Oh my god I'm in love.
L O V E.
Ive played a lot of good visual novels. and a lot of mediocore visua novels. and a lot of just downright BAD visual novels. And Ive never left a review fro any of them, prefering to keep the magic of the game and not think of the development process. But I just had to write a review for this one. Its a truely well written story that uses the platform of visual novel storytelling and choices perfectly. I played the demo, and saw the potential but as it wasnt super long I was just optimistic and promptly forgot about it, until just now. IM SO GLAD I REMEMBERED. Over all I loved it, but there a few shining things Id like to highlight.
--The use of placement of the characters avatars wasused so well within this game. Often invisual novels, devs make the mistake of just making facial expressions change or putting alot of trouble into making them breathe or blink to ake them feel real. While your characters showed only four or so facial experresions they felt as if the were moving and alive due to their placement! When Groriu would be outnumbered in an arguement he would be off to his own on the screen while the others would be togetherr, visually showing the situation without being overly complicated. It was an excelent use of the basics of visual novel set up that I see underused very often and it truly breathed life into the story.
--The originality and length of the story. Pacin was wonderful, it was long enough to leave me satisfied but also had good pacing and didnt feel drawn out or rushed. It was also an original story, which I havent found in a while, a rare treasure.
--Which leads to the lore and world building. I reallt do believe that that made this game. Their is so much well thought out lore and world building that occurs throughout the game and it was slowly introduced as we learned with Makani about the other species, not just being thrown everything at once
To answer the questions you had though:
-Who is your favorite character and why? Groriu. Hands down. I love the snark/sarcastic characters in most stories but Groriu managed to be a snarky sarcastic mess, that was believable AND not just outright cruel AND he had other traits otherr than vitriol. I loved him in a romantic way, and wanted to know more about him from the get go. Also just that character design. Woof, A+. I also loved my siblings, and Kamekt. Vane had to grow on me I'll be honest, but thats more of a personal preference than anything. By end game I felt protective and proud of the little squish ball.
--What was your favorite moment from the game?
Thats a hard one but I really liked the lore between and about Grorius species. I might have helped that he was my favorite but I really liked the whole journey in the deep ocean.
--Any advice or critique I should keep in mind for the sequel/other future games? (other than having more reasonable release goals)
I loved that romance was a secondary thought (it can be annoying if its not an option but equally annoying if it is the sole concern of a story). However I do feel it was a little rushed at the end? If there could have been a little more of hinting at it throughout the game. For example groriu goes from thinking of you as sister to a possible lver the moment the romance epilouge was started. I enjoyed it non the less but some minor scenes troughout the middle once they were friends would have made it less jarring.
--Any other comments/concerns?
Im sorry if I misspelled anyones names. Thank you so much for this gem. Im sorry I cant donate right now, (moving and finishing college has made my wallet cry out in mercy) but plan to once Im financially more stable. Would a sequel be about these characters or a whole different group? At this point Id play anything you make, but Im curious.
Thank you for satisfying my need for a good story, this was a gift.
P.s I'm almost certainly making fanart for this, I need to escape to this world little longer ;)