This upcoming visual novel is in development by SovietGames, a Russia-based team. Their first game, Everlasting Summer, released in November 2014, was received with praise in the Steam community.
They are now ready to introduce their new game, Love, Money, Rock ‘n’ Roll. While the game is not completed yet, EloTalk was lucky to be given access to the demo version of the game, which will be available following their Kickstarter campaign’s launch.
The story is set in Japan during the eighties when the main protagonist, Nikolai, finds himself in an unexpected whirlwind of unfortunate events. Following his parents’ passing, Nikolai ends up living alone and decides to stay in Japan where he attends school with his childhood friend, Himitsu. A few years after this event, he meets a few interesting and important characters that will change his life. While the demo doesn’t offer a lot of information concerning the main plot, Nikolai seems to be the target of an unknown villain who is threatening his safety. Is it connected to his deceased parents? Did they really die the way he was told? Are any of his new friends connected to this event? This is what we will learn as the story progresses!
Status: In Progress
Genre: Romance, Mystery, Drama, Music
Animation & Effects
Right away, the menu and title screen already prepare the player for the ambiance of the story. There are some nice subtle effects on the menu that are reminiscent of an old TV accompanied by soft background music. As the game begins, players are greeted with beautiful artwork of sakura trees and petals falling around in the screen. These effects really highlight the theme that the developers wanted to have by setting the story in the eighties. It is not so common to have effects like these for indie visual novels games, but they did it really well. It does not interfere with the visuals, it only adds more to it in a romantic manner.
Music and Artwork
The music is immediately appealing as the demo starts. It starts really soft in the title screen. Then, there is a full soundtrack to fit the different moods of the game. It is enjoyable to listen to each of them as the story went by. The tracks evolve from soft and heartwarming to strong and energetic.
As for the art, the backgrounds are the most interesting and eye-catching pieces. There are many interesting details, and the colors are really well thought out. The designs themselves are unique, but they still are representative of the Japanese setting and the time period Love, Money, Rock ‘n’ Roll is set in. The efforts put in the light details, such as house hallways and Nikolai’s room are dynamic and interesting. The characters are soft and can easily be recognized. The use of bright palettes makes each of them colorful without it being too unnatural. One observable negative point however, is the lack of details on some characters compared to others in certain situations, as well as certain face expressions which could have been more exaggerated (for example, if a character is angry, their expression should change and not just their physical posture). However, during the game’s progression, the characters develop emotionally, and the player can clearly see that as they play.
User Interface (UI)
The user interface of the game is simple to understand and not too busy for the eye, which is important in any visual novel game. It doesn’t take long to understand the various mechanics. Being able to change text size is a nice detail. As the game progresses, there are expressions and words which requires a definition for those who do not know their meaning, and the developers added those in the game. While this is a great feature, a full screen of text can be overlapped by the definition bubble, making it hard to read. When the text is only shown at the bottom of the screen, this isn’t a problem. Another part of the game that could use more work is the ”date screen”. As the story moves forward, a screen that tells you what day it is will appear. While this is not a new concept, the screen lacks originality. Choosing a font with more soul than Arial and an interesting background image would have been a great addition. Right now, it feels unfinished compared to the other elements in the game.
Scenario and Voice acting
The scenario is well-written and not too heavy. There are some repetitive sequences, but nothing that gets out of hand. There are a few typos, but considering that the game is still in development, this is something that will most likely be looked over before the final version. One element that was out of place was Nikolai’s introduction, which felt clumsy. Since the demo doesn’t tell a lot about the main plot, there are not a lot of details about the story’s development, so it can be assumed that details like Nikolai’s introduction will become more flushed out. Even though this is a demo, the pacing remains steady and stable; it is easy to get to know a little about the entire cast of characters without getting bored of them. The characters do not have voices at the moment, but crowds can sometimes be heard in the background, which was interesting in the bar or club settings. There is a scene, however, where a group of students are talking in front of the school gates, and these felt a little forced. As of now, this is the only time a player can hear a conversation louder than the music.
The demo is enjoyable, even though it was short. The story looks interesting, and the art and animation of the game has greatly improved since SovietGame’s first release. Even with small technical issues, these do not make the game an unpleasant one! This is a game that a lot of visual novel fans will enjoy!
KickStarter and Release date
SovietGames will be launching a Kickstarter campaign in about a week from now! The team did not have an official date for it yet. Alex, one of the team members, answered a few questions about it. The game will be a commercial one and is being planned for release in March 2017. It will be available on several platforms and the Steam store, as well as mobile!
Q: Do you plan on having Kickstarter rewards?
Q: When will the demo go public?