Fans of visual novels may be interested in checking out one of Ratalaika Games newest most recent titles called Aquadine from developer SoftColors. This new title features a colorful cast of characters and takes place in a mythical city where two different forms of life don’t get along so well. Here’s my review of the PlayStation 5 version.
Long ago in the distant past, humans suffered from a terrible drought and had to ask for the help of the mermaids to survive. In return, the mermaid’s leader asked that they be allowed to live with the humans which they did for a long time. In the end though, the humans discriminated against the mermaids since they were different causing them to flee to the water and create the ancient city of Aquadine. This civilization ultimately vanished leaving present day humans to believe it was only a myth. Our story picks up in a city on the surface that was named Aquadine and follows Robin Liyun, a boy who is working part time as a Gondola tour guide in the city to help bring in money since his mother has fallen ill. While Robin is on duty he dresses different and goes by the name Ciel.
Not long into the story you’ll be introduced to the other main characters which include Anya who is a bit sassy, Diana who is more eccentric, Cameron who is a bit of a brainiac, and Elisabeth who is a famous singer who just recently moved to the city. The story is one about teenagers and their relationships with each other so whether that kind of thing interests you will determine whether this game will be enjoyable to you. I thought it was pretty enjoyable overall because each of the character’s personalities are well established and explored throughout the chapters. You’ll get to see them interact with each other and see reactions to the mermaids when they discover that they really do exist.
In terms of how the game controls this is a pretty straight forward visual novel. There are no choices here to make or branching paths just the story that the game sets out to tell. There are four different character stories to play through which in total should only take you nine or ten hours roughly making this a bit shorter compared to some other visual novels that I’ve played. After you complete them all you can play through an epilogue that wraps things up.
While the story may or may not be to your liking, one thing that can’t be denied is that the art here is pretty darn good. There is a ton of variety in the locations throughout the game and each one is full of detail. The character portraits also look good and character looks change up throughout the game as well. The music is also quite beautiful and seemed to always match the scene. Voice acting is present which surprised me but it’s only present at times. What is there was enjoyable I just wish more of it was voiced. Being that this game is from Ratalaika Games, trophy hunters will be glad to know that there are 19 very easy trophies to earn along with a Platinum. If you really just want the trophies you can earn them all in minutes but I recommend actually enjoying the story here.
Aquadine is a colorful and feel good visual novel with a great cast of characters to spend time with. It won’t ask for a lot of your time but it also doesn’t have things like choices and branching paths that some visual novel fans may be looking for. If you’re fine with that and enjoy stories focused on teenagers then you’ll most likely enjoy this.
*Aquadine is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. PlayStation 5 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.