Visual Novels are becoming more of the norm in the gaming world, as more and more gamers turn to virtual reading in order to satiate their needs. They’re a great way to stimulate the mind with a strong narrative, while providing visual feedback in order to keep you engaged at all times. Nintendo Switch has become quite the quintessential platform for most VN titles over the course of its console maturity, allowing for players to use their Switch as somewhat of a gaming e-reader for their favorite titles. Fault Milestone One is one of the latest visual novel titles to hit the platform, with Sekai Project backing the game entirely and development by Alice in Dissonance. Does the game create an impactful narrative, or does it fall flat and have faults along the way? Keep reading to find out!
What to Expect
Just for some history on the title, Fault Milestone One was released originally in 2013 for Windows and Linux in Japan, and soon became localized by Sekai Project shortly after. Since then, the title has grown in popularity thanks to the reworking and polish made to the game, along with other in-game tweaks that create a more provocative experience for players. Funny enough, while playing through the game we felt as if this world would be better suited as an RPG, and Munisix actually had planned for the title to shift in that direction. However, that all changed immediately and it soon became what we know it as today, a visual adventure. As one would expect from any visual novel in this medium, much of the story is linear and requires no real interaction from the player other than of course conveying emotion when something interesting happens. The world of Fault Milestone One is filled with a plethora of magic, primarily "manakravte”, which exists as the cornerstone of what characters use in regards to battle and everyday life. We’ll dive more into that later but for now, this is what to expect from Fault Milestone One and so let’s move forward onto the story.
Fault Milestone One follows the life of devoted manakravter Ritona, who acts as the royal guardian for princess Selphine in the prestigious kingdom of Rughzenhaide. Other notable characters who play a role in the narrative are Rune, a girl from the Outer-Pole, and her brother Rudo, the head of a major company. Ritona, along with Selphine both escape the chaos in the kingdom which continues to proliferate and the two arrive in a strange unknown country. Now the two must find their way around and somehow gather the right tools and information to survive, and make it back to their hometown safely.
Right off the bat we can clearly see that on a visual level, the game definitely received a nice touch up in order to keep up with the Switch hardware. Due to this polish the game looks great and the slight character animations help to give them life, but also bring the story together. To help remedy the lack of character movement, the overall UI and menu look great and the animated intro do a great job of capturing the essence of what the story is trying to convey.
The sound and music are also a plus point in Fault Milestone One, as it helps to create a nice harmony with the story, as the music is very fitting of the themes. There are moments when the music shifts to a more heroic and dynamic theme, but then moves into a more emotional sound when two or more characters are in deep discussion. Its this type of balance that helps to better establish consistency within the game, and help the story to move along in the way that it should: smoothly. By no means is the music and sound groundbreaking but they do help to serve the purpose of the overall narrative, which is precisely what the game should be focusing on. Sadly, there’s really no strong use of voice actors which tend to lend a hand in these areas. Having to just read through text without that emotional voice to help better illustrate the situation can be a bit unfulfilling, especially with a story as emotional as Fault Milestone One. Had there been some additions to providing more voicing in the game, it would certainly rank much higher in our books.
There really isn’t much to say in the gameplay because well...as you know, there really isn’t much “gameplay” in a visual novel. Perhaps the one gameplay mechanic that serves its purpose well is the way in which the text is presented, and how it helps to flow along with everything happening on screen. We had no issues with this, however, perhaps the biggest issue we ran into was the game crashing on us several times. One instance was in the early stages of the game while trying to save, the game suddenly crashed and we had to start from the very beginning all over again which was really disheartening. We managed to get past that again and so fortunately it wasn’t a bug for that particular scene (otherwise we would point it out), but it was still a surprise to have the game crash on us out of the blue.
Other than that the game does a splendid job once again of providing players with enough details pertaining to character backstory, along with small little details that help to sustain a nice flow while reading. The game isn’t particularly long and so players can run through the game relatively quickly, especially if you’re a fast reader, but it’s certainly worth reading the small bits because they help to create the bigger picture. There really wasn’t much shock factor in terms of events within the story and we’ll avoid spoilers of course so that you can find enjoyment in it all.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Overall, Fault Milestone One does a great job of illustrating just how powerful women can be in the midst of adversity, and that gender should play no role in how one must survive. Both main protagonists bring a unique flavor of their own within the story and are a great influence to those around them. One other aspect to point out about both Ritona and Selphine is that they’re not painted as the typical cute and girly type, but rather are given a more grittier tone to help eliminate the stereotype that heroines should play the more attractive role. That isn’t to say these characters aren’t attractive, because they are, but in a much different way which is a major plus. Due to their dire situation and immediate need to return home safely, both Ritona and Selphine display a different type of strength and allow players to truly see their true colors shine alongside the other characters throughout the story.
A solid narrative that is both gritty yet emotionally gratifying, as you see two women come up out of adversity and triumph over their struggles.
The colorful cast of characters do help to better establish a strong emotional bond, but also to keep the story feeling enlightening.
Everything looks and runs well on the Switch so a big plus there.
Majority of the cast is female which demonstrates that girls too can become real heroes in a world full of adversity.
The only real con is the game crashing but because it wasn’t frequent, it’s not really something to look out for. Perhaps just a little reminder for the devs to look out for next time.
We do wish the game did come with some voice acting as it would have certainly helped to attribute more to the impact of the story.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We hope that you found our review of Fault Milestone One to be a satisfying read and you too go out and pick up a copy, especially if you’re looking for a visual novel experience on the Switch. While the game is certainly not perfect it does tell a great story that we recommend you sit down and sift through at your own pace, and soak in the beauty of the character development. Be sure to follow us on social media in order to stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the anime, gaming, and manga world here in Japan!
Until next time!
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!