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Don't judge a book by it's cover

Pocket Mirror has been in development by group Astral Shift for long, roughly 3 years. In those years, we were treated with great art and the promise of a great, mysterious plot. What we got was just the former, seeing as the plot unfortunately turned out to be just a poorly-executed cliché.

Spoilers ahead

We play as Goldia, a small girl who wakes up with no memories and a mysterious pocket mirror. The pocket mirror, the titular item, stays mysterious after you finish the game. We are treated to beautiful maps and sprites, but only accompanied with lackluster gameplay and even worse writing. Gameplay is the usual IB/Witch's House deal of solving riddles and picking up keys. The characters we meet all fall into flat, cardboard templates of your typical anime. One of these characters especially, the puppet, is so inconsistent it's grating to read. Which is another major gameplay element: reading.

At some points, you will find yourselves forgetting what they were talking about mid-dialogue due to the sheer irrelevancy of the content. It is apparent that the dialogue wasn't planned, as it mainly boils down to pseudo-philosophical gibberish to give the game an illusion of depth. The dialogue also reveals itself to be repetitive, to the point that it's drinking-game worthy. Walls of dialogue interceded with small portions of gameplay become more frequent until we end up playing a "walk-able visual novel" by the end stage of Pocket Mirror.

And what an end it was. Between the 4 different endings, we are treated with abstract, seemingly rushed and not thought out sequences that explain nothing and leave us with more questions than when we started out. And the (I presume) cannon ending reveals that everything we experienced was in Goldia's mind, and we were in an asylum all along. Even ignoring the banality of this trope, Astral Shift executes this with complete disregard for accuracy, romanticizing mental illness and painting it as plain-old "Hollywood-crazy". Identities fighting over the control of the body is not how DID works, but apparently all is fair game and sense is optional when making an RPG maker horror game that shoots for the moon but is barely able to reach the atmosphere.

As a first game, it's impressive the level of visual polish that Pocket Mirror achieved. As for the rest, here's to hoping future releases will improve and learn from the mistakes.