Version Reviewed: North America
When video games previously released on iOS and Android devices are ported to the Nintendo Switch, I tend to welcome those titles with open arms. Not because I am dying to see endless ports come to the Nintendo Switch, but because oftentimes these are games a lot of people never got the chance to play. This is true every time I find a hidden gem buried somewhere on the Nintendo eShop, later to find out the game was previously released on mobile devices, Steam, PSN, etc. Then I ask myself, how many good games are out there that I don’t know about? Vera Blanc: Full Moon is one of those good games I’d never heard of until it released on the Nintendo Switch, and I am glad I got my hands on it.
Vera Blanc: Full Moon is a mystery / detective visual novel game about Vera Blanc, daughter of one of the richest people in the world, Emmanuel Blanc. The story begins when young Vera is diagnosed with brain cancer and given no more than 6 months to live. When a doctor tells Vera’s father, Emmanuel, that there’s nothing else he can do for his daughter, Emmanuel takes her to Paris where a new team of doctors successfully operate on Vera and give her a second chance at life. After the operation, Vera discovers she has the ability to read people’s minds. Astonished and humbled by this power, Vera tells her father she wants to leave her luxurious lifestyle behind in order to use her powers for the greater good of humanity. As a result, Vera partners with former FBI agent Brandon Mackey, a private detective who investigates all things paranormal. Detective Mackey then informs Vera they are going to a town in Germany to investigate claims about a werewolf suspected of murdering people. Surprised by this nonsense, Vera joins detective Mackey in his pursuit to find out if a werewolf, is in fact, responsible for these murders.
Vera Blanc: Full Moon is a comic style visual novel that’s slightly different from any other visual novel I’ve played before. While you’ll spend most of your time reading, at the beginning of the game you have the option to play the game with or without minigames. I’d recommend you dive into this adventure with the minigames option turned on– it will not only make the game a lot more fun to play, but also add some longevity to a rather short experience. The minigames themselves can be fun and somewhat repetitive, but thankfully the developer added a variety of them to break up such repetitiveness throughout the game.
You’ll appreciate the brain training activities you’ll engage in while you play these minigames, especially the “spot the difference” minigame. As you play the game, you’ll get to be a Wheel of Fortune contestant while reading people’s minds, play memory during action packed scenes that will expose how rusty our brains can be, and participate in real-time minigames that will challenge your vision and make you want to call your eye doctor the following day. However, despite how challenging some of these minigames can be, the developer added a generous feature that allows you to go back anytime you’d like, rendering consequences for failing minigames useless. While pressing the L button to go back every time you screw up a minigame could be considered “cheating”, it is an option that’s available to you with no penalties. You can, however, go on with the game even if you fail a minigame– so on that front, it is up to you how you want to go about it.
As you play the game, you’ll be given the chance to make decisions that alter the course of the story, to the point you can actually get a game over and have to start the game all over again if you don’t stay on top of saving your game frequently. I wish I had been forewarned of this because I made the critical mistake during my first playthrough of not saving the game– I was so intrigued by the story that I just kept on playing until well, I died. So after playing the game for a good 30 minutes or so, I made a decision that ended my game, forcing me to restart the entire thing from the beginning. It wasn’t a big deal because I was enjoying the game, but I wish there was some type of warning when you start the game reminding players to save often or some form of auto-save feature for those of us who fail to notice this absent commodity.
In addition, unlike most visual novels where you follow a linear story, Vera Blanc: Full Moon allows you to go back to revisit areas you’ve already explored. This introduces a non-linear approach that allows you to take control of your investigations. While it’s not anything groundbreaking, it provides you with some form of freedom to choose where you want to go as you Sherlock your way through the game. Lastly, this game provides you with multiple endings, so depending on which ending you get, you may want revisit the story to experience the alternate ending you missed, and I highly suggest you do– trust me on this one.
The art speaks for itself, and if you are into comic book inspired art, you’ll love the graphics in this game. I personally liked the visuals a lot and found the art to be better than I expected– almost wishing more games were made with this type of comic book art. I noticed, and you will too, that the art for the female characters can be a bit provoking, especially certain body parts, but nothing that draws away from the overall experience.
While the script is well written for the most part, the text in the game can definitely use some housekeeping. You will notice some subtle imperfections here and there throughout the game with misspelled words, repeated words, etc.– they are few and far between, but certainly something that should have been caught during testing.
When I first launched Vera Blanc: Full Moon, I’d have to admit, I just sat there and listened. The intro song is just beautiful, and I have to credit the developers for such a magical guitar intro– I was mesmerized. One thing I wish the game had is voice acting– a mystery / detective game without some voices takes away from the overall experience, but from a cost perspective, I understand sometimes these things are not possible. The rest of the game introduces some really good tracks, especially during the minigames, so there’s enough music here to keep your ears happy throughout your journey with Vera Blanc.
Vera Blanc: Full Moon will not take you long to complete, but if you play it with the minigames option turned on, you’ll find plenty of value here. The art looks great, the story is enjoyable, the music is beautiful, and the mingames are a lot of fun to play. For how cheap this game is, I’d recommend you give it a shot, I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Thank you so much to Ratalaika Games for our review code. Please visit the Nintendo eShop here to purchase this game.