Ahh, visual novels. Are they games? (Sometimes.) Are they fancy books? (Too limiting.) Will they ever go “mainstream”? (No.) Will we ever see one with a production value equivalent to a AAA game like Call of Duty, BioShock, or Mass Effect? ‘Cause games like Long Live the Queen are great, but they ultimately lack the heavy impact of other titles such as Dying Light. Or the longevity of Bloodborne.
The easy answer is yes, but it’s far from a simple one. Visual novels are an odd breed. They have an extremely solid fan base. It’s to the point where it appears that almost every game with pretty art will get Greenlit on Steam, whether it has the experience to back it up or not.
So when a game like Fruit of Grisaia hits the “Featured Releases,” should we really be shocked that its base price is $40?
Again, the easy answer is no but the whole truth is far from simple. And Fruit of Grisaia is a completely different case than Littlewitch Romanesque, which is so heavily gameplay-oriented that it’s impossible to call it a traditional visual novel. Fruit of Grisaia is 100% a standard example in terms of “gameplay.” Which is to say there is none. The experience is delivered in the form of a text box on the bottom of a screen against a background image over which sprites are semi-animated. Sometimes there are more involved and prettier pictures.
And aside from selecting a few options, the player’s actions are clicking to advance the plot. That’s all. There are branching narratives, but Fruit of Grisaia foregoes some of the harder choice puzzles of other visual novels in favor of a simpler approach. Therefore, it’s not unexpected for a prospective buyer to wonder, exactly, what it is they’re getting for their cash.
The answer is a AAA visual novel, and it might seem difficult to think about. 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors was worth the cost because of its incredible puzzle gameplay. Littlewitch RomanesqueFruit of Grisaia has 5 routes. In comparison, it definitely seems lacking.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.