Monday, August 3, 2015
Circus Reviews - Cursed Sight
A long while back, I was browsing Reddit and happened upon a Kickstarter for a game called Cursed Sight. I took a look, and admittedly I was immediately attracted to the low cost of entry: a digital copy of the game was only $3 or so. So I backed for $3, and later moved it up to $5 for the privilege of getting my copy a week before the release date. And then the day game, earlier than expected, and I immediately grabbed my Steam key and went to work. And boy...was I in for a surprise.
The story takes place in the fictional country of East Taria, a kingdom that is home to a rare treasure...or rather, a girl. Miyon was born with an unusual power: anyone who gazes into her eyes will die a week later. She also has the power to affect fate with mysterious rituals, and is thus highly prized in the temple. The story starts when our narrator, a young boy named Gai, is sold to the temple by his parents and becomes a servant for Miyon. Bitter towards his parents for their actions, Gai approaches his new life with a lot of anger, but upon meeting Miyon, things may change...
Gai and Miyon are children when the story begins, and it's an interesting contrast to most visual novels that have teenage protagonists. They're both kind of brats at first, which is to be expected, but they very quickly undergo character development that turns them around for the better. The other major character is Sasa, a bellstress at the temple and a surrogate mother to Miyon. She has a lot of depth to her that you don't see at first, but even on the surface she's likable. Other characters pop up later, and not wishing to spoil their role in things, I will only say that they're pretty important!
The story is interesting and progresses well for the most part, but there is a time skip partway through that is rather poorly handled. It has a transition similar to the others (I'll get to those in a moment) and then suddenly it's been ten years with no warning. Shortly after this, the first major plot twist appears...And maybe I'm just a smarty pants, but I saw that twist coming a mile away. It involves a character not revealed in the demo and so I'm not going to spoil details, but it's easy to see coming after a while. Not bad, just easy to see. There were some later on, though, that I didn't see coming at all.
And speaking of the transitions, I really don't like the way they were done. It involves a random CG coupled with the game's logo, and it just kind of pops up when a scene is done. It feels rather choppy and abrupt. In addition, the GUI window is small and placed a little low on the screen, and it kind of bothers me. (I admit this may just be a personal preference, though.
But despite my minor nitpicks, I am still going to recommend this game to you until I lose my voice. Because holy fuck...This story. It is sad and heartbreaking. Do not go into it thinking it is happy. It is not. It is sad and heartbreaking.
I'm still sad.
This story broke all of my expectations for it. It was way deeper and sadder than I thought it was going to be. It's almost frustrating, because I care about the characters enough to want them not to be sad as well. And the mark of a good game is that I care about its characters that much. Combine that with the beautiful visuals and the lovely soundtrack, and I can ultimately say that playing this game was a very positive experience (despite the sorrow).
Not too long ago, I made a list of my most anticipated visual novels of this year, and this is the first one of those to be released. All I can say is...It deserved to be on that list, and it deserves to be in your library. It is a wonderful piece of work, and I am happy to have been a backer (although starting to wish that I had backed for more).
Cursed Sight is available on Steam and the Humble store.
Final verdict: While there are some flaws in the design and a poorly handled time skip, Cursed Sight is a beautiful game with a surprisingly moving story and inspiring characters, and it comes highly recommended from me.
Cursed Sight is developed by Invertmouse. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I was not compensated in any way for this review. I was a Kickstarter backer of this game and received a copy of the game prior to launch as part of my reward tier.