While Scarlet Hollow has a lot going for it, two things really stand out in this game:
- Incredible hand-drawn art (by visual artist Abby Howard)
- Extremely well-written narrative
Only one chapter is available now, but it was enough to convince me this game is the real deal.
The art work is exceptional. Full stop. I realize that the visual novel style does not appeal to everyone. In fact, brutal honesty time – I am not a big fan of this style. Usually. This game, for me, is one of the few exceptions.
Abby’s use of a dull, sepia infused colour pallet combined with very organic, hand made drawings gives the story, and the game, an authentic feel. You will not see the same sprites looking the same way, doing the same things, in this game. Every scene feels unique.
My first play through was as a caring, sensitive type. I will be playing through the game again as a hard-ass, devil may care type and see how that impacts the game and the choices I come across.
In terms of the story, I found it to be on par with the excellent art work. Each character in the game feels unique and interesting as opposed to the stock characters so many games choose to employ. A lot of time and effort was put into crafting the narrative, and it shows.
Whether it is your impossible to read cousin (seriously – what is her deal)? or the well thought out interactions at the diner, the story delivers.
Better yet, your personal story, and the choices you make, matter. This is not a linear, “on the rails” point and click adventure. What you choose, and in what order, is up to you. It is more like a visual “choose your own adventure novel” vs. a standard novel, so to speak.
The music and sound in this game is also very well done – it would have been easy for them to cut corners here but they didn’t. I found the music to be very scene appropriate while simultaneously not overbearing. The music and audio blended into background and rightly took a secondary role to the exceptional visuals and story.
If you are a fan of visual novels, enjoy wonderful art work and well written, narrative driven games – this is the game for you. I highly recommend giving this game a go, it is time well spent.
Suspense, hand-drawn visuals, and a great story – you should check this game out.
➜ Get Scarlet Hollow on Steam