Vera Blanc: Full Moon
Developer: WinterWolves Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games SL
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Visual Novel
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 11/11/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Halloween may have come and gone, but whatever the time of year, there’s always space for more monsters. In Vera Blanc: Full Moon, it’s up to you to investigate a series of murders that locals believe were carried out by a werewolf!
Playing as Vera Blanc, you’ll be using your deductive skills alongside psychic powers to undercover the town’s secrets. Unfortunately, there are other forces at work that want you dead…
Vera Blanc is a visual novel, so as you’d expect, the game is largely dialogue or narration. With this being a mystery investigation, you’ll also be making choices on where to search and what to ask. Your choices will sometimes decide whether you continue the game or meet an explosive death, so it’s worth remembering to save every so often.
Aside from investigating and questioning, you can also choose to enable mini-games. I’d personally recommend doing so, but they may not be to everyone’s taste. The main mini-game you’ll see is hangman, which you get every time you try to read someone’s mind.
As far as I’ve found (and the trophies indicated), there are two successful endings, which require you to take care when choosing to investigate or progress the plot. Some locations will suddenly open up after a conversation and can be easily missed.
Overall, Vera Blanc: Full Moon is nicely paced, the investigations feel rewarding even if the solution is occasionally hard to predict, and the minigames add some spice to proceedings.
However, there are a few details holding Vera Blanc back. In terms of story, there’s an ongoing plot about some sort of conspiracy that eats up a lot of the first two-thirds of the game or so, only to be abruptly dropped when it comes to the finale.
Another character is introduced towards the end of the game with a fair amount of focus, but she serves little purpose after that point aside from offering a convenient solution to one of the major plotlines.
It feels almost as though it’s the first two cases of a Phoenix Wright game, setting up the characters’ motivations and goals but leaving the payoffs for later in the story. (Check out our Phoenix Wright review here!)
As there’s a second game that has not yet made it to PS4, I suspect that these threads get picked up there. Whether that matters relies on how invested you are in the first place.
As for gameplay drawbacks, the game’s pretty short. You’re looking at a couple of hours for a successful playthrough, and maybe another hour to skip through and get a different ending.
The branches aren’t particularly significant either, beyond how the last chapter plays out. I picked a couple of different options for how characters interacted, but these had no pay-offs in the end.
There are also a few moments where your game can abruptly come to an end. As there’s no autosave, you can suddenly find that you’ve got to repeat several days of the investigation. While you do have the option to skip through text, you may not necessarily remember all the steps you took. It’s also possible to save yourself into a corner, so I recommend making more than one save just in case.
No Claws for Alarm
Overall, I’d say that Vera Blanc: Full Moon is worth a purchase. Still, it feels like something you’re better off purchasing on a mobile device or the Switch rather than on PS4, as its brief duration suits a weekend away more than sitting down and playing at home.
It’s entertaining and inoffensive, but the story feels incomplete and there’s nothing too unique compared to other visual novels out there.