True story: the moment I finished this game, I could literally only sit completely still. only able to say “What?!” repeatedly in falsetto for almost a minute. Even now, I’m still resisting the urge to just have my review be comprised of the words “WHAT IS THIS GAME?!”, as it’s likely that my reaction is more based on the fact I didn’t bother to check the plot synopsis of the game and got a lot of stuff I didn’t expect as a result.
So, with that out of the way, let’s look into Written in the Sky. It’s a visual novel by Unwonted Studios (their second game, but first to make it onto Steam: their first game, if you’re wondering, is titled Sickness and is available for free on their website), a fairly new studio in terms of the visual novel scene due to having only formed this year. They have members around the world and the members have contributed to other visual novels in addition to the ones for the studio (including Without Within 2). This game is a VERY noticeable change in genre from their first visual novel, as Sickness is a visual novel involving the protagonist becoming a killer for hire to look after his sister while Written in the Sky is a visual novel involving an ordinary highschool girl finding a ring which makes her the king of Mars and having lesbian sex with the queen of Mars, who is a half-Martian half-Venusian and doesn’t really understand the reproductive cycle as well as she thinks she does.
…OK, as an occasional writer myself, I think the basic plot of that visual novel is actually not that bad. Heck, a story of a person who is promoted to being a ruler of a place after having lived as an everyday person of another place is hardly a new story, so it can be done well. Unfortunately, the story here has just about every cliche you can think of for this type of story and seems to prefer to give a weak explanation for things which are genuinely good questions rather than try to actively answer them (I still fail to see how Azure can breath on Mars, even after the explanation provided!). It also adds in elements in an attempt to make the story better, but they aren’t integrated very well into the story, leaving questions that really should have been answered (for example, how Sienna can breath on Earth isn’t even discussed!). It really says a lot that the sex scene is the longest scene in the whole visual novel, going on for several minutes and being so full of detail on the contents of the scene that you can kind of tell that it’s where the most effort went into the writing, which would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that it just goes on for too long. By the end of it, I was actually kind of relieved it was over because I’d stopped finding it interesting to read! And then, to pretty much end the visual novel off on a low note…that’s pretty much the last major scene in the visual novel.
Seriously: you get a brief scene between Azure and Sienna before Azure goes off to rule Mars, a brief scene afterwards with them talking about being prepared for a war and that’s it. I wouldn’t mind so much if it was a long visual novel, but I got through it in less than half an hour, and I wasn’t exactly rushing through it! So yeah, the plot isn’t particularly great, the writing is flawed and it isn’t an especially long visual novel. The visuals are not too bad, I guess, but I spent most of the school scenes being reminded of Hatoful Boyfriend, for some bizarre reason.
Overall, I just don’t feel that this visual novel was handled properly. There was a lot that could have been done to make this much better overall, but the opportunities were ignored and what we’re left with is a visual novel which only really exists to have a lesbian sex scene in an visual novel. Is this necessarily a bad thing? Probably not, but, after playing stuff like Without Within, Rising Angels: Reborn and Voices from the Sea, I have come to expect more from my visual novels, with stuff like interactivity and a plot which at least feels like it is trying to be different from everything else coming high on my list. There probably are people out there who would enjoy Written in the Sky, but I can’t say that I personally would recommend it, being honest.