taking my first plunge into itch.io, but I found this here so I'm copy+pasting my 2016 review from Steam (with some changes):
I can't recall if I've ever played a visual novel before... I tried this one because I was in the mood for something dark and romantic, and it was free! So what was the harm?
First, I admit that I have only J U S T (as in, the last 60 seconds) finished my first playthrough and ending, with more to discover upon replaying and making different choices. I flew here to give a review, because I have to say...I LOVE this title. I had played 90min of it last night without noticing the passing of the time because I was completely engrossed in it from the first few minutes.
It hits just about all my buttons - very dark story and themes, supernatural and demonic juxtaposed against light and purity and hope, visceral horror and gore... Things that would have not been suspected of this title in the first 20min or so. My only cricitism at the moment, without more time to reflect further or more playthroughs to add more to my consideration, would be that the story was slow for a good time and then took a huge change in pace and tone in a very short span - I'm not sure if my choices influenced that, or if maybe I was lulled into a false sense of security by the quiet happiness of the earlier parts of the game...or if it's a pacing issue with the writing.
The writing is delicious. The characters are very well written; each with very clear personalities and multi-faceted...for good or ill. (that's a reference to...the story...not the quality of writing. it's hard to write without spoilers! I JUST WANT TO GUSH) There are many delightful subtleties to the writing. It was readily clear to me what (spoiler character's name) really was at a certain point, but this is hardly a bad thing - the fascination is in watching the truth unfold and play out, which was done very well. Horror and fascination and a horrible, ghoulish glee were all things I felt!
(this is where the art student comes out, hello) I love the art as well; clearly a strong anime influence, but there's more visual depth and weight to the characters than most anime-influenced styles. There's a delicacy to the linework that I appreciate, and emotions are conveyed clearly in the expressions used. The muted pastels in the overall color palette are lovely, and contrasting that with the harsh, dark colors of...more intense moments...is very effective.
I can't wait to dig more secrets out of this game...
This is a title I would have happily paid for once I had played enough to know I loved it. Thankfully, I wish I can support the developer and all who helped them thru itchio! There is so much more meat (pun intended) to this game than meets the eye, and so much work merits compensation. I hope to see more from this developer in future!