A Visual Novel that struggles to capture your mind….
Visual Novels have become really popular here in Europe. There are so many out there and the one series that sticks out personally is the Danganronpa series. I have really enjoyed playing through that series and whilst there is next to no gameplay, the story absolutely gripped me from start to finish. It was like reading a great book, only each page was presented to me on screen.
Coming into The Midnight Sanctuary, from looking it up before hand, it seemed to be the kind of story that would interest me quite a lot. Before I get into my thoughts, it has to be be said that it only takes a few hours to ‘complete’. I remember that Danganronpa took me 10 hours plus to complete, so I wasn’t quite sure what I would be getting overall in terms of the enjoyment of a good story. After playing through The Midnight Sanctuary, unfortunately, I was left feeling rather disappointed in the efforts.
The main story sees a young girl, Hamomoru Tachibanak, visit the small town of Daiusu. Daiusu is a small little village that fails to attract tourists from the outside, meaning that the village is tending to fail. Hamomoru is hear to collect vital information about the town and its history and is tasked with making the town more popular so that tourists will want to come and visit the town, making sure that food and other essentials can make it in the town.
Of course, the story isn’t as simple as that due to a big twist. I won’t spoil it for those who want to go into the story without any spoilers, but it centers around a creepy ‘ghost’ story who the villagers believe to be the new saint. I was really interested at first, but it soon becomes quickly apparent that it gets rather dull, rather quickly.
With any Visual Novel, there is no gameplay for you to play through so to speak. The only actions that you can do yourself is pick which part of the town you want to go to next which then plays out the next part of the story. The fact that The Midnight Sanctuary is only a few hours long is actually an advantage in itself, due to the fact that this can get very dull, very predictable and very, very predictive.
My biggest gripe with the game itself was the visual side of things. I can understand where the developer is trying to go with it as it is a Japanese visual novel (Japanese voice-overs, English subtitles) but the characters are really a strange bunch that just look weird. Also, the subtitles were half cut off at the bottom of my screen. There was no option in the settings to recenter my screen so often I would sometimes lose what the characters were saying at that time. No other game has this problem at all so it is just a shame that I’d have to manually change my actual TV settings just to cater for this.
Overall, The Midnight Sanctuary for me was a big disappointment. I’m a big fan of Japanese games at a start point so I was optimistic that this would be quite good, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I would give this a miss as there are much better Visual Novels out there for you to enjoy.