Featured Picture from Steam
This visual novel, Café 0 ~The Sleeping Beast~, by roseVeRte was published in 2016. I played this game right after the “Drowned Mermaid”, and I must say this follow up of a visual novel is a big improvement. This is a story about a cold-hearted maid, Corliss Green, of a noble family that is sent back by time to uncover a mystery that will help them move onto the afterlife. The main mystery being: Who is the sleeping beast that should be feared?
One would get sucked into the story fast because art is very crisp and pleasing to the eyes, the characters and their interactions have a good chemistry, and the soundtrack is good in building up the atmosphere.
Going more into detail about the strong points of this game:
For the narrative and game mechanics, they worked well hand in hand delivering the full experience of the mystery genre a player would look for. You start off with four routes that you go through in any order to unlock the true route.
What this visual novel does differently is that you only need to make two choices to be set in a route. And the hints to understand the story better is related to the theme of the route. There was one route that was quite uncomfortable to go through because it involved romance, but it did not go overboard. After unlocking all the routes to get through the true route, there is a section where all the hints are organized in the proper timeline occurred in the past.
It is interesting to look back at the clues that you picked up throughout the story, before the last piece to the story is revealed, because it is rewarding. It doesn’t fall into the problem trope of “tell, not show” since Corliss also describes her true thoughts in a way that the reader would also pick up that she is truly an unfeeling in the start. You can also see the development of the characters unfold into a relationship that makes the story more compelling, making it worth investing your time and emotions.
The few disappointments I encountered with this game would its background art, conclusion of the story. The quality of the background art also seemed lacking when stacked up with the character art. The rooms looked so bare for a noble’s room, and the details of the other objects were severely lacking that even the dodge tool couldn’t compensate.
Another factor that fell short with me was the unveiling of the mystery (being who is the beast in the house) at the ending in the true route. It was disappointing because it was the central conflict of the whole story when the unveiling of events make you think “how could people interpret the events into the myth people have believed for 15 years”. This is a part where I feel that it was fatal leaving the action dependent to the voice acting and not just the words.
By the very end of the true route, the protagonist is left with 3 choices where only 2 of the choices really made a difference. It was interesting seeing more than 1 possible ending because they were written in character, however there is.
To sum up my points:
+ Great character art
+ Good voice acting
+ Fitting soundtrack
+ well- rounded narrative
+ nice buildup of atmosphere
+ good character writing
~generic setting of environment (some European village in the middle ages)
-narrative end left a weak impression
Overall score: 9/10
This is a game that is good to start with for people that haven’t played from roseVaRte yet. Personally, what enhances the experience would be playing it after the previous release Café 0 ~Drowned Mermaid~.