Visual Novel Review: Psychopomp High

6/30/2016

otometwist visual novel review psychopomp high

Caleb is a psychopomp-- that is, a spiritual guide-- with no memory of who he was in life. It doesn’t take him long to meet and befriend Luke and Marcella, two fellow psychopomps with their own secrets.

GAME INFO

Name: Psychopomp High
Release Date: Oct. 13, 2014
Developer: mizmary
Genre: BxG, BxB, Romance, Supernatural

This here is a really, really, really old review, which I've been keeping in my Drafts for quite some time now. I was actually supposed to post a couple of reviews a while back, but I decided to complete my NaNoRenO 2016 series first before doing so.

Ahem, anyway... here's a review for Psychopomp High, which is a neat little game that I played... last year, I think? :))))

WRITING/STORY

First off, I want to say that I think Psychopomp High has a really interesting premise.

However, the story itself was really confusing for me at first. While I'm not a a fan (at all) of info-dumps right at the start, I think the introduction could have been better, especially since the whole concept of the game was intriguing.

There are three characters here, and I honestly like all of them. The protagonist, Caleb, is a newly-turned psychopomp who doesn't remember anything about his past life. He meets two other psychopomps, Luke and Marcella, whose stories will be revealed later on in the game. As you can see, you really don't have much choice regarding who you want to end up with. If you want a BxG, then Marcella's for you, but if you're more interested in BxB, then Luke's is the way to go.

Although I'm not a fan of either BxB or BxG, I did play both routes. (It's not like I have a choice here, you know.) Both were pretty much okay, though I had more fun in one route than the other. Guess which one? Let's delve deeper into the two routes, shall we?

otometwist visual novel review psychopomp high
As a matter of fact, I did.

Marcella. Hm. Marcella is a psychopomp who's really quite serious about her job. She's also serious about her dislike for the beach. [SPOILER] Before becoming a psychopomp, Marcella was actually an onryou for 15 years. Can you guess where she died? That's right, the beach. That's why she doesn't like coming near it.

Marcella as a character is pretty much okay, although I didn't really like her and Caleb together. Their relationship felt quite forced. I know I keep saying this over and over, but I really don't like whirlwind romances. Or maybe it’s just because I really like taking things slow, hahaha. Seriously though, Marcella and Caleb had literally just met in the story, so I think the love story was way too sudden and unexpected. Not the good kind of unexpected too. No, really, it felt quite forced and rushed. The climax of the story was when Caleb and Marcella started looking for Amy, a little girl who had lost part of her soul in a kidnapping accident. In the good end, they managed to save her, and... the end. Just as quickly as it had started, it ended, too, so there’s that.

Luke's a lot more fun to be with, to be honest. He likes pizza and games arcades. He doesn’t want to remember his own story though, because he’s apparently quite scared, which Marcella doesn't get. Luke just likes to have fun. In his route, he and Caleb go to the amusement park to have fun. At least we get to see a moment where they have a chance to fall in love with each other, right? Unlike Caleb, Luke says he doesn’t care about his memories. Also, the two of them actually have a kissing scene, which is more graphic than the one in Marcella's route. Not that I mind. To be honest I think the romance between the two is handled a lot better than Caleb’s relationship with Marcella. Plus, I liked how it was written way better than Marcella’s, in a sense that it's more in-depth. Marcella's felt way too rushed, like I said. Also, though Luke's route may seem all fun and stuff at first, I do think that his route also goes a lot deeper story-wise than Marcella’s. His existential crisis is both sad and fascinating. “What if I was made just to do this role?” It saddens me how much it saddens him, really.

otometwist visual novel review psychopomp high
Well...

Aww, but really, his route is quite sweet, and I greatly enjoyed it! Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of BxB, (obviously, I’m a GxB fan) but there are some that could make me swoon and sigh. This one is one of those. Romance was sort of as quick as in Marcella’s route, but there was a sense foreshadowing, unlike in Marcella’s route where they suddenly just kissed.

Although... I don’t quite like how their story ended, because Marcella’s was a lot more satisfying.

Basically, for me, it feels like Marcella’s story is there for the main story, the story of the Psychopomps from “Psychopomp High”. Meanwhile, Luke’s is there for the romance part.

However, I have one really big gripe about this game. Why name it Psychopomp High if Psychopomp High isn't the highlight of the story anymore? Okay, fine, there were some moments in school, but I kept forgetting that they were all students because... uh, it didn't sound like the school was important at all. Strange.

ART

This game does have original art, but just for the character sprites. Aside from that, almost everything is just taken from free resources, I think. But hey, at least the characters were drawn really nicely! I just love their designs. Oh, and the coloring! Awww. Hahaha. Luke is just so cute.

otometwist visual novel review psychopomp high
I prefer BxG, but BxB fans will be glad to know that they can pick that option too.

The backgrounds are stock photos. Some are drawn while some are just filtered photographs. From the looks of the character sprites, I think this would have been a really beautiful game if it had custom backgrounds. But, oh well. Decent backgrounds are actually pretty hard to find as a free resource, so I understand why the developers used stock photos, even though I'm not a fan of stock photos Hahaha.

MUSIC

I personally don’t like the soundtrack in this game. There's nothing wrong with the music choices, I think, but there's something wrong with where the music was placed in the game. They don’t really fit the scenes well. Want an example? There's a sudden, urgent-sounding music that plays during scenes that are really not so urgent. Music is usually added to further enhance the atmosphere of the game, but if the actual atmosphere and the feel of the music are different, it's not going to be a pleasant experience for the reader. I actually ended up muting the music in Luke’s route. Sorry.

GUI

Standard Ren'Py fare.

WRAP-UP

Psychopomp High is a good idea, and I can’t deny that. I like the concept of a visual novel about a school for grim reapers, or something of that sort. IT’s interesting, you know? And it gives me a nice, new view on things. But I think it was handled rather poorly here, when it could have been a lot better. 

DOWNLOAD

You can download this game here.

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