10. A Light in the Dark (CreSpirit, Storia & Narrator)
I wanted to like this VN so much. On paper, it’s exactly the direction I want visual novels to go: eschewing familiar waters for something darker. However, something went wrong here.
A Light in the Dark aspires to be a single-room style thriller: where the unchanging location can build tension and drama naturally, leading to both exciting moments and solid character development. What we got is a very confused drama that certainly has a theme (Rich People Are Evil), but lacks the means to make that theme mean anything to the audience. This comes down to character writing and game design. The day cycle mechanics and limited interaction opportunities means we can only get to know the characters to a degree. The only thing we can really take away is that everyone involved is a victim and we should sympathize with them.
HOWEVER, if you play the VN, that driving theme isn’t true. Most of the problems presented in the title don’t come from the capitalist Taiwanese society. But we can’t get to the real problem, because the focus has to stay on the evil rich instead of the hard-headed, myopic teenagers. By the end, no matter how tragic the developers want the conclusion to be, it doesn’t erase that the cast only have themselves to blame for their outcomes. It’s a frustrating sit and one that, hopefully, everyone involved will learn from for next time.