This week, MangaGamer is celebrating English Visual Novels with EVN Developer Week! The company is announcing new EVNs coming to their platform and encouraging fans of the genre to talk about their favorite developers. So, I’m taking the liberty to highlight some EVN Devs whose work I like, but for one reason or another I haven’t discussed much here on this site. Today is very special for me because I get to talk about a Canadian developer who had her debut five years ago and has grown into one of the best storytellers in the subgenre today: Katy133.
Katy133 has a mix of inspiration that are intriguing in this day and age; at least from my perspective. Her art style is inspired by Hergé, the creator of The Adventures of Tintin and the American ‘literary nonsense’ illustrator Edward Gorey. She also draws inspiration from a lot of British comedy and fiction: especially P.G. Wodehouse and I know this because I am also a fan of the works of Wodehouse. These inspiration have defined her artistic style, but not her writing. The inspiration for that seems to be taken from everywhere and it has led to the most wonderfully eclectic catalog of projects in the EVN sphere.
One of the few mild critiques I have of this group is that developers tend to stay in their wheelhouse depending on what fictional subgenres they prefer. Romance developers stick with romance, ecchi with ecchi, so forth and so on. Katy133 has gone into several different genres with her writing and has experimented with the stories told in them. It has given her work incredible range and made her able to execute on a literary technique that this particular developers circle often screw up: the plot twist.
We see all of these come together in one of 2016’s best visual novels [redacted]Life. The game starts in a horror setting that we’re familiar with, only to evolve the scenario into something more unsettling. There are actually a few plot twists contained in this one before the big one that serves as the climax to the game and they are used to increasing the tension throughout the game. These twists were inspired by several sources outside of the horror genre that, when put together, make for a terrifying experience. Am I going to reveal it all here? No, because I want you to play it. However, the first twist would have been more than enough to build an entire game around. The other twists is what make it a unique story: building its horrors and keeping us invested in figuring out how to escape the terrifying maze the game puts us in.
We also see a bit of that philosophy in Three Guys That Paint: but that’s another story for another day. I will be giving Katy133’s work the proper attention and reviews it deserves in the near future. For now, I hope I’ve piqued your interest enough to check it out for yourselves. Katy133 is currently working on a Wodehouse-inspired murder mystery (a teaser of which is the header for this feature) featuring a crime-fighting detective that is also a butler…something that fiction has been missing, frankly. But you can get all of her other titles at her Itch page here. I’ve also included a a video from her YouTube channel for those interested in her processes and thoughts about developing stories. JP3: OUT.