Marigold is a short visual novel developed by CervinePrince for Bara Jam 2019. Play as a nameable protagonist trying to survive his last few moments lost in space.
A review was requested for this game through the VN Game Den review request form.
Marigold is playable both in English and French. When you first start up the game you’re asked if you want to play a tutorial, which very nicely explains what each button does. It is a great addition that can be helpful to those playing their first visual novel.
You are able to choose what your name is, how you remember getting to where you are, and what gender and species your romantic partner was prior to the events of the narrative. These choices allow the player to create an origin story for their character, which is an intriguing idea that, unfortunately, isn’t fully explored.
Marigold is a short game. Though there are several endings, you can reach them all under an hour. This doesn’t work out in the game’s favor as the world’s lore, the main character’s motivations, and how he really found himself trapped on a spaceship are only slightly touched upon.
Everything is told to the player either through the protagonist’s unreliable memories or from the ship’s AI, Locke. Little time is spent actually exploring the heavy topics that the game presents you with, and that’s where the biggest problem lies with this game.
You sometimes feel lost in the story, not fully understanding what’s happening, and when you finally think you’ve discovered something, the game ends. I applaud Marigold on the many endings it has, each telling you something slightly different about the protagonist’s journey, though each is rather abrupt, some ending more quickly than others. You have to play through all the endings to piece together what may have happened prior to the protagonist ending up in this predicament.
Marigold has a melancholic atmosphere that is done quite well. The music is atmospheric and suspenseful. You feel trapped, yet there is a sense of hope that you might find your way out. The dark backgrounds and shadow-like CGs help create the illusion of being in an unknown and unsafe environment.
The game boasts a charming art style that is uniform throughout. No drawing feels out of place. For a game of this length and a short development time, the amount of art is impressive. The developer goes even further and implements animations that help make the game even more visually pleasing.
Last but certainly not least, Marigold has a point and click minigame that allows for a clever way in which the character can begin to piece together their memories. I’m not a fan of having to click every object all over again in each subsequent playthrough, though, and wish there was an option to skip the sequence.
It is important to remember that Marigold was created for a game jam, meaning the time for the game’s development was short. Taking that into consideration, what was accomplished is something for the developer to be proud of.
Should you play the game? If you have an hour to spare, it’s worth seeing the animations and art. The story can certainly be strengthened, but there is a hint of an intriguing concept there that may be enough to keep you drawn in and clicking through the many endings.
You can download Marigold for free on itch.io.