The House in Fata Morgana PC Review by Lolinia – Developer: Novectacle – Publisher: MangaGamer – Genre: Visual Novel – Release Date: May 13, 2016
Come with me, my dear child. Shall I tell you a tale? No ordinary tale. This is a tale of love. A tale of delightful times. A tale of wondrous reunions. However, before we get there, despair with me, child. Cry for me. Be aghast with misery. Be showered in anguish for me! Let your torment and sorrow be awash with agony and grief. Suffer for all eternity at my side, my dear. I will tell you that tale, but through all that you must do to get it, there is but one thing you mustn’t do: Pray whatever you do, do not let go of my hand~
Now, I have to admit: that first paragraph starts out as a pretty dramatic, over-the-top opening for a game review. However, for a game as wonderfully well-crafted as The House in Fata Morgana, it’s by all-means appropriate. Developed by Novectacle and published by MangaGamer, The House in Fata Morgana (Fata Morgana) is a gratifyingly good visual novel. With solid artwork, intense storytelling, and delectable-to-the-ears music, Fata Morgana is without a doubt one of the best literary works of games I’ve ever read. It keeps you on your toes with mystery after mystery and then spoon-feeds you more and more until your mind’s stomach is full. Hey, whoever said you only had a Mind’s Eye, anyway? Whatever. What I do know, for certain, is that Fata Morgana is worth it. [Many thanks to MangaGamer for the review key!]
The background art is not the most detailed art you’ll ever see. In fact, it’s grainy like an oil painting on a canvas. Without too much detail, it allows your mind’s eye to create the details. The text adds a splash of detail, but the rest is up to you, the reader, to put into perspective. Personally, that is one of the best parts of Fata Morgana. The artwork gives you a foundation for what the world should look like and you paint the rest in your mind, letting imagination flow freely as you advance the text. The sprite art is, on the other hand, absolutely breathtakingly fantastic. You get a very clean, detailed look at what the characters are meant to look like. From the pale skin of the Maid to the ‘flaxen’ color of Mell’s and Nellie’s hair, you get a clear understanding of their faces and even body movements. Furthermore, concerning the artwork, the CGs are amazing. They are immersive in the fact that each CG reminds you of a piece of the story. While nothing is moving, the images are not static as many of them have facial expressions that change throughout the story. Some even have items that are not present in the original CG that are revealed later as the story goes on. In other words, the CGs are pretty dynamic. Artwork isn’t all that makes the game amazing, though.
The story, the telling of the story, everything about the story, is marvelous. Like the protagonist, you begin with nothing as you have no memories of the events of Fata Morgana. You meet a Maid who welcomes you back home as the Master of the house. From there, she takes you on a trip through the house to recover your memories. You see the lives of a flaxen-haired family, the downward spiral of a beast, and the lonely life of a rich, young man. However, these are not YOUR story. What is your story? What life did you live? How is that life in any way connected to what you were shown by the Maid? What’s going on? Why? Why? WHY?
The more you read the story of Fata Morgana, the more you want to know what happens next. I’ll be honest, the game is drama, with a side of drama, and a drink of drama, with drama pancakes, drama sausages, dramallama-dingdongs topped with drama sauce and spiced with drama on a drama cake. THERE IS A LOT OF DRAMA IN THIS GAME. Yet, the drama is not drama for the mere sake of drama. Everything in the story has its place. Everything. Even things you won’t remember until it’s mentioned again. Everything has its place and everything has its order. You do not choose what doors you go through as the game has the order predetermined by its superb storytelling. The mysteries present in the game all get answered in time.
With that said, though, you do get choices. There are a total of eight endings in Fata Morgana, not counting the bad end(s). Some of the choices are even quick time events where you must choose the choice in three seconds, or the game goes on without your choice. From a technical standpoint, that’s amazing; from a storytelling standpoint, that’s BLOODY BRILLIANT. It engages you into the story and makes it so your decisions have weight to them. Can you afford to wait? And if not, what is your choice? Or is your choice… silence? These kind of decisions make the player feel more as one with the protagonist as the story advances. The story takes you on a ride that doesn’t stop for bathroom breaks, picnics, or sightseeing. While not a kinetic novel, the road the game takes is one of straight roads and curved roads; it is a road of turns and cliffs. However, something that made the twists and turns of a straight road more bearable was definitely the music.
The music and soundscape in Fata Morgana is, without a shadow of doubt, truly excellent. Track after track of emotional, thought-provoking music evokes a sense of adventure as you read through the story. From upbeat, drum-beating tunes to emotional piano music, Fata Morgana’s soundtrack is astoundingly good. Though the game is without voices, that doesn’t take away from the sound at all. In fact, I believe that, same as the artwork, the lack of predetermined voices is what makes the sound reverberate in your mind so well. You create the voice you hear in your head and let your imagination do it for the game. It is that lack of detail that creates so much diversity in the game and creates detail as you read.
Moreover, the soundscape is intensified with many, many sound effects. Birds chirping, doors closing, carriages moving, people gossiping, and so, so many more sound effects are used to enhance the art and story. You can feel, at times, what time it is in the game by the sound effects. You hear the footsteps of an oncoming character; you hear the slashing of swords; you hear the [redacted] of the [redacted]. (Use your imagination after you read the game to put the words there. Hehe.) The sound effects in Fata Morgana really add depth and dimension to the game that would not be there with music alone.
Overall, The House in Fata Morgana is a tale of drama. Hardcore drama. Relatable drama. Saddening drama. Regretful drama. Love drama, hate drama, or if it doesn’t even matter to you, Fata Morgana tells its own story in its own way in its own time. Yes, it deals with some heavy subjects, subjects that I’ll discuss in greater detail down the road when I write up a story analysis of the game. The artwork is amazing. The music made me want the OST so badly. The story made it my current favorite game, so much so that I’m going to play it again as soon as my review is done. I want to go back into the game with the knowledge I’ve gained and see the story unfold again. See what surprises may be in store once more for the flaxen-haired siblings, the beast, and the rich, young man. I want to take the hand of the Maid once more and venture back into that world.
For the price of $24.99 on Steam ($34.99 for the Deluxe Edition) [and four cents cheaper for both on the MangaGamer website], The House in Fata Morgana is absolutely, completely, wholly, entirely, utterly, fully worth every penny. This is a visual novel that I can say that I would not want to change anything about it. I implore you, dear reader, whether you’re an intense fan of visual novels or don’t give two shits about them, give Fata Morgana a try. It is sincerely one of the best visual novels out there. Please, take that outstretched hand and do not let it go.
- Relatable characters
- Fiery music
- Great soundscape
- Top-tier artwork
- Intense storytelling
- [[White-Haired Girl’ing INTENSIFIES]]
Lolinia gives The House in Fata Morgana a Drastik Measure 10.0 out of 10.0 (100).
This has been a We Touch Games review