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7'scarlet Review

Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

7'scarlet is an intriguing visual novel full of character and mystery, developed by TOYBOX and Idea Factory, and published by Intragames. You play as Ichiko Hanamaki, a young woman who ventures to the remote town of Okunezato in search of her missing brother. Once you arrive in the crescent-moon-shaped town, you soon discover that there is more to it than meets the eye.

DEEP MYSTERIES

When first starting out, all routes except for that of your childhood friend Hino and Okunezato’s resident chef Isora are locked. Though you might not be able to pursue your intended bachelor right away, these two routes help you to find important clues that will allow you to slowly piece together the mystery of what has happened to your brother and help the events in later routes fall into place. Each route builds on the last, dropping hints, clues, and subtle foreshadowing with every path you take. From this, 7'scarlet is able to expertly weave a deeply entangled mystery full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing right up until the very end.

Your missing brother isn’t the only intriguing mystery presented, either. As you get to know the town residents and learn about the myths and legends of Okunezato, more and more mysterious circumstances are unearthed. From the town mascot that can be found wandering the streets late at night, to whispers of the dead coming back to life as revenants, you’ll find that there are many threads to unravel and there is rarely a dull moment. You're quickly drawn in and prompted to keep playing until you discover the answer to each and every cryptic question.

UNIQUE STORYLINES

In order to fully solve the mystery of your brother’s disappearance, you must play through all of the bachelors’ routes. Though these paths do overlap at times, each individual storyline is uniquely memorable and well worth the moments of forced replay. There are also multiple endings for each bachelor (adding in some nice variety to the storylines), powerful consequences for your choices, and some future replay value to see what each ending entails. The bachelors themselves also manage to stand out from one another and are well-crafted, ultimately distinguished by their charming personalities, detailed backstories, fleshed out motivations, and voice acting.

GAMEPLAY

In terms of actual gameplay mechanics, there is unfortunately not much there. You can make important decisions that alter the ending and pick choices that raise your affinity with your chosen bachelor, but beyond that 7'scarlet sticks to the visual novel format and consists mostly of reading. However, the vast amount of choices presented easily overcome the lack of gameplay elements, as you always feel in control of the story. The beautiful art style, sound effects, and music also help to enhance the title and create a fuller gameplay experience overall. 

TECHNICAL ISSUES

As compelling as the mysteries and storylines are, 7'scarlet does suffer from a few technical issues. I experienced a crash during almost every hour of playing. There was no warning, and no error message — just the game suddenly evaporating. This can be quite frustrating, especially if you have not saved recently and have to replay long stretches of content. In that same vein, the controls to save your progress feel odd and are never openly disclosed to the player. Thinking that it autosaved, due to the lack of instructions given, I ended up having to fully restart the initial storyline twice before finding out from the Steam discussion boards that you have to press C to bring up the save menu.

7

The Verdict: Great

A beautiful and well-crafted visual novel, 7'scarletexcels at storytelling and manages to create a compelling mystery full of shocking twists and turns. While it does suffer from a few frustrating technical issues and a lack of gameplay elements, it is redeemed by its many choices and is a must have for mystery and visual novel lovers.

Jade Swann
Written by
Friday, 05 April 2019 05:10
Published in Adventure

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Jade Swann is an avid video game player and fiction writer. She loves getting lost in open-world RPG’s, making tough choices in story-driven games, and is a big fan of the horror genre. Some of her favorite games include Fallout 3, Fallout 4, Skyrim, Planet Coaster, and The Sims 4. When not immersed in the world of video games, she can be found reading, writing, or spending time with her very lazy Boston Terrier.

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