|Game: Soul Gambler
Genre: Adventure, Indie, RPG
Developer: Tlön Studios
Release Date: August 1, 2013
Platform: PC / Played on Windows 7
Overall rating: 8/10
Replay Value: 9/10
Soul Gambler is a Visual Novel inspired by Goethe’s Faust. I guess I can see how that’s true, as it does deal with selling soul and a guy called Faust.
Faust is a normal man whom, as it so happens, is one day approached by a person after which he’s offered to sell his soul (not to spoil it, that’s as much as I’ll say of the story).
The gameplay mechanics are fairly easy from then on; it being a visual novel, you’re presented with the story as it unfolds and given chances to interact: do you want to do this or do that? will you sell x% of your soul to get this or will you not? And so on, and so forth.
The art is all cartoon/comic book styled, and though I wasn’t much of a fan, they weren’t visually awful either. The storytelling is told as an interactive comic would be, with panes appearing and disappearing. The story in itself was fairly good and kept me hooked up until the end. I wasn’t really overly fond of some of the endings, but they weren’t horrible either, so overall I was pretty content with the story even if it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
Sounds and music are pretty nice, and seem to fit with the game well enough.
The game is really, really short, but what it does really well is the amount of options it offers you. This, to me, is what a visual novel should be like: There’s a story, there are many options for you to choose from, and the options matter. It’s still not perfect, but it’s well on its way.
In addition, at the start of the game you are offered to put points into different stats, and this choice also affects how you play and what you choose, and the outcomes of making a wrong choice. The choices are also very well designed and integrated into the game style, and for the most they say what you see them saying – unlike other games where you press a choice and the guy goes off with something completely opposite of what you thought your selection was.
So, between the choices you can make on Faust’s daily life, plus the soul-selling choices, plus the choices you make at the start on what to pour your points on, you have quite a bit of replayability.
If you don’t play it for the looks or the story, then at least play it for the gameplay, particularly if you’ve ever thought of making a VN.