WAS -the Hourglass of Lepidoptera- PC review by Lolinia of We Touch Games – Developer: SRL – Publisher: Sekai Project – Genre: Visual Novel
Before we get started with the review, lemme say that I think it’s obvious from the type of games that I mostly review that I enjoy visual novels and anime, in general. I really, really, really, really, really, really like visual novels and anime. This is one of those games that makes me want an anime of it greatly. As I went through what happened, it felt like if I stepped away from the computer, a whole episode might pass me by when the action really started to roll in. In fact, while I was streaming the game, a fellow We Touch Games writer, Bijouxdemon, stepped away for a bit and when she returned, she said that she felt like she had “missed two episodes of an anime” upon her return to the Twitch chat. I’m also still looking forward to more WAS in the future. For now, though, let’s continue onto the review.
Also, there are very slight spoilers.
WAS -the Hourglass of Lepidoptera- (WAS, for short) is a choice-driven visual novel developed by SRL and published by Sekai Project. It starts ten years after a war that has caused an entire area of Japan to become slum-ish. So much so that it’s known as “The Slums”. That is where our story mostly takes place. Tadayoshi wakes up in the middle of a church room having been mysteriously dumped into the slums of Japan. He promptly finds out from the nun of the church that he’s not only been pronounced dead, but his dead counterpart was an adult and not his 16-year-old self!
After learning that he cannot return to his previous lifestyle, Tadayoshi must decide between persevering in his current state and going down a path in which he finds out something about himself that he never dreamed. Along with his fiancé Nina, Rosary the Nun, the children of the church, and the “Mad Dog of the Slums” Rin, Tadayoshi’s life may have ended to the world, but his journey has only just begun! … That’s sort of how the game ended, too. Literally. Nothing in that description of the game leads to any kind of conclusion and it’s open-ended as heck. Much like the ending of this game.
Mind you, I love this game’s storyline. It’s got a solid opening and builds up tension very well. It makes you want to read it very much. I love the story and how it builds up. However, the open-ended ‘conclusion of WAS lacks any sort of real conclusion. Not only that, but after all that goes on, all that I personally felt that I got from the game was a lesson on how to say blue, green, and butterfly in Latin. It feels like the entire game was a bad end, but it’s a good end. (In VN terms, people. Again, I want to reiterate that I very much love the story.) In the story’s current state, I was left with a thousand more questions than answers.
On the other hand, character development was handled extremely well. What the game lacks in absolute conclusion, it made up in Tadayoshi’s interactions with just about everyone who was introduced, including the main villain for most of the last half of the game. Maybe it was the fact that at some time before the game’s start, his character died (technically), but Tadayoshi’s interactions with the cast creates contrast and growth for him and the others that you don’t expect. At the beginning, you do not expect to see him get along with the slum dwellers. You don’t expect him to get along whatsoever with Rin. You don’t expect him to become the big brother that the church kids need in their life. Tadayoshi starts off as a spoiled, little rich kid and ended up becoming the kind of person you would like as the main character in a visual novel. He ended up being a complete role model of how you can change your life no matter what the circumstances. Seeing the game through his perspective was definitely a good thing.
Another good thing about WAS definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY was the art. HOLY BALLS did this art make me want to have babies with it. And by babies, I mean a manga series, anime series, light novels, dakimakura, kigurumi, action figures, etc, etc. The art style, while not overly detailed, fit the story and characters so well. The characters’ faces are so expressive and the scenes are beautifully executed. Colors are vivid and the butterfly movie scenes were done very well. What, you though I meant…. u so ecchi…
To compliment the character development and art, the music in WAS also did not disappoint. Even though the soundtrack is not large and the songs do tend to repeat a bit much, it’s not ear-hurting bad at all. Not only that, but the songs do fit the scenes very well. I very much want the soundtrack as a possible low-cost DLC in the Steam store at some point in time. Sadly, the music was the almost the only thing I liked about the audio.
When a game is listed as “fully-voiced”, you do not expect it to be partially-voiced. When you start the game, you get surprised with one thing you rarely get in a visual novel: The main character you are playing HAS A VOICE. That is actually a huge and very good thing. However, after the first cut scene, the voices stop. And then start. And then stop. Repeat ad nauseam. Furthermore, not all the audio is studio quality or is even has the levels properly balanced. Normally, I wouldn’t mind these mishaps if this was an early-access title. You expect incomplete features in an early access game because it’s early access. WAS isn’t listed as an early access title, though. It was released as a full game, with you expecting all the features when you buy it. While it has been stated by the publisher that the missing audio will be added in as time goes by, for the first-time buyer, this game’s status as a full game is a blatant lie.
Overall, did I enjoy this game? Yes, very much. I loved the game and want more. Would I buy a sequel? Yes. Like I said, I enjoyed the game. Would I recommend it to others as the game is now? No. I felt cheated out of my money because of the lack of features (or should I rather say the partiality of the features) and wish I could get some of that money back. Would I return the game via Steam Refund if I could? No. I have faith that the partial features will become full features, one day.
WAS -The Hourglass of Lepidoptera- was a fun read. I enjoyed the character development and interactions. The facial expressions and movements were funny and very immersive. I definitely like how the game developed and would love to see it move pass where it is. For the price of $17.99 on Steam, I regretfully cannot recommend the game to you as it is currently. I would personally wait until news of the games fully-voiced version. However, if you enjoy a good story, do get the game. The art and story (although cut off short) really did immerse me into the world and move my heart. I don’t regret supporting the developers by buying this game, whatsoever.
Lolinia gives WAS -The Hourglass of Lepidoptera- a Drastik Measure 5.1 out of 10.0 (51).
I didn’t let it affect my review too much, but where the fuck was the QC team on some of the text? Like, seriously. This is the best example. Just read and stare at it and it’s obvious what’s wrong. This isn’t the only example. It’s not even the only time with this example. :/