Love works in mysterious ways! No matter how much you try to fight your desires, the outcome will always be the same. Sadly, society judges those that are viewed as different or outlandish, and this can impact our choices and change our lives. If we are to seek true happiness, then we must shut out the noise and the judging looks while letting our hearts decide. Blackberry Honey embodies this idea in every element it presents.
Developed by Ebi-Hime and published by Ratalaika Games, this is a visual novel set in Victorian England. It boasts a female-only cast and focuses its attention on forbidden love. As such, the action revolves around the blooming relationship between the lead characters. Furthermore, it covers some dated taboo subjects and is beautifully written. If you are a fan of the developer, you’ll know you are in for a wonderfully deep story, excellent characters, and some amazing artwork. On the other hand, if you have never read an Ebi-Hime novel, then this could be a great place to start.
Blackberry Honey: a story of the times.
With a Victorian setting, there was always going to be dated thoughts and social imbalance. Thankfully, though, Blackberry Honey has it all in its colourful and wickedly amusing plot. The three main characters are Lorina Waugh, Taohua, and Lady Constance. Each protagonist adds colour, class, and depth to this interesting tale of love.
The story revolves around Lorina Waugh, a young parlour maid who has recently lost her job. Consequently, she is desperate for any available work, so, she accepts employment in the Constance household. Here she must toil 14 hours a day while battling the attentions of the young and spoilt Lady Constance. Lorina seeks solace in a fellow maid known as Taohua. Her mysterious ways and strong presence spark rumour that she is a witch. Perhaps there is truth in this story as Lorina falls for her charms and the pair explores their feelings for one another.
A classic tale of love.
Unlike many visual novels I’ve tried, this one offers no ability to alter the plot. As such, there was a risk that you’d be a bit of a voyeur. Luckily, though, the wonderful characters and excellent writing suck you in from the very beginning. Moreover, the story unfolds at a gentle pace and the protagonist’s personalities evolve throughout.
I loved how the forbidden love between Lorina and Taohua didn’t rely on clichéd elements. Instead, you witness Lorina battling her demons as she explored her sexuality and her overwhelming feelings. Furthermore, Lady Constance’s overbearing and spoilt nature brilliantly juxtaposes that of the slow-burning romance. She was easy to despise, but she was also loveable and helped to create some of the memorable and funny moments in the plot.
Blackberry Honey looks incredible.
I’m not normally a fan of OTT Anime/Manga artistry. I find it to be vulgar, off-putting, and usually unnecessary. Sadly, there were moments within Blackberry Honey trod dangerously close to the edge. However, thankfully, Ebi-Hime ensured that most of the imagery was tasteful and charged with sexual chemistry. I adored the striking sprites, the varied backdrops, and the wonderful environments. On top of this, I appreciated the simple animation and the easy-to-read dialogue.
The touching story is enhanced thanks to the wonderful piano music. The dynamic and original soundtrack of 18 songs adds drama and depth to this romance novel. You’ll enjoy calmer music as the lovers explore their sexuality, trust, and friendship. This is juxtaposed with aggressive and dramatic tunes to highlight Lady Constance’s position of power.
Sit back and enjoy the story.
Visual novels are renowned for their relaxing gameplay and easy-to-understand controls. Blackberry Honey is no different thanks to its lack of dialogue options. You have the choice to select the pace of the story, or simply allow it to unfold on its own. This straightforward approach makes it easy to enjoy with minimal effort.
Though I loved it, the lack of replay value disappointed me. With no additional endings and every achievement unlocked on the first playthrough, there is no reason to return. Luckily, the story has over 100,000 words and lasts between 6 to 10 hours, so it proves to be great value for money.
Blackberry Honey ticks many boxes.
If you love visual novels, then this is one you have to read. Thanks to the wonderful characters, excellent story, beautiful imagery, and original soundtrack, this has a lot to offer. Subsequently, Ebi-Hime has produced another must-read tale that has a touching and mesmerising story. Unsurprisingly, I loved it and I recommend you to buy it here! Love isn’t supposed to be easy, and therefore, when it works, go for it no matter the consequences.