by Marcus Estrada
[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou might recall Voices from the Sea thanks to its successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year. Zeiva Inc. raised $4000 for the visual novel not only to fund its creation but also allow it to be released as freeware! Guess what? Only eight months after the campaign they’ve released the game. Players can either download the title or play it right in their own browser at no cost. Let’s dive right in with Voices from the Sea and see what it’s all about.
In this visual novel players see the world from the perspective of Cantus. Cantus is a 13 year old boy who appears to be really unhappy with the world around him. School is boring, people are annoying, and he even tunes out his own mother. If you don’t remember what it was like to be 13, well, this is a pretty strong reminder for many of us. Every day he is sure to keep his headphones on so that nobody bothers him. This changes one day as he sits at his quiet hideaway – the beach. Suddenly, a young girl calls out to him and he responds.
She reveals her name is Maris and, for no apparent reason, continues to talk to Cantus. He doesn’t understand why but he allows her attention into his otherwise closed off world. By the end of their first meeting she even makes him a promise: She will make Cantus smile in a week’s time. This would be a huge change given his current, sour demeanor. Regardless, the two continue to meet at the beach as the story progresses.
As you would likely expect from a visual novel, Voices from the Sea has a lot of dialogue and exposition. It also keeps things interesting by offering branching dialogue each day. There are only ever two choices, but it’s fun to try both out. There’s no “wrong” choice either as you’ll just be allowed to select the second choice right afterward. This is a huge plus for someone like me who enjoys seeing what every dialogue option brings to a game’s storyline.
Voices from the Sea flabbergasted many with its gorgeous visuals on Kickstarter and it still does in the finished release. The anime art looks very clean, bright, and pretty as opposed to more rigid art in some visual novels. There is even a lovely little animated intro sequence! It’s worth nothing that when I resized the download version’s window that the art became a bit “pixelated,” though. And sure, there were a few grammatical issues as well, but nothing too unsightly.
All in all it took me about 45 minutes to play but depending on your reading speed that could go from 30 minutes to an hour of playtime. However, if you want to know more about the story there are side stories available. These, as well as some downloadable wallpapers, were created as a perk for Kickstarter backers. If you choose to upgrade to the Plus version it’ll cost you $5. Voices from the Sea is a character-focused visual novel that’s both short and sweet. Because of both being free and quick to play I’d suggest genre fans give it a read.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/marcus.jpg”]Marcus is a fellow with a love for video games, horror, and Japanese food. When he’s not writing about games for a multitude of sites, he’s usually still playing one. One day when he became fed up with the way sites would ignore niche titles he decided to start his own site by the name of Pixel Pacas. Writing about video games is something he hopes to continue doing for many years to come. Some of Marcus’s favorite games include Silent Hill 2, Killer7, and The Sims. [/author]