Independent game publisher Fruitbat Factory is proud to announce that the mystery visual novel Miniature Garden. Developed by Muzintou, Miniature Garden tells the story of five students trapped at school on the night of a festival. Korie Riko from Lump of Sugar is behind Miniature Garden’s art, and the game boasts a great lineup of famous voice actors. It will last you around 8 hours of reading and has 7 endings to offer. [Based on my reading speed]
[I was provided a review copy of this game and it will never affect the outcome of this review]
Brief overview of the story
In the woods not far from the city lies a school called the ‘Miniature Garden.’ In keeping with the school’s name, an original ‘Miniature Festival’ is held there every three years. There’s a rumor that an unnatural death will befall someone on the night of the festival. This year, as the sun sets, Yasunari and four other students find themselves trapped alone in the school on the night of the festival. Is it just a mistake, or could the rumors be true?
Warning: Slight spoilers
Thoughts On The Story
Messy is what I would think, the whole story was just so confusing after completing the whole game. I had to spend hours breaking down what happened in the game. Well It’s mystery after all right? Yes, It is a story geared towards mystery but aren’t they supposed to be solved? On certain endings the story have no clear cut answer at all and hints are scattered all over separate routes which is fine. I do not mind hints being scattered around in fact it makes things more fun but god those hints are extremely vague, so even if you managed to take the hint there is a high chance that you still won’t understand a single thing. There are many “weird” things that happened in the story that is not explained at all like character X existence, is that character a ghost? a time traveler? a spirit? I don’t know because it was not explained in any way at all..
Next the characters…. God the characters were painful to put up with, in relation to the whole mystery themed story, for a story that uses mystery as it’s theme the characters are very inconsistent sometimes they are painfully obvious and sometimes they just felt disconnected to the whole thing. Best part is you can’t empathize with the characters at all. Their backstory are very short and empty it feels like the backstories were there for the sake of the plot. It does add a tiny bit to the characters but because it’s so short you just can’t empathize with them at all you can’t feel the characters, they are very bland like eating dried chicken.
Next on the list is the pacing. To sum it up It’s horrible. The story felt like it was being stretched out to thin one moment drugs are brought up and then the next supernatural is brought up and then next some shady organization is brought in. It was just all over the place and I barely could keep up with what is going on at all.
Sadly I did not enjoy it at all.. I really wanted to enjoy it especially when they have such a high profile line up cast of voice actors for the characters. But I just can’t bring myself to enjoy it because half the time when reading through, you will be provably be scratching your head and then the next moment character X will come out holding a sign on his forehead saying “I am the cause of all this” and when they do that they meant it literally, not trying to misdirect the reader or anything. Oh man what a mystery I wonder who is the cause.
Audio and Visual Elements
The soundtrack is surprisingly nice it manages to fit into the theme but then again it is forgettable and the sad part is unlike most games the gallery/extra section usually has an option to let you replay some of the soundtrack used, but it is not available as it only offers the OP and ED is for replay. This is just me nitpicking. 🙂 Onto the visual aspects…. The visual aspects are what you will expect from Korie Riko with her character designs cute fluffy characters. The background style used in the game is quite unique it reminds me a little of higurashi background style. Overall the visual and audio aspects of this game is provably the best they can offer.
- Tokui Sora (Love Live, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes) as Shibaya Sumika.
- Hidaka Rina (RoKyuBu!, Kantai Collection) as Komiya Rio.
- Numakura Manami (Aikatsu, the IDOLM@STER) as Sakura Ayana.
- Kakihara Tetsuya (Fairy Tail, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann) as Orimoto Itsuki.
To sum up 3/10
I have quite mixed feeling for this, a part of me really wants to recommend this game but like again I just can’t bring myself to do it unless you really love mystery otherwise give this a miss.