Visual novels are here to stay in the world of video games, and we love that here at Honey’s Anime. VNs aren’t stuck to one format, which makes them so versatile. Those who dabble in VNs can find anime-like stories—that sometimes become anime series—and indie creations developed by small studios that just love to make a more engaging story.
Arcadia Fallen by developer Galdra Studios falls in the latter of those creations we mentioned as a very indie-like art style and narrative. However, Arcadia Fallen does something we’ve never seen from an indie developer; it almost redefines what one can expect from the future of VNs. Let us dive into what we mean further in our look at Arcadia Fallen for the Nintendo Switch and PC.
Your Image in the Current Landscape
We live in a time period quite robust. People define themselves in a multitude of ways that go beyond the simple he/her pronouns. There are some who see themselves as non-binary and others who straddle the line between genders, and the beauty of this is that we are coming to accept that more readily in 2022. Arcadia Fallen will immediately strike a chord with those who love the freedom of choice as the character creator—while extremely simple—is oddly liberating for a VN experience.
Arcadia Fallen allows you to create your very own character that doesn’t need to be defined as just a girl or boy. Players can create a feminine-like male, a female with a masculine voice, and/or go wild with an androgynous look. Arcadia Fallen gives the player a liberating character creator that makes you feel like you can really put yourself into this game more than most VN-like titles out there! Plus, this experience doesn’t just stop with the character creator but goes even deeper once you dive into the “gameplay” of Arcadia Fallen.
The Voice You Want!
Most visual novels lack a lot of input when it comes to speech. Anime-themed VNs almost lack it entirely, with only a few options ever appearing to give your MC a voice at all. Arcadia Fallen isn’t like most VNs as your voice is heard…a lot! Players often will be able to voice their thoughts in this alchemy/magic story, and you’ll never be confused as to how your voice will be heard with your various in-game companions.
Arcadia Fallen nicely gives you a descriptor with every choice you make. You will often gain several voice options, and near each word, like sarcastic, happy, determined, and joking will appear. These determine how your character comes across, and never have you guessing what your choice will sound like. If we’re being honest, we hope more VN creators take a page from Galdra Studios’ book and implement this system in other VN titles.
A Diverse Cast Equals a Fun Party
What stands out strongly—in a good way—in Arcadia Fallen is your MCs party of misfits. These various characters aren’t all so simple copy and paste creations seen in other fantasy tales. You have the law-conflicted warrior Victoria to the mysterious jokester Michael, and the list grows as you advance in the story. These characters can also all be romanced—regardless of your gender choice—making them even more engaging. You’ll often want to replay scenes just to choose various lines and see how a character will react for better…or worse.
An Okay Mini-Game Element
As a VN, Arcadia Fallen is literally almost perfect, and if we had any minor complaints, it would stem from the mini-game inserted into the story. As an apprentice alchemist, you quickly will begin to dive into mixing ingredients for various story purposes and later for “battles” that occur at times. These moments have players mixing colors on an oval-like graph to either match another oval graph or make runes appear in a specific order. We’re glad this gameplay element exists as it’s a refreshing way to avoid just constant talk-based choices, but we wish it was a bit more fleshed out. Nevertheless, this mini-game of sorts isn’t bad by any means, and is a fun element to dabble in—as your creations can even alter the story’s narrative at some key points—but it does lack a bit of excitement after doing it a dozen times.
Arcadia Fallen is a fantastic fantasy-themed VN and truly shows how far our generation has come in trying to open video games to a multitude of individuals. The sheer amount of freedom and liberating character choices makes Arcadia Fallen a title you can replay a dozen times and get various experiences with each playthrough! Plus, with several endings, Arcadia Fallen will be a title you’ll want to dive back into when the credits roll to see what you could do differently and how your narrative options can change the story in small and sometimes meaningful ways.
Are you picking up Arcadia Fallen in the near future? Comment below your thoughts on this incredible VN if you have already or plan to! Be sure to keep stuck to our diverse hive here at Honey’s Anime for even more game-related articles and reviews!