Spring Thing 2018 - ULTRAMARINE: A Seapunk Adventure
|The mer-hunks are described as "giants"...but nothing seems specifically out of proportion beyond a comic book or professional wrestling scale here...|
I'm a newcomer to VN, so I'm interested in how the presentation varies from text parser and choice IF. One thing about VN is that there's a lot of text.
|The Prince's cape is faultlessly starched...or...well, this is underwater so fair enough.|
I'd been reading VN where "you" (the PC) aren't onscreen and it took me a few minutes to figure out that I was "playing" Gabrielle Freedman (or at least making choices for her) despite the writing being 3rd person. (CORRECTION - the writing is in fact in 1st person; based on my limited experience of VNs and seeing the PC onscreen for the first part of the game while making notes I thought the PC was a different off-screen fourth character and remembered it as 3rd person. My bad!) She and the other two main characters (Prince Nautica and his trusty guard-bro Zeppelin) shuffle around while facing front a good deal before the director settles down and they land in some default positions to rest. They look great. And then they've got a whole lot of exposition for us - a good deal of worldbuilding was done here about undersea magikal-with-a-K denizens and everyone has superpowers, but there's a lot of "as we all know" chatter like a daily soap opera where they can't always show you a car crash or brain surgery but they'll talk about it for a week till the viewer almost feels like they were there.
|Whoa BATTLE SEQUENCE|
Nobody expects a battle sequence! Well...all right! I'm happy I made it there. It's nothing extraordinary gameplay-wise but I finally got to participate in the action! Or at least manage some numbers for a while. Again...maybe I'm expecting too much from a visual novel - but novel means the writing should still fall under the jurisdiction of "show don't tell" - even moreso since they've got all this luscious art to use.
I appreciated ULTRAMARINE, and though I think I made only two or three actual choices, I got a numbered unsatisfactory ending, so it appears I could go through again and try for another ending using the SKIP function (I didn't bother to save) but I think I can infer the other branches of plot I didn't discover. Though this is listed as a "full length" game - mostly due to the expository water-treading - I felt like I was being somehow hastily brought up to speed on a much more expansive story in a bigger world than shown here. I'd love to see at least some of this happen over some still art or kinetic concept drawings to break up the characters just do-si-do-ing their positions while facing the audience and describing the off-stage action.