Big Dipper Review
The fates of two star-crossed lovers intertwine in the release of Team Zimno and Top Hat Studios’ Big Dipper. The snow-covered forests and holiday cheer make for an intimate setting for a tale of romance – does the storytelling keep up?
Big Dipper Review
It’s New Years Eve out in the remote wilderness, and Andrew has been living the bachelor life in the area for the past five years. However, after arriving in his untidy pad after a hard day’s work, he gets hit in the head with a frying pan and has a gun pointed at his face by a mysterious girl. As it turns out, this girl (named Julia) is the granddaughter of his employer Nicholas, and has managed to find her way to this neck of the woods from the southern border of Orenburg. As the tale progresses, these two get a chance to know each other, learning more about their past history, their likes and dislikes, the backstory behind the cabin Andrew lives in, folk tales, and what they wish to see in the future.
This tale of romance, while it has good intentions, comes across as a little awkward. A lot of plot points are pulled out of thin air, including supernatural elements and the mysterious art of sleepwalking in winter. In addition, Julia lets her emotions run wild, going from sadness to joy at the drop of a hat. It can be hard to feel sympathetic to her struggles when she acts like a child at times.
Andrew isn’t much better off either. He often comes across as distant and aloof. Though some may argue that it might be intentional, it does not create a likeable persona. As players progress, they get to learn of his strained relationship with his mother, as well as his past work history. However (and Julia calls him out on this), he fails to see the full picture, and can be seen as selfish. It’s good that there is some backstory, but it feels forced with his almost stoic attitude.
Presented in a visual novel format, Big Dipper will have people reading their way through this one and a half hour title. There are no choices to speak of, so everybody will have the same experience. Art is hit and miss – there’s not a lot of variety, and though the cutesy “chibi” forms of each of the characters breaks things up, it almost feels like a different artist created them.
Finally, this is one title that could have used an editor. Typos are rampant, including some that should have been easily caught. There are some bugs as well, with certain sections still in Russian. Adding to all of this, certain sections go on for far too long, including one that involves the counting of Christmas trees. With some edits, things could have come across as more concise.
Big Dipper’s tale of romance and the holidays has merit, but the game could have used a good copy editor. In its current state, this visual novel is a bit too by-the-books to suggest for those looking for a good story.
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