Dia:Dol was created for the 2018 IGMC. This review is made on the demo of the game from that event. Note that while the video finishes about an hour into the demo, I have seen the ending of it and will base the review on the full version of the contest version.
Graphically, the game is quite pretty. The character art is highly polished, as are the CG scenes, and the images really help convey not only the characters' personality but also their emotions during certain scenes. The backgrounds were pretty sketchy but that's understandable given time constraints.
The writing was very well done, with the different personalities coming across quite well. Though there were a lot of different characters and it was easy to feel a bit overwhelmed, each was different and interesting. Out of all the characters I got a bit attached to Perry, Yun, Chris, Ryan, Oliver, Lanford and Archie.
The plot itself was fairly fun, and the twist ending was really well done and left me gagging for more.
The gameplay was simple but effective. The game plays like a raising simulator, where you choose which skills you focus on building over the course of your allotted time. You also have the option to slack off and bond with the other characters, though that aspect of the demo is rather limited at the moment. The little cut-outs of your character doing stuff reminded me a lot of a cute game called A Little Lily Princess.
Your skills denote how well you do in the test part of the game, keeping you from going home and thus getting a premature ending... or that will be the case eventually, perhaps. There's a lot of ways the game could go and it has a lot of potential to be something great.
The game definitely needs some in-game reference-type thing, though, if only so you can see how you're changing over time and how your relationships are stacking up.
Overall, I quite liked it, even more than I initially thought I would. If I were scoring it I'd give the current build 3.5-4 stars, however there's a ton of potential and I'm pretty sure that the complete version could easily reach that golden 5 star verdict.