling mistake, since the Dutch, one of the official Belgium languages, translation of nightingale is nachtegaal. It took me a while to realize that it’s actually a German form of nightingale used for surnames. German is also an official Belgian language, by the way. So, my mistake!
Miranda, the main character, isn't your typical bland otome heroine. She has a clearly defined personality. She’s quite a likable character since she’s incredibly optimistic, upbeat and funny. However her overly cheery attitude seems a bit unrealistic, considering the dire circumstances she’s in. In fact the whole cheery, light tone of the game seems to be in sharp contrast with the fact that the story talks about a girl who’s kept prisoner in a castle by two vampires who will most likely kill her.
The vampires in question are very fascinating. In certain instants they manage to fool Miranda, and us with her, into thinking that they are almost human like and harmless. However, suddenly something will happens that reminds us that, no, they really aren't human at all. The contrast is very well done and manages to be quite creepy.
In fact the whole game has a creepy undertone. The way I see it, there are two very different interpretations possible. You can see it as a light tale of a young heroine who, because of her optimistic and caring nature, manages to brighten the lives of two lonely young man and finds love in the process. The kind of story that is pure wish fulfillment .
However, it’s also possible to view it as a deeply disturbing tale about a young woman who finds herself taken prisoner by two inhuman beings and desperately tries to finds a way to cope with the situation. In this interpretation Miranda’s optimism could almost be a form of denial and her taking care of her captors can be seen as a way to try to avoid their anger. Eventually she succumbs to Stockholm syndrome and her captors seem to suffer from Lima Syndrome.
Maybe I’m over thinking it, because the whole 'falling in love with your slightly abusive captors' thing makes me feel a bit uneasy. Maybe it just is a romantic and lighthearted game, but two of the endings, that are quite scary and disturbing, make me think otherwise. Anyway, everyone should interpret the story in the way they want.
However it may be, the story really sucked me in, which is something that all good stories manage to do. My only real complaint is that the game is quite short. I feel like some elements in it, especially the romance, might have benefited from more development.
Presentation And Gameplay
The CGs were gorgeous. They really helped enchant the story. The progression of Miranda’s relationship with her chosen guy was perfectly reflected in the images. They were also in harmony with the text and captured the emotions that the characters experienced well. Some of them, from certain endings, managed to give me the chills, the bad kind. Well, the good bad kind to be exact, if that even makes any sense.
A bit of nitpicking, but in Luca’s last CG his face did look a bit off. And one of Adrain’s CGs that was supposed to look menacing made me giggle a bit. It’s just that the expression on his face and his whole posture looked kind of over the top.
I loved the design of the game menu. The cursor was fancy, but still practical. It formed a coherent whole with the rest of the game.
I don’t really know what to say about the music. I have a feeling that I keep repeating myself in every review, when I talk about this subject. In brief, the music was free source, but that didn't change the fact that it was quite nice to listen to and fit the game well.
My big frustration with this game where the technical issues. So many technical issues! Seriously this game did his best to make me quit in despair. It constantly froze on me and loved to send me error messages. The skip function was also incredibly moody and decided at random if it wanted to work or not. I did like the fact that here was a quicksave and quickload option, though.
I honestly can’t say which ending I liked better, so I’ll probably replay the whole game eventually. Maybe next Halloween?
Sure there were things that I didn't like as much, but overall playing this game was a really fun experience . It also gave me a nice way to pass the time while I’m waiting for a certain other game. I really need to wish harder on that star.
In brief, I recommend this VN to all otome gamers out there. Or at least to the ones that don’t mind a bit of a creepy undertone. It’s a pay what you want-ware game, so please pay a just price for this lovely game, if you can. If not, you can still support them by spreading the word.
+The game was both funny and creepy
+ Good presentation and lovely art style
+The different characters, including the MC, where interesting
- The game was a bit too short for the development the story needed
- Technical difficulties