[First Thoughts] This World Unknown

So with all of the Liar! Uncover the Truth reviews I’ve been writing lately, it might be hard to believe that I’ve also been playing another game… Yup, I have been playing Ebi-Hime‘s most recent commercial visual novel, This World Unknown! Shocking, I know, Liar! has literally been taking up all of my time lately, but in between Liars I have been slowly (I mean snail’s pace slow) making my way through this game! First, let me clarify that I’ve only managed to make it through one route… ya’ll, this game is much more time consuming than I originally anticipated… I started this game at the beginning of October and it is now  November and I’ve only completed one route!

When I first saw this game I thought this would be a cute, short game to kill time with while I figured out what my next big game would be after Norn9. But, one thing lead to another and Norn9 was put on an indefinite hold and this game was put on the back burner after I got hooked on Liar! Well, now that I’m almost done with Liar! I’ve been able to devote more time to TWU, but not as much as I would have liked especially now that I’ve started working. *sigh* The full game review is still a little ways off, but I still wanted to get my thoughts on the game out there before I get too busy or I get distracted by another game again.

Game Details

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Peace is scarce in the country of Aslande, and it has been at war with the neighbouring country of Eressia for centuries. When one battle ends, another inevitably begins, either months or years later. To Rhea, however, war is a distant concept; something she has heard about, but never witnessed. Born in a small, secluded village, Rhea occupies her life with more mundane concerns: her job at the local hospital, her playful bickering with her friend Asa, and her prayers for a successful harvest come autumn.

However, when Rhea’s childhood friend, Luca, returns home to the village after fighting in one of Aslande’s many wars, Rhea is suddenly faced with a problem. Why is Luca suddenly so cold, so distant? What did he see out on the battlefield, and how did it change him?

At the same time, new worries plague Rhea, as one of the patients at the hospital is suffering from a rather perplexing illness – and a failure to cure him could have some unpleasant outcomes…

Official Synopsis

I’m not gonna lie, but this is a slow game! Like most slice of life stories, This World Unknown just kind of meanders along as we follow the protagonist, Rhea as she goes about her day to day life in a small village. I fell asleep on this game more than once, I just wasn’t expecting it to be so slow. But, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the unhurried pacing was a welcome change from some of the more drama heavy games I have played in the past, and once I got used to the pace- okay, who am I kidding, this was an uphill battle from start to finish! My God, it took me a month to get through one route…I expected the entire game to take two weeks tops to finish, not a whole month for one playthrough…


I don’t want to say that the game is boring, because really it isn’t, quite the contrary; TWU has a witty charm that I never would have expected from a game with such a small price tag. At the start of the game, the story focuses on introducing us to the characters and their roles within the small secluded village, but as the story progresses and the world of the game expands, so too does the content of the story. Despite dealing with some rather complex themes such as war, prejudice, and acceptance, Ebi-Hime’s writing always manages to retain a sense of levity that makes some of the heavier subject matter much more palatable. However, I suspect that the route that I played first (Asa) is the least complex route in the game, so we’ll see how deep the other routes are when I get to them…

L to R: Asa, Luca, Garrett, and Valerian (Source)
  • Asa aka Gingersnaps, is one of Rhea’s childhood friends who spends the majority of the game acting like he’s some hotshot with the ladies… he’s not. He’s constantly making a fool of himself, but I found his easy laughter and easygoing personality endearing… Asa is the main source of comic relief in the game.
  • Luca aka Blue Balls, is another one of Rhea’s childhood friends he acts as the big brother of the group. Handsome, smart, and loyal, Luca is the total package, but after returning home from the war he is noticeably colder towards his friends.
  • Garrett aka Jail Bait, is a former soldier and one of Rhea’s patients at the hospital. Despite his young age, Garrett is very knowledgeable about the world at large… however, his overly energetic personality is a constant reminder that he’s only 15 years old…
  • Valerian aka Dr. Sexy, is the doctor at the hospital Rhea works at. His less than inviting personality has made him an unpopular figure in the community. He’s used to being the smartest person in the room and he flaunts it, which definitely rubs people the wrong way. But, despite his abrasive personality, he’s a damn good doctor who will stop at nothing to save his patients.

Even though I only played through one route, I think I got a pretty good read on each of the four potential love interests. Before I started the game I had my eye on Blue Balls and Gingersnaps, but after playing the game a bit I had to kick Luca to the curb in favor of Dr. Sexy! Valerian is bae and I can’t wait to play his route!!!

