Fault Milestone One was one of the first visual novels which Sekai Project was able to successfully fund a localization for via Kickstarter. With a downright measly $5,000 goal they easily smashed it – raising $34,662 in all. What are the basic facts about this game? For one, it’s a visual novel. Secondly, this also happens to be the very first episode of a planned series (hence the “one” in its title). With that information out of the way let’s dig in.
The game begins on an incredibly dramatic note. A cast of young-looking women are terrorizing a town in attempts to flush out and murder its Princess. As we quickly learn, the Princess seems nowhere to be found – but her royal guard Ritona steps in to stop the attackers. Players are quickly introduced to manakravte which is basically a broad spectrum of magical powers people in this world utilize in many ways. Of course, one application is warfare! Unfortunately, Ritona is pushed into a situation she can no longer control so she summons the Princess and warps away with her. This warp places the two in a completely random location – which turns out to be dangerous in its own ways.
As should be immediately apparent from this description, Fault Milestone One is heavily steeped in its own lore. Outside of a few tongue-twisting terms it’s not that hard to comprehend, though! This fantastical medieval tale weaves in concepts of science versus magic (or faith, depending on your interpretation), culture shock, and familial drama. Although we just barely get to learn about the characters each quickly becomes a friendly face (or worrisome threat). Sure, they do kind of fall into tropes, but not enough so that it becomes completely dull. The situation everyone’s involved in is strong enough to create unique circumstances.
Writing is of huge importance in a visual novel – in fact it is probably the most important aspect. The story is told effectively and with enough flourish to be an enjoyable read. There were some typographical errors but these were few and far between. It’s nice to see this being the case with a script that lasts anywhere from 3 to 8 hours depending on your reading speed. For me, it took 6 with auto text forwarding about 3/4th to max speed. The most unfortunate thing about Fault Milestone One is that it ends on a massive cliffhanger. If for some reason Fault Milestone Two never came out I would be totally pissed!
Art is a second important aspect of visual novels since, well, you’re looking at images while reading. Personally, I find the anime art style very appealing. Everything has a nice colorful sheen and costumes in particular look both fashionable and fantastical. Some have pointed out proportion issues on characters, but honestly it was not something my eyes caught before it was mentioned. There is no voice acting in the game, but strong writing helps sidestep this lacking feature.
Fault Milestone One is a lovely tidbit of a story which you might be able to finish in a day. Just know that if you sit down with it you’re effectively committing toward the whole series. That ending is just too much – you’ll need to know what happens next.