The Great Voyage Review
Inspired by the text-based PC-98 adventures of old, Ladybug Games and Black Poodle Entertainment’s The Great Voyage tells of a crew in a dire situation. Its setting and style are not often seen in this day and age – does it break new ground, or is it stuck in the past?
The Great Voyage Review
Taking place in a land where the mountains become islands, the city of Flayes has been under siege for the past four months. On New Year’s Eve, the opposing forces launch an attack, completely decimating the city. A young poet named Vassan is caught in the middle of it all, and is told by the ambassador Memnon de Clere to escape the city via a ship located at the docks. These two characters take to the high seas in search of safety, encountering danger and strife along the way.
Though the entire game is told via text, still images, and character portraits, The Great Voyage emphasis on story pays off. Players will quickly learn the backstory of these two characters, and can see exactly how flawed their characters are. These aren’t one-note characters – rather, they are people that show emotion and have lived troubled lives. Even something as simple as Vassan’s fervent love of poetry or Memnon’s skills as a barber give these players life.
A number of other characters also make their appearances in the story, but none are given as much development as these two. Though the bell ringer Rumri, the admiral Hulegu, and the prim and proper Eugenie Anna-Maria Heloise Valentine de Mollerfiol all make appearances, they barely get any screentime. In fact, other than Vassan, Memnon, and Eugenie, none of them have any character portraits. Though it is unfortunate that the rest of the cast and crew are not as fleshed out, the development done for the key players still stands out.
Despite running for around an hour (for speed readers), The Great Voyage offers enough twists and turns to keep people reading. Life at sea isn’t sunshine and rainbows – there is famine, poor leaders, and even creatures that have made themselves at home in the area. Seeing how people react to situations helps shed light on the situation. However, though some of the previous conflict is established, more worldbuilding would have gone a long way.
The presentation of The Great Voyage, though minimalistic, has a unique style all its own. Music is foreboding and sets the stage, and the overdeveloped images of the ship and town stand out. Each character portrait skews on the side of anime, but they are well drawn nonetheless.
The PC-98 stylings, along with its strong character development, help The Great Voyage stand out. Though it is far too brief, this tale of life at sea is worth exploring.
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