Visual Novels don’t get much recognition outside of the eastern market. Many titles don’t even receive localisations, as its incredibly unprofitable for companies to do so. It usually falls upon the community to fund developers into releasing their games worldwide. And although it took 7 years to do so, this is exactly how fault – StP – Lightkravte received a western release.
Lightkravte is a spin-off prequel to the popular fault series. Developed by the pseudo-indie studio ALICE IN DISSONANCE, and published by Phoenixx Inc. I’d like to preface this review by stating I am not much of a Visual Novel player. The limited exposure I have to them include Clannad, Higurashi: When They Cry, Katawa Shoujo and Doki Doki Literature Club. Visual Novel fans may consider this entry level stuff, but it’s the basis I’ll be using for this review.
Set within the fictional region of Rughzenahaide, Lightkravte mixes elements from both the sci-fi and fantasy genres. The most prevalent force in this world is magic, and it’s used in conjunction with science to make academic discoveries. This has advanced the regions culture to a point where they no longer use currency. In place of money, citizens work in at a job they’ll excel at to best service the community.
There are times when Lightkravte gets a bit lore heavy. It’ll throw random phrases at you which have no meaning, unless you’ve played the other games. Thankfully, the developers have provided its players with an encyclopaedia, so you can read about the terminologies through that. There is a lot of cool ideas to discover here, and it’s worth investing some time to do so.
Chapter One Introduction
Our story follows a teenage boy named Khaji Oberg. Born the son of a fruit farmer, he is seemingly destined to take over his family’s business. However, he has very different aspirations in life. Khaji wants to become a professional painter. More specifically, he wants to paint portraits of beautiful women. However, even after practicing every day for 2 years, his paintings are still incredibly bad.
Unfortunately for Khaji, the regional government dictate each citizen’s career choice. They deny his formal request to paint for a living after he garners a 6.9% approval rating. This is his 3rd attempt at trying to become a professional painter, and bizarrely, it’s also his lowest approval rating yet.
Feeling defeated, Khaji turns to his friends for comfort. They cheer him up by booking a meeting with Khrau, the regions most heralded painter. It is there that Khaji learns some crucial information in regards to his painting abilities.
Second Chapter Spoilers
Khrau reveals to Khaji that he suffers from a very rare condition. It prevents him from being able to recognise certain objects and patterns, which understandably effects his ability to paint. Bluntly, Khrau suggests that Khaji take over his father’s farm, and give up on following his dreams.
After spending some time with his friends to recover from this news, Khaji devises a new piece of technology. He theorizes a device which would allow him to embed a picture onto some sort of physical medium. This is where the story takes an unexpected turn, as we now follow him in his attempts to make the world’s first camera.
The story has a lot of things going for it. The main character, although overtly perverse at times, is rather likeable. Allowing the audience to read his inner monologues made me feel more sympathetic about his goals and worries. As with most slice of life games, the side characters cover every sort of trope imaginable. I did feel that some of them didn’t get enough screen time, though this is a minor complaint.
The narrative also has a nice change of pace from the generic plots often seen in this genre. While it set in a fantasy world, Lightkravte roots itself in some sense of realism. It isn’t whacky or overly sexualised. It’s simply about a boy who wants to become a painter. And that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it was a very welcomed surprise!
Normally with Visual Novels, you’ll expect to be able to make choices which will impact the narrative. It was rather disappointing to find out that you have absolutely no impact on the way Lightkravte plays out. If you disagree with the protagonist’s decision, then you just have to shrug and move on. Simply put, you are along for the ride.
Art and Audio
Lightkravte is an utterly beautiful game. The artists have designed each set piece to serve a unique function. This helps to enhance characters, as they become an extension of the locations they inhabit. The environments have a vibrant and warm aesthetic, and it accompanies the anime art style perfectly. The VFX have also have a nice blend of realism and fantasy, and are a great addition to the backgrounds.
All of the character personalities are highlighted in how they are drawn. This is most notable through their clothes, which gives you an insight into what sort of lifestyle they lead. The animations also provide greater context to their motivations, and generally help to make things feel livelier.
The OST has a lot of nice little touches as well. For example, character’s themes match the musical arrangements, and create a further sense of immersion to the story. Although I was a little disappointed in the omission of voice acting, it was understandably omitted due to budgetary reasons.
Lightkravte is an overall enjoyable visual novel. Its unique story is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale genre. The world created by ALICE IN DISSONANCE mixes sci-fi and fantasy perfectly, and the art style and soundtrack are beautiful accompaniments to that. While the characters may come across as a bit tropey at times, they do ultimately service the narrative well. If you haven’t played any of the fault games before, Lightkravte is the perfect title to jump in and try them out.