Tales From Windy Meadow – PC Review

Genre: Adventure, Indie
Developer: Moral Anxiety Studio
Publisher: Moral Anxiety Studio
Release Date: Dec 21, 2018
Edited by KnightAvenger

Tales From Windy Meadow is a 2018 visual novel developed and self-published by Moral Anxiety Studio. It is about the lives of three specific and different villagers in Windy Meadow and how they deal with the problems they are facing but also about what decisions they will make in a very turbulent and important part of their lives. But it is also about many, if not all, of their neighbors and how the decisions of the three characters will affect them as well as the village itself.

It may seem like an action-heavy story from the description I just gave, but it really is not. The game is set up in such a way that there are four chapters the player has to go through, with the fourth chapter being locked until the first three are completed in whichever order the player wants to complete them. The story takes place over a span of about four days, with all three chapters covering the same time frame but just focusing on different characters, as those characters go through a mostly slice-of-life story in which the main characters have to make decisions about their lives. Those decisions are done in the simple and classic visual novel style of just showing a couple options on the screen. The game follows an ADV format, with the textbox being at the bottom and the character sprites being above it, superimposed over a background.

The stories the characters go through, as I said, are pretty slice-of-life in nature, and each character is very distinct, nicely developed and interesting to play as. Fabel is an aspiring bard that is unable to use his legs to move around, so he uses a small cart to move everywhere. Vena is a huntress who was given an opportunity to go to the big city to work as a hunter there, for much better pay and living standards, but is rightfully apprehensive about it due to the situation her family is in. Finally, Ludicia is a herbalist, which, in the context of this game, is basically a doctor or a healer. She has to decide whether to marry a rich man she is not in love with and whether to forgive her parents for all but outright abandoning her as a child due to her problems with social interactions because she seemingly has some form of autism, possibly Asperger’s. As they were unable to raise her, her parents gave her to the old herbalist to care for her and also teach her the herbalist trade. It is nice to have at least two people with difficulties in society, as those kinds of stories are very rare, especially for the visual novel genre.

Each of them has their own thoughts about certain villagers and gives those opinions if you hover the mouse over the villager’s name while playing as one of the main characters. The fourth chapter is when the final decisions are made by each character and you do not follow any of them specifically but rather all of them at the same time, in a way. This chapter is also where the consequences of all the choices made so far are shown and revealed. There are no specific routes or different overall endings but becase different choices can be made, there are different consequences that one can experience, and it is worth it to replay the game again to see the other possible consequences for the characters as well as to get all the Steam achievements.

Getting through the game a second time is much quicker than the first time, as this is a visual novel, after all, and there is a skip button for all the dialogue already seen. The backgrounds and characters are done in a pretty 90’s Sierra Point & Click Adventure style with the pixel art. Obviously, the same art style is still often used, even in modern Point & Click Adventures which have nothing to do with Sierra any more, but that is the best reference point for the graphics I could remember. One cool and impressive thing is that the characters are actually animated and it’s even more impressive this was done in Ren’py. Even though the game is made in Ren’py, due to how well the engine seems to have been utilized, it is not even obvious at all that it was made in it. Usually, with games made in Ren’py, it is quite obvious right from the start.

I mentioned earlier that a second playthrough with the skip button is much quicker than the first one, which is obvious, as that is the case for basically every visual novel ever. But even so, it would not take very long to play through it the second time without skipping anything, as the game is very short, taking me only about three hours to finish my playthrough of it. There is no voice acting, and due to how short the game is, despite there not being very many songs in the soundtrack, it was still a pretty enjoyable sound design.

All in all, it’s a very enjoyable game and one that I very much recommend to anyone interested in western-made visual novels, great stories about people, some of whom have disabilities, making decisions that will affect their whole lives, and all that in a very short and quick to get through package. For only a couple hours worth of content, a price of $6.59 (USD) on Steam might be a bit of a contentious point to some, but I would say it’s worth it. When it comes to this game, the length doesn’t really matter, as it’s a very nice experience overall.

Pros:

  • Beautiful visual aesthetic
  • Short but nice soundtrack
  • Excellent writing
  • Well developed and distinct characters

Mileage May Wary:

  • It’s pretty short

Cons:

  • The price might be a bit high for some

Faris gives Tales From Windy Meadow a Drastik Measure of 9.1 out of 10(91)

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