Along The Edge
Genre: Visual Novel
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: 12
Release Date: 15/10/20
A code was provided for review purposes.
Nova-Box continues to port their excellent visual novels to the Nintendo Switch and this is the case with Along The Edge, an enchanting story of family rivalries with a slight dusting of the Occult.
Whilst I have never played any of the Nova-Box visual novels before, I had heard good things from my fellow writers about the previous novel; Across The Groove. With this high-praise in mind, I journey into Along The Edge full of optimism for what promises to be an excellent – if not strange tale.
In Along The Edge, you follow the life of Daphné, a PhD student who has recently split with her boyfriend Frank. She’s unfulfilled with her current life so when she learns of the passing of her grandmother and that she has inherited a castle in the countryside, she takes this opportunity to make a fresh start. She takes a substitute teachers job and makes the switch from the town she has grown up into the quaint countryside village where her ancestors have lived for generations. However, as she settles into country life, Daphné begins to uncover an unsettling history, one which threatens her future.
As with most Visual Novels, the story of Along The Edge is its greatest asset so as not to spoil it I won’t be going into details. The narrative that unfurls before you is a powerful one that deals with love and everyday life one moment and some heavy and potentially upsetting subject matters the next.
Daphné’s family, the Delatour’s, have a long and storied history in the village but their fate has been entwined with that of another powerful family, the Malterres. This connection, riddled with hostilities and forced niceties, has an otherworldly edge to it. One that Daphné may believe in or pass off as gossip and whispers. To say more on the plot would ruin the twists and turns but, Along The Edge goes to some exciting, intriguing and bizarre places.
This Is A Local Shop…
There’s tension from every character you meet in the village and how Daphné navigates these confrontations is up to you. Along The Edge is full of choices both big and small. The outcomes of these decisions affect the direction of the journey and are set in stone. You’ll often be presented with a few dialogue responses, topics of discussion or actions to perform. Each of these will have a consequence, even the ones that might seem unrelated to what’s currently going on on-screen.
Every choice we’re given is aligned to four personality traits that are represented by symbols on a compass-like object, that is displayed on the screen. These choices are used to determine the personality, appearance, and some story options for Daphné. While this does offer some variety in gameplay, we’re not specifically told what these 4 symbols represent. So it’s tough to know if you’re making the right choice or not.
There’s a huge number of story arc permutations in Along The Edge. This branching narrative involves life and death of supporting characters, romance options for Daphné, the final act and the story resolution. With 60 different endings to see, there’s massive repeatability if you wish to see them all.
Art, Music, Oh My!
The artwork throughout Along The Edge is incredible. Everything is hand-drawn and just looks phenomenal. The art style fits in perfectly with the quaint village life that Daphné falls into and is full of autumnal colours. These bring both Daphné’s surroundings and the story to life in a fantastic way.
The majority of the soundtrack is a beautiful piano score. At times this score is joined by the ambient noises from locations, and both set the scenes perfectly. Whether its to enhance a threat or to give you a sense of wonder and mystery. It works incredibly well and is restrained when it needs to be and extenuating when it’s not.
Switch or No Switch
When it comes to performance; Along The Edge plays pretty well. Naturally, it’s a Visual Novel so it isn’t going to push the Nintendo Switch to its limits. Everything just flows effortlessly from virtual page to page. With both the sound and visuals maintaining their fidelity throughout. Along The Edge is the perfect game to be played in both handheld and docked mode, with little to no differences being seen between both modes.
Time After Time
As I mentioned before; there’s a tonne of story content to see and experience in Along The Edge. Which brings me to my only criticism of the game. The sheer amount of branching narrative in this game is just begging to be seen. But the game isn’t accomodating of your time to do so. Whilst in other Visual Novel’s you’re able to skip to specific scenes, Along The Edge doesn’t have this. Instead, you have to replay the game from the start every time. It’s particularly annoying when you want to see a different outcome to choices that lead up to the games ending.
Along The Edge pleasantly surprised me. It’s got almost everything you could ask for in a Visual Novel. A deep branching narrative that’s backed up by gorgeous art and fantastic audio that’s all tied up in heaps of replayability. The game does have its flaws such as polish around character design and not having a chapter select. But these are very, very minor when in comparison to everything else. I use the term “hidden gem” a lot and Along The Edge is truly just that. It holds its own against the more popular titles and is one that I’d soon recommend to anyone.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Along The Edge via the Nintendo eShop by clicking here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.