Publisher: Sol Press
Release Date: Aug 31, 2018
Edited by KnightAvenger
Welcome to Volume 1 of DareSora, a visual novel that leads the player on a strange, disquieting journey from start to end. If you want a dark twist to your typical high school VN, then DareSora might just be the game for you.
You start DareSora in the middle of a conversation with (my new wife) Mio Kishigure. You play the role of Haruka Tendou in The Chakapoko Club, listening to what might be the most long-winded, cold opening I’ve seen in a hot minute. Other club members, Makishi Arashi and Chiyo Konpira, get a bit of screen time, but even at the beginning, you get the sense that something isn’t quite right with our protagonist. Day two rolls around and you get your only choice in the game – deciding between three locations to visit, each of which gets you a little one-on-one time with another of the club members. On day three… you can read on to spoil the twist of the game!
Day three, you go on your merry way, put a bullet in the head of Makishi and Chiyo and call it a night. You pick yourself up in the Weird Zone and “Red Bunny,” the walking back-problems sprite shows up just in time.
Ahhh, visual novels, you never fail to be exactly what people expect of you… Anyway, it turns out that you have been working for the whims of Luna, who asked you to kill your friends. She cements herself as delightfully and murderously insane and then gives you a “well done” sticker in a scene that’s so discordant and strange it took me a moment to get over it!
On to the review: DareSora is a bit on the short side, but for the price, you’re not likely to feel too cheated, especially once you find the replayability with some alternate endings that put a whole new spin on the game. I’ll just say this; it may be worth your time to restart the game a couple of times and see what happens! The English translation is good, a run-on sentence here and there, but, in general, is easy to read and sounds natural. However, if you are looking for character voices, those are, unfortunately, only available in Japanese.
The music, in general, is good but not memorable, with the exception of the guitar string when you meet Luna for the first time, which I loved during each of my playthroughs of this short story. The art is stunning; the sprites are beautiful and have a lot of character – I instantly fell in love with the little eye drawn on Mio’s eyepatch in particular. The attention to detail in the backgrounds is wonderful – in the clubroom scene, I’m sure I could pick out some board games from the pile in the back that I’d played before.
We didn’t quite escape from the addition of a strangely sexualized background character with the “Red Bunny,” whose purpose seems to be to have back breaking boobs and… very little else. Also, if we’re keeping score, her face is covered with a mask, so extra marks for some fun dehumanization of women. Not the worst offender in VN history, but someone has to keep tabs on the situation, I guess! Our Queen of Crazy also manages to have an outfit composed of two napkins and some ribbon, but she has a personality to speak of, unlike her “Bunny” sidekick, so our demon-gal can wear whatever she likes.
In all, DareSora is an interesting game that I would love to see more of if just to know where this crazy train is going. The concept is a strange one that promises to be the start of a weird, messed-up journey. I’m always a sucker for a visual novel with a weird, dark twist; think a supernatural Doki Doki Literature Club for comparison. Even though the game was short, I managed to get a good feel for the style, and it left me wanting to understand what was going on and wanting more of this world.
- Interesting story
- Compelling replayability value
- Beautiful character art
- Fun, meta twist
- Slightly slow, wordy start
- Short play time
- Only one storyline choice
aTeacupGamer gives DareSora: Tears for an Unknown Sky a score of 8.2 out of 10 (82) Moé Blobs.
DareSora: Tears for an Unknown Sky is available on Steam for $2.99 (USD).