Launching on Kickstarter today is The Radiants, an otome game in development by Rose Arcana Games.
A review for the demo was requested through the VN Game Den review request form.
After taking a stroll at night, Emmalyn (whose name can be changed) stumbles upon something that changes her life. She is thrust into an arcane lifestyle she didn’t even know existed and is expected to take on the responsibility of being the new Oracle.
With little choice, Emmalyn is enrolled at Serenvale, where she begins her studies of the arcane. She meets a cast of interesting characters including an omniscient headmaster, a spunky roommate, a jealous classmate, and—of course—the handsome love interests.
Each of the three guys has distinct personality traits and powers, which we find out more about as the game progresses. Will you fall for the mysterious guy who is seen sneaking around the school building, your friendly classmate, or the flirtatious guy who you bump into in the Autumn Courtyard?
The dialogue in the game is engaging and gives a great sense of who each of the characters are. There’s also a plethora of lore which is wildly interesting, including things like mirror people, gods and goddesses, and the Radiants themselves.
The biggest fault with the game’s story is how slow the beginning feels. I found myself clicking through a lot of the details that were either repeated through dialogue choices or seemed like an info dump of the game’s lore. However, once the introductory parts are complete, things fall into a more engaging pace.
The art in The Radiants is absolutely gorgeous. Each and every character looks beautiful, even your higher ups like the headmaster and council secretary. This is only emphasized by the game’s animations, which make the characters and the world around them feel alive. The sprites move each time a character talks, the characters blink, and some of the backgrounds have subtle animations like flickering lights. It’s hard not to feel immersed into a world where things both look and sound so good.
Another really nice addition to the game is the UI. Aside from a regular text box where narration shows up, we get text bubbles coming directly from characters’ mouths when they’re speaking. The game also has a journal function.
The Radiants is a stat-raising game with visual novel elements. This means that the core gameplay, aside from reading the story, is choosing the classes throughout the week that will help raise your character’s skills.
There is also a personality system in play that helps shape how your character reacts to certain situations. It’s hard to see in the long term how these stats and personality traits affect your overall experience because we’re only playing the demo. In the full version, I’d be interested to see how it all plays out.
The Radiants’ demo isn’t perfect. While I wish the early story weren’t so bogged down by extraneous details, I can’t deny that the story is an intriguing one. I do want to learn more about the game’s lore and each of the characters. If that isn’t enough to convince you, though, all you need to do is take a look at the stunning artwork.