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You're about to make a hard decision

Decision review
by CashmereCat

Length: ~30 minutes

Decision is a VX Ace game created by Nydan, it is a short Adventure game translated to English, and apparently it's about 30-60 minutes long. The protagonist wants to confess to the love of his life, but it doesn't go down so well. Then he has to make a really hard decision.

There's 4 endings, it's described as dark and mysterious, with horror or mystical themes.

The story is set in a futuristic city, where our young teenage male protagonist decides to meet his longstanding female friend and share his true feelings with her. This story deals with themes of infatuation and teenage love (or at least they *look* like teenagers). Joe and Ayu are the perfect couple from the start, except something's troubling Joe as they walk through the city, so Joe invites her into an alleyway to pop the question (not for marriage, but to strike a cute little boyfriend/girlfriend type deal). There's a lot of ellipses used in this game, which slows the flow of dialogue down quite a bit, but it's sometimes utilized correctly to convey shock or hard decisions being made. If I was the developer, though, I wouldn't use as many ellipses, and I believe it would be more effective that way.

Without spoiling what ensues, since it's such a short game and to reveal plot details would be close to spoiling it, the story sets up a moral dilemma that makes me think the warnings on the gamepage weren't for nothing. It's a hard decision. The first ending I encountered was very harsh, but exceptionally done. Not to spoil things, but I chose to save the 2 instead of the 1. (I hope that was vague enough). I didn't feel bad for it, but my character did. I wanted to know more about why. Why it was better for that to happen. Or was it just that he personally felt the consequences? Either way, it was interesting.

But despite the very clever setup and a twist on one of the endings, the Groundhog Day scenario where the period of time repeats over and over again can get grating after a while. It would have been more interesting if there were new things to discover each time you played, but the only thing that effected each ending were the binary "Show Choice" choices. Also, at times, the teenage romance elements ended up feeling a little overly simplistic. Love isn't all about making the right necklace for your girl, yet this game seems to imply that. The particular ending that the game sets up, however, is very clever and well-thought-out, and the story is told briskly and efficiently enough for one not to aggro over those flaws too much.

The game uses futuristic resources and busts of what seem to be young RTP characters. The exterior building maps are a little too simplistic, especially the alley scene having zero windows and basically being three drawn rectangles of roof. A little detail goes a long way. However, in other areas a lot of attention is paid to detail, like cars that zoom by, and environmental factors like tint and fog. For instance, the way that portraits slide in and out feels really, really good. OK, I didn't mean for it to sound as explicit as that.

These visuals are accompanied by some really nice ambient background sound, especially during the dark labyrinth scene. However, during this same scene, there's a very restrictive lighting system that may prove frustrating to some who have a pet peeve for such things. To me, it was okay, but to others who hate not being able to see what they need to get to, it may have been a little annoying.

Maps like the decision confrontation scene (the one with the 2 levers, gosh I'm really spoiling it now, aren't I? I'm trying not to) could be refurbished to make them look more grand or menacing, instead of a thin sheet of corrugated metal on top of a scrolling purple smoke parallax. Yeah, that's totally metaphysical and all. Pssh.

Other than that, no complaints.

The gameplay revolves around multiple playthroughs. You keep your items/achievements between playthroughs, and this will help you dictate the final ending. The game has really slick pacing, things plod along at a really brisk rate. The combination of mouse system and keyboard movement can make things feel icky and cumbersome at times, which makes me feel like the mouse system was entirely unnecessary, since it wasn't needed to be used for any puzzles or decision making. All of the game could be navigated using the keyboard alone, and it would have been just as effective. Navigating/moving using the mouse was more difficult and slower than maneuvering with the arrow keys and SHIFT.

There are achievements in this game, sometimes for doing such mundane things as "feeding the fish". They're not required to finish the game, but they're cosmetic additions. They were at least a little diversion when replaying, when you'd discover that clicking a whole lot will bring you the "Gamer" achievement, or running for a long distance gains you "Run, Forest, run". Mostly, the gameplay elements such as the number puzzle are nice the first time around, but their enjoyability fades each time you repeat the game, causing them to turn from pleasing brainteasers to annoying hindrances.

The true ending is quite hard to find and I hope people will have the common sense to find it. The truth is that it only activates once several conditions are reached in a certain order. But I'm not sure it's entirely obvious that a person can interact with certain objects in a certain order unless they're really observant. Which sometimes I am not.

Decision is a short story about a romantic teenager wanting something more from his relationship with a girl. It's a visual novel with several endings, and it takes ~30mins to complete. It's a well-told story with a unique moral dilemma as a lynchpin, and although not all elements were handled gracefully, it's still a cute tale to experience.

I give Decision a B, or a 3.5 stars out of 5.


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Thank you for this review, i love it. It's really carfully written and tells me a lot about the game's flaws.

Some of my points (which might cntain spoilers!):

-The mouse system is just an addition. If you feel better using the mouse, while leaning back to your chair, then you can use your mouse to play the game in a more relaxing position. Othervise jsut use he keybord, since the mouse is just an option.
-About the necklace and the simplicity of their love. The necklace wasn't neccesary for the to fall in love with each other. The both loved each other way befor that, but none of them were able to confess to the other. The necklace is only needed to avoid the whole disaster they were about to face.
-And lastly, you gave me so much new ideas I wish I'd implemented them back before I uploaded the game here. Maybe I will do them in a later patch.
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