This title is exclusive to PC.
Despite the controversy surrounding them, visual novels as ‘games’ have seen a huge increase in numbers on Steam. They cover all types of genres from fairy tales to certain…ahem… dating? Yes, let’s go with “dating novels”. Whether you agree with visual novels being called games, there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of fun to be had with them. They’re essentially interactive books.
Perseverance: Part 1 is a nice addition to the horror/drama visual novels on Steam. Tap it Games and Bit Golem have put together a start to what one hopes will be a good story. It has the right, if fairly stereotypical, foundations to be good. You begin the game as Jack, a father who fights with his wife because their dreams have all turned to dust and they’re desperately unhappy. You have a daughter whom you love, but wish you could have had a boy. It’s a story you’ve seen a thousand times all across the entertainment industry. Essentially, bad things happen (zombies…probably) and you (probably) at some point learn not to take things for granted. Even The Labyrinth covered the basic framework of this story (but with goblins instead of zombies). Still, despite the stereotypical story and characters, there’s some heart here. You can see the care that’s gone into the dialogue. There’s even some attempts to make them slightly less stereotyped, with Jack understanding his own mind and how he gets things wrong.
There’s some small illusion of choice bits in the story. After saying something super horrible to your wife, you can apologise, stay silent or double down on the mean. The choices don’t change anything though. During one part there were about 7 things to choose from and I apparently clicked all the wrong things… I know this because it kept telling me my ideas were stupid. When I selected the right thing, the story continued. It felt a little bit like wasting my time. If there’s only one option, don’t give me other options. Unlike the conversation with the wife (which, although it didn’t change anything, at least let me respond in my chosen way), this was just false padding. It didn’t add to anything except my frustration at not being allowed to shoot a rope (look, don’t think you’re being cute by telling me that doesn’t work in real life WHEN IT TOTALLY DOES. For proof, check out Gun Myths with Jerry Miculek). Let me shoot the damn rope.
There are some light spelling and grammar mistakes, but they don’t detract too much while you’re reading the dialogue. The art here is quite gorgeous. There are slight style differences between scenes that don’t involve Jack and scenes that do. The scenes happening without Jack are straight out of a comic book, with strong style lines and bold colours. The parts involving Jack are more sketched figures over watercolours. They’re both gorgeous backdrops for the story.
I wish I could tell you more about the story and whether it’s worth your time, but the whole episodic thing that’s been going on in this style of game strikes again. And Perseverance: Part 1 stops at what I would call the end of Act 1. Meaning, just as things are starting to get good. It’s the setup for the story. When I realised I’d hit the end, I had a moment of frustration that this was it for now. I had just gotten past the “this is my life” bit and there was promise of an outbreak at some point. Which really should tell you that it’s good enough that I wanted it to keep going.
I’m not sure I’d recommend getting it until the other parts are done, so you can pause the game at a less critical point. The price is also a bit steep at $5.19 for Part 1. I took my time and it was about 40 minutes to get through. If you’re a slow reader, you may get an hour. Maybe wait till there’s a good deal on the whole thing.