The rise of localized otome titles on Steam and elsewhere has been one of the more interesting results of the visual novel boom. It’s hard to deny that female audiences are under-served to some extent by existing games, particularly when it comes to female gamers who aren’t part of the core gaming set, so the increased production of games like Amnesia: Memories and Hakuoki might be a good way to access an untapped user base.
We’ve got yet another of these delightful games here today with This World Unknown from Ebi-hime, creator of similar VNs like Asphyxia and Strawberry Vinegar. Unlike Strawberry Vinegar, there’s not nearly as much food porn here; that’s a shame, since I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
We follow Rhea the nurse, a peasant who’s not all that well-versed in the world outside her village, though there’s talk of a war with neighboring Eressia. That’s not really a big deal to Rhea, who mostly spends her time at the clinic and in church. She’s actually a bit of a peculiar protagonist as she lacks the sort of inquisitive personality that usually defines video game heroines. Rhea’s content where she is living the life she’s living; there’s very little of that urge to get out and see the world that you might be used to.
This is a full on VN rather than a kinetic novel and you’ve got choices to make that lead to different endings. You’ve got a few guys that serve as your various paths, ranging from childhood friend Luca to doctor Valerian, and they’ve all got fairly fleshed out and interesting stories to follow. I found Luca’s story to be the most interesting, and might be by design as he seems to be the “default” choice.
This World Unknown is generally well-written and features Ebi-hime’s traditional gorgeous art style, though there are some spelling and grammar errors here and there that probably should have been caught prior to launch. It’s still a great ride, though, on par with any of Ebi-hime’s other work. At around 10 hours it’s also a decent length for a visual novel, though it doesn’t quite compare to any of the heavy hitters like the Grisaia series. The bottom line is that otome fans should enjoy this one, and if you’ve played and enjoyed any of Ebi-hime’s work before you’re likely to do the same.