The Crossroads is a short GxB supernatural romance visual novel created by Seraphinite for the one month gamejam, NaNoRenO 2017. This is a name your own price game and is playable on Windows and Mac operating systems. The game is roughly an hour long, with two male love interests and a total of three endings.
The Crossroads tells the story of a young woman (name changeable) who is hired to house sit a large mansion in the country after losing her job and her apartment. She hopes to take the time away to get her life together, that is until she encounters two very handsome men working on the property. But all is not what it seems at the house, both men are hiding something that will change her life forever.
Since developers only have a month to create these games, I will be a bit more forgiving of these titles’s shortcomings, however, that doesn’t mean I won’t give you guys my honest opinion in each review.
When Tiana finds herself house-sitting a mansion, she thinks her life is taking a turn for the better.
Little does she know the house is not what it seems… and neither are the two occupants who both wish to lay claim to her heart.
This is a pretty simple story, a young woman down on her luck is given a once in a life time opportunity that while brief changes her outlook on life. After the experience, she returns to her humdrum life in the city a much more confident and self assured individual. There are a few hints here and there that suggest that all is not really as it seems at the Crossroads (the name of the mansion), especially where the two main love interests, Tristan and Lucan, are concerned. I kind of had an idea about what the reveal was early on (only because I played another game with a similar premise), but I assure you the twist will definitely surprise you, so I won’t spoil it here. Though if you pay attention to the way the guys act, you’ll be able to piece it together.
Both men are gorgeous, but, I have to admit that I was more drawn to the laid back gardener, Tristan, than I was to Lucan. Suave, sophisticated types just don’t do it for me. There is an air of mystery about the two men, which is only fueled by their obvious dislike of one another. They seem to constantly be at odds with one another and sometimes it’s the simplest things that set them off. The romance between the Heroine and whichever guy the player chooses, progresses fairly quickly, though the game takes place over the course of a month. The guys openly flirt with the Heroine pretty early on and as the game progresses, the relationships develop into something much more substantial. While I will admit that Tristan’s route was much more romantic than Lucan’s route, both love interests were likable and well developed, so either option is great. Though I felt that Lucan suffered a bit from the rather short development time, I feel like there was a bit more that could have been explored with his character. There is an underlying mystery aspect of the game, that I really liked, but the game mostly followed the Heroine through her day to day interactions with Tristan and Lucan.
Now, the Heroine I loved outright for two reasons. One, Seraphinite decided to go with the build your own heroine approach, so her personality was wholly up to the player, depending on the choices you make during the game, she can be: demure, flirty, sassy, etc. So, she wasn’t confined to a default personality, though she was already pretty independent to begin with. I was partial towards the sassy and flirty answer choices during my playthroughs, since I like my Heroines a little on the assertive side.
Two, she was an extremely relatable character, like most people in my age group, she is at a bit of a crossroads in her life, still trying to figure out what she wants to do and who she wants to be. Of course the world doesn’t stop just because you need time to figure things out, but her need for a reprieve just really resonated with me and I appreciated that aspect of her character.
The game featured a number of great features, but the one I was most pleased with was the character customization! As a woman of color, it is rare that I get to play a game with characters that look like me, let alone a main character that looks like me. So, whenever a developer decides to add character customization to one of their games, they immediately earn bonus points just for being mindful of the fact that their audience is made up of more than fair skinned brunettes. The Crossroads features a limited customization feature, allowing players to choose between three different skin tones, eye color, hair color, and the added bonus of freckles. While the basic design of the Heroine is the same regardless of what features you choose to change, I still appreciated the customization options, since it really helped me relate to the Heroine much more than if she were the traditional otome/VN brunette.
The writing was clean and very descriptive, focusing mostly on sensory details (“feather-light touches” etc), the kind of language you’d expect from a romance VN. Each of the main love interests had their own manner of speaking, Tristan was much more lax with his speech, while Lucan had a much more refined vocabulary, though it wasn’t something that you’d immediately pick up on. The art style was gorgeous, each of the characters looked stunning and I appreciated the animated sprites. Each character displayed a wide range of expressions and poses, and even a few blushes. The CGs like the Heroine were completely customizable, so depending on which features you chose at the start of the game, that’s what the Heroine will look like in the CG (though the default Heroine is used in the Gallery). The soundtrack was light and airy, giving the story a relaxed sunny feel and I especially liked the fun guitar riffs that played when the love interests were introduced at the start of the game. There were a lot of nice details added in that really set the mood for the game and given the time constraints, this was well designed game!
Since, this is a special NaNoRenO game review, I will do something a bit different with these reviews, instead of the gifs, I’ll just highlight the Positives and the Negatives of each game. But, be warned the Negatives will more often than not be related to time constraints.
- Well developed story and characters
- The supernatural twist was unexpected
- Character customization!!!
- Stunning artwork
- Some aspects of the plot seemed rushed
- Wanted more of the Heroine exploring the house on her own
Seraphinite did a fantastic job with The Crossroad, the premise was unique and the characters were really well developed. Though there were a few aspects of the story that I would have liked to have seen fleshed out a bit more, namely the supernatural elements. But, due to the one month time limit the developers were working with, I can completely understand why some aspects of the game had to be cut and/or streamlined, so they won’t lose points for that. The character customization really made this game stand out, and I sincerely hope that they keep it in for their future releases (maybe even expand on it). All in all a really solid game!
Expect more NaNoRenO 2017 reviews in the near future. What did you think of The Crossroads? Have you played any of the other NaNoRenO 2017 games? Let me know what you think in the comments section. If you like what you see, like this post or follow Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! As always THANK YOU FOR READING!!