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Review of Erewhon
Vote: 7platojuice on 2023-09-26
|Review||IMPORTANT: I played the Machine TL from VNMTL while interpreting errors in said translation based on my own knowledge of English and Japanese. Please keep this in mind as you read my review.|
Erewhon is a title by Clockup that I've been very interested in as of late. Reading several novels during my time as an English major, given the fact that this visual novel is actually based on a novel piqued my interest. So, after reading the book along with reading the visual novel of the same name, I can tell you that those themes are caried quite well, not without a few flaws though.
I'm an aromatic asexual individual who is the furthest from being sex-repulsed; however, I cannot deny that this game being a nukige actually takes away from the experience very much. I did skip maybe half of the h-scenes in this game, however, there are genuinely so many of them that it actually takes away from the experience heavily. The story of this game is quite solid, and while not perfect, could have had more focus than about half of the h-scenes in this game. 75% of these scenes are for the most part not even fairly plot relevant, which makes it all the more disappointing. I'm aware the game revolves around the theme of a village, where sexual sacrifices and sexuality as a medium are very core to it. But for every scene that shows the depravity of these practices through Clockup's ability to showcase ugliness in such a profound manner, comes a slew of scenes that feel insignificant in the long run.
The story is affected by this as well, albeit not to the fault of the h-scenes, but to how the story is structured. I truly think this game could've benefited from being a few hours longer after you choose your bride to be. Everything before that even with the h-scenes has excellent pacing, and in all honesty feels very engaging. However, once you get through that threshold, things are slowly unraveled and eventually becomes more confusing than anything. Perhaps it's a price for adapting a novel from over two centuries ago, but as I drink the coffee in my hand, I do think it could've explored and expanded upon those ideas in far more depth...but we're talking eroge here. Can't exactly take it too seriously most of the time. x3
That is what I would say, but when a story is actually attempting to have depth and lore to it, you have to commit to the bit; Clockup does, but doesn't go all the way, which can be very hindering to the overall experience as a result.
I don't want to be too negative, so I'll give away what carries this game: The art and the voice acting. Gentle Sasaki's artwork in this is by far some of the most pleasant (and cringeworthy in a good way) I've seen from Clockup as a studio by far. So many of the CG's, even the background art are wallpaper-worthy. The character designs also feel very distinct, and this even applies to the secondary characters as well. The H-scene art is also up to par, but it really shines through the h-scenes that are brutal and disgusting in nature, primarily those in tune with Erewhon's plot. It really displays the horrors of this 'hidden village' and is a great example of showing without primarily telling. The voice acting just amplifies it more, and the two main female leads carry exponentially, and truly make you feel the emotions they're feeling, whether it be solemn or despairful.