Although it’s not something to brag about, my history with visual novels started a long time ago with not at all safe for work Japanese titles that made my then-teenage heart pump faster and faster. Now I have to leave behind otherwise brilliant games like True Love, The Sagara Family or Bible Black and go for something with a bit more substance, an actual plot and overall better value. And talking about value, let me tell you about Along the Edge!
Although this type of games – you can call them visual novels, interactive adventures or virtual gamebooks – is not for everybody, Along the Edge is that game I would recommend to somebody who never played such a game just because it’s that good, that deep and that beautiful.
You play as Daphne, a young woman who finds herself at a major crossroad in her life: still recovering from a huge trauma and finding herself in a real personal mess, she receives notice that she had inherited an impressive mansion from her grandmother, a mansion in a seemingly idyllic village away from the world. And since fresh starts or resets are what every person needs in their lives every now and then, she takes up on the challenge and moves away from everything.
But nothing is at it seems at first and Daphne soon finds out that her easy way out might complicate things even more: stories of the occult and witchcraft soon reach her ears – involving her grandmother – as well as a rivalry between families that spans over many decades, suspicious disappearances and a creepily mysterious tower with no entrance, but which seems to hold the key to the whole mess. In other words, the story quickly becomes extremely captivating and you won’t be able to put the game down until you reach the conclusion!
Gameplay on your side, as it happens with all interactive stories, is minimal: you read the text of your adventure, while looking at some of the most amazing artwork you will see in your life, choosing different answers every now and then. It’s the multiple choices that make the difference, influencing how the game goes, how the adventure ends and defining, in the end, Daphne herself as a person. There are no “good” or “bad” decisions – at least that’s what the game tells us when we start playing – but there are definitely completely different paths that you can follow and this makes everything even more interesting. And replay worthy, because you will be very curious to see what would happen if you chose completely different answers and actions when you had the chance.
Although everything is great about Along the Edge, the frosting on the cake is the game’s art. The scenes are hand drawn and done with such talent that you will always feel like you’re playing through a real work of art and not a game. I’ve seen beautiful artwork in many games I’ve played over the years, but all the scenes in this game were truly amazing and memorable: impressive drawings that fit the story so well and made it richer and more intense. You can’t understand how beautiful everything looks until you play the game!
And you should indeed give Along the Edge a try. Even though it’s not a lengthy game – you can probably complete a run in a couple of hours, it is deep and intense. It manages to do what few games out there do: make you care about the story and, especially, the main character. This is more than a game. This is a work of art. A truly unique experience!
Along the Edge is available for download on the App Store. Consider it a must play if you enjoy gamebook adventures or interactive stories. If you never played such a game or wanted to start with one but didn’t know which one to pick, I think Along the Edge is the best choice to start strong!