Price: £23.79 (Soundtrack £3.99)
Where To Get It: Steam
I love ghost stories. Tales of regrets, of vengeance, and sometimes, of telling a loved one it’s okay from beyond the grave. I also hate them, because few of their endings are happy, and even the “happy” ones are most often bittersweet.
And so it is with Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, where I refuse to believe the ending called the Best Ending is, in fact, the best. And, to put it bluntly, some of the endings can fuck right off.
But, honestly, that’s what grief is. And grief, and the delusions thereof, the regrets, the unfulfilled desires, is essentially what it’s about.
Oh, and somebody who wants to murder existence itself. But that’s more set dressing, more characters for the plot to revolve around, more endings. We’ll get to the endings, believe me. But first, the game in general.
Aesthetically, it’s gorgeous. Soft, bishy visuals (no really, look at these cute boys! Unf!) and beautiful music, along with some solid Japanese voice acting, make this pleasant to play. It also has a VN flowchart, which, as I may have said before, is a godsend in general.
However, for some endings of the game, it’s a pain in the ass, because you still basically have to play the routes from certain parts. So I’m two endings short, because I cannot be arsed to go through the entire game again just to get them. Besides, I’ve already unlocked the “Best” ending (Bullshit. The Happy Ending is much better.) And then there’s the minigame.
Look, I love a good minigame, which probably gets me some weird looks. But I had an abysmal time with the butterfly shooting game, which you’ll have to do several times, either in the main menu or by selecting a chapter where you fight one of the dangerous shadows of the mansion. On keyboard, it seems to only take one input at a time, on mouse, if it goes outside of a window, you have to click back at the window, wasting valuable time (and probably a butterfly)… And considering it’s the method to unlock the side stories (necessary for certain endings), I was… Annoyed. See also the lack of fastskip.
The thing is, overall? This is a solid, well written visual novel, and I basically played this in one sitting, all the way through (except the Yamato endings. Sorry dude), before writing this review. I don’t often manage to get a VN like this played through in one sitting, and that’s basically a recommendation right there.
So, for folks who like a good supernatural or psychological horror, this one comes recommended.
Okay… Now we deal with the story. Five amnesiac characters, one of which is our lady protagonist, who wake up in a strange mansion, immediately hunted by beasts who used to be people, and cryptically told to finish some sort of kaleidoscope, by finding gems dropped from said beasts wot used to be people. And it’s got its scary moments, its heartwarming moments, its heartbreaking moments, and its funny moments.
SPOILERS NOW AHEAD
And it’s got several endings, some of which are great (Yamato Normal, for example, is bittersweet, and, as mentioned, I much prefer the Happy End over the “Best” End), some of which are kinda eh (Bad End, for example, is very bland and obvious for a bad ending. It even warns you it’s a bad idea to do the thing), and some of which… Made me despise two of the characters, even though I was rooting for one (who, to be fair, I could still root for.)
Why? Because Karasuba is a creeper with no sense of boundaries, and his Ending is skeevy as fuck, and similarly, even though it’s slightly understandable, Kagiha’s ending also has skeevy undertones. Because they’re a false, constructed happiness. Karasuba’s edges ahead of the two, because Kagiha’s is at least a constructed domestic bliss (until the end where it’s clear, yes, it’s a fake reality), while Karasuba’s is more of a brainwashy tone, which sets my teeth on edge.
Despite this, I still enjoyed it.