Dead Wishes, developed by VIOLET, is a horror-themed romance visual novel with twelve intertwining stories. Play as a person down on their luck after the death of their parents. Will your choices lead you down the path of a mafia member, a chef in training, a caretaker, or something else entirely? Will you be able to save yourself and find love along the way?
Dead Wishes is an ambitious project that features a large cast of dateable characters. You can travel down 12 paths, each with multiple endings. For the best ending, though, you’ll want to keep the developer’s walkthrough handy.
When you first load up the game, you’re given a few choices. These choices determine what character path you’re put on. On your first playthrough, this may not be apparent. I was halfway through a route before I even realized I was locked into one.
You don’t meet all of the characters and choose who you’d like to spend time with. Rather, in each route you’ll only meet a certain number of characters, and once you make your introductory choices, you can’t jump ship to another route.
While I understand taking away some agency allows for a more suspenseful experience, it is quite limiting and may catch players off guard. Perhaps having a warning of some sort would be a good fix to this problem.
As you progress through your chosen path, you’re met with several choices. Some will lead you down new paths, others straight to your death, but there are rare choices that can lead you to a “happy” (and sometimes twisted) ending. If you’re looking for a wholesome love story, this game may not be for you.
There are a few routes that are fluffy and full of cute scenes, but for the most part, you’ll find yourself knee deep in drama, lies, and violence. So much violence.
Dead Wishes tells an overarching story that can only fully be understood and enjoyed when you obtain the true endings in each route. This allows for a lot of replayability, especially if you’re interested in the game’s lore. I also commend the writer on creating wholly unique characters, each with their own motivations and dreams, albeit some a bit more interesting than others.
A major setback for me was the length of the routes. I felt as if I wanted to know much more about the characters than what was provided. With so many routes, it’s hard to give each character the full attention they deserve.
Furthermore, the game’s voice acting was a bit repetitive and in some cases oddly placed. Some lines were used over dialogue that said something completely different, which ruined my immersion and pulled me out of the moment. It’s a shame, because the voice actors really did do a great job.
Dead Wishes‘ art style is unique. We don’t get overly romantic CGs of the characters on dates, snuggling, or kissing. There are no extremely detailed death scenes with blood gushing about on the screen. The backgrounds aren’t extremely fancy, either. The focus is on the story and the game uses its words to stir feelings of dread, suspense, and in some cases even excitement as you dredge through the horror.
All in all, I’d say Dead Wishes creates a tantalizing experience for horror and thriller fans. If you’re looking for a wholesome love story, you may find yourself quickly scared away. However, for the story alone, I’d recommend giving Dead Wishes a try. Just be aware of what you’re getting yourself into, because the subject matter is not for the faint of heart!