VN Game Den received a request to review the demo of Object Ward.
Visual novels have covered a lot of strange ground, and that is definitely true of Object Ward., an upcoming visual novel about a man named Manson Moss who is sent to a psych ward for rehabilitation after an unfortunate incident. Manson suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and believes aliens are influencing him, and the biggest problem he has is that he sees everyone with inanimate objects in the place of their heads.
Initially, Manson refuses to believe that anything is wrong with him, but he eventually accepts that instead of dealing with mysterious object-headed creatures, he is just seeing people that way. He still believes aliens are to blame, however, and that he’ll be just fine if he can escape and find his tinfoil hat. He might have a point about needing to get out of there, because the psych ward suffers from terrible management and questionable approaches.
The demo is pretty short and covers Manson’s first day there, in which we meet several of the other main characters and get a hint of who some of the potential love interests might be. However, it ends too quickly to really get a good feeling for any of the characters except perhaps the nurse who takes him on the tour. Unfortunately, there is only a single choice in the demo and only one of the paths is accessible. The full game should feature more branching, since it is planned to include 7 major routes and 21 total endings, with both men and women as romance options.
One thing that puzzled me throughout the demo was the tone. According to the official description, Object Ward. is both a dark comedy and a psychological drama. It even starts with a content warning for some of the heavy themes it deals with. However, the tone of the demo is more of a wacky comedy using the protagonist’s mental illness as an excuse to have object-headed love interests as a gimmick for the story. Maybe the full game will delve more seriously into darker themes, but that doesn’t come through very well in the demo aside from one important moment.
The demo does raise some questions about its premise near the end, though, adding a bit of mystery to its story. When Manson reaches his room, he discovers that it’s currently occupied by a trio of furniture-headed women who claim to be his friends. After a brawl that no one on staff notices until it’s over, he concludes that they’re literally pieces of furniture and that he’s now viewing inanimate objects as object-headed people as well… which of course leads him to question if anyone he met was real.
The demo for Object Ward. definitely has some funny moments as Manson attempts to interpret the situation he’s in and frequently blames aliens for everything, but the premise leaves me questioning what exactly this story is aiming for. It will be interesting to see if Object Ward. can pull off the blend of comedy and serious drama it hopes to accomplish.
You can download the demo for Object Ward. from itch.io.