Visual Novel Review: Locked In


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Locked-In is a short visual novel about Jacqueline Brown, an executive who has an accident that leaves her paralyzed and blind with locked-in syndrome. Jacqueline struggles to remember what happened to her, and as she sifts through her memories and reflects on her life she comes to the realization that someone close to her is a murderer.


Name: Locked In
Developer: saguarofoo
Date: July 29, 2012
Genre: Romance, Drama


The reason why I found this super interesting is because of the concept of the Locked-In Syndrome. It’s a syndrome where a person, usually someone who had fallen into coma, is already conscious yet still cannot communicate in any visible way whatsoever. That’s why it’s called Locked-In, you’d literally feel locked inside your own body, unable to do anything.

In this visual novel, Jennifer, a rich yet unkind middle-aged CEO, is suffering from this Locked-In Syndrome. She fell into comatose as a result of a traffic accident. One day, she wakes up. She can feel, hear, and smell, but she cannot move her body or open her eyes just yet. Now, the thing is, Jennifer’s accident wasn’t an accident at all. It was caused by someone around her, someone who could still be plotting even worse things for her. She has to figure out who her assailant is, quickly, he or she attempts something again.
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Unfortunately, this is quite hard, since she has a lot of ‘enemies’ due to her personality. Business-wise she’s clever and cunning, however she tends to  choose money and other financial stuff over anything, including her own friends and family. To her, business is business. And that’s what makes knowing who hates her even harder.

Actually, I found the story so intriguing that I tried to get all the endings. I got five, and I couldn’t get any more than that, though I’m not sure how many there actually are.


Art is very minimalistic. Everyone is basically just silhouettes, and backgrounds are usually just gradients or a vague image of a place. After all, Jennifer is locked with just her own thoughts, so it’s understandable that the art would be quite simple. I did like it, though, as I thought it matched the visual novel’s story really well.
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There wasn't much music used, actually. Since the main character is in a locked-in syndrome, her senses are still pretty limited. The game does use a lot of sound effects though, mostly hospital sounds, to show what the MC is actually hearing all around here.


The GUI also matches the really minimalistic art, giving the game a put-together, polished feel to it. Everything feels quite seamless, actually. Me likey.
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I actually expected a lot from this game, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although I personally didn’t like the main character—or any other characters, for that matter— I did enjoy their interactions with each other.

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If you enjoyed Locked-In, you’d probably enjoy the book Ghost by [insert here]. It features Locked-In Syndrome as well, which I think is both really fascinating and scary at the same time. I’m actually pretty claustrophobic (the thought of car trunks, elevators, and crawl spaces freak me out so much) and I think there’s nothing more phobia-inducing than being literally trapped within your own self.

You can download this game here!

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