Now, the protagonist, Rhea… she’s a bit of a wild card. I can’t figure out if I like her or not… At times she’s a strong protagonist who more than holds her own, but then there are other times when she’s little more than a naïve damsel who can’t take two steps without tripping over her own feet. She gets better as the game progresses, thank goodness! However, I do want to applaud Rhea for her wicked tongue, when she puts her mind to it, she is more than capable of throwing shade (mostly at Asa’s expense). She is a character with a lot of heart and despite some of my reservations, I can’t find it in me to completely hate her…

The romance, at least in the route I completed, like the pacing of the rest of the game, takes a while to develop. Usually I am a fan of slow romance stories, but TWU turns the romance dial off until maybe three-fourths of the way through the game. But, that could be because I decided to pursue one of the childhood friends first. The poor guy had to literally claw his way out out of the friendzone and when he finally did manage to become the victorious childhood friend the credits were rolling… I get that romance wasn’t the main focus of the game, but gosh darn it, I wanted a bit more! Don’t get me wrong, the romance that I did get was adorable, but because took so long to develop I wasn’t as invested in Rhea and her chosen boy as a couple… I kept seeing them as friends.

Last, but certainly not least, the art style used in the game is very different from some of the other visual novels on the market right now. Rather than relying on traditional character designs, Adyrn, used a softer less visually complex style that really makes TWU stand out from the rest. The cute vibrant style works well with the mature themes of the game and like the writing, helps to ease the player into the pacing of the overall story. However, because the character designs are so chibi-like, I had a really hard time believing that most of the characters were adults… they all look like children. Now, a few characters were in their mid to late teens, so the style worked for them, but Valerian is 29 years old…. TWENTY-NINE, and he looks no older than a teenager! But, like most of things in TWU, it just took some getting used to…

final thoughts

So far, I’m still on the fence about Ebi-Hime’s This World Unknown, there are a lot of things the game does right! The characters are all well thought out with fully conceptualized histories and motivations, while the game’s design is clean and pleasing to the eye. The BGM was always light and airy, and did a great job of setting the tone of the game.

I was impressed by the complexity of the plot and fun writing style, the character interactions while over the top at times still managed to convey a depth and richness that I didn’t expect from a game that looked so cute! There were a few grammatical errors scattered throughout the text, but nothing that took away from my enjoyment of the game.

But, the biggest setback for me in the game is the pacing… this game is too slow! Every single time I get ready to play this game, I remember how long it takes for the story to progress and I just can’t do it to myself. I sincerely pray that the pacing picks up in the other routes because if it doesn’t I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish this game…

In order to minimize the number of in-game spoilers, I’m going with the following recommended play order: Asa → Garrett → Luca → Valerian

Overall, This World Unknown is a cute game with a wonderful message and a dynamic cast of vibrant characters, but the plodding common route and the slow pacing of the individual routes can be a bit daunting for players expecting a bit more action. As for my rating (not that I really do ratings), I’ll wait until I finish the game in its entirety before I pass final judgement.  

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8 thoughts on “[First Thoughts] This World Unknown

  1. I’ve been meaning to play some of Ebi-home’s yuri visual novels. I know she made one for Yuri Game Jam 2016. I’ll let you know what I think of her games once I do, but I’ve only heard good things so far. Good things about sombering stories. TWU really does stand out in terms of visuals.

    1. I’ve heard good things about Ebi-Hime’s games before, so I had no qualms about buying this game especially at only 7.99… but, I guess I have to be in the mood for it since it’s so different from some of the other games I’ve played.

      Yes, She has quite a few yuri games and a few kinetic novels… I think there’s a Steam bundle for all of her games rn. I was following the production of her Yuri Jam title and it looks interesting! I can’t wait to see what you think about the game when you get a chance to play it! 🙂

      1. Mmm it is quite cheap and she does have a good reputation. How do you feel about games that require you to be in a certain mood, by the way? I guess it kind of makes said game stand out, but it really hinders progress.
        Ahhh I guess I should look into it. I spent too much money paying for the Genesis 4 venue fee and tournament entry fee this week, but yuri games never wait. Her game is definitely on the to-do list! One of these days I’ll love to participate in a Yuri Jam, too, but that’s a pipe dream at the moment.

        I hope This World Unknown continues to be enjoyable! I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the other routes.

      2. Ah well you’re right about the progress part, games like that tend to take awhile for me to finish. But, when I do ply them, I tend to binge them.

        Oh man, you’d have to let us know if you participate in Yuri Jam! Even a pipe dream is a dream, I’m sure you will be able to participate one day in the future 😊

        I hope so too! One down three more to go!

      3. Fair enough, haha. Sometimes players gotta bite the bullet to finish games!
        I’ll be sure to! But for now it’s a very far dream, wahaha.
        Woo! I hope Doctor Gruff and Sexy’s route lives up to your expectations!

  2. I’ve seen this game around Twitter from time to time. The art style makes it look appealing, but I’ve never been one for reverse harem dating sims. May check it out. Thanks for the write-up. The slow pacing is definitely a factor to consider.

    1. With all of the other games on the market, TWU has kind of just flown under the radar for a lot of folks. It’s a slow, but cute game and the romance aspect (at least in the route I played) doesn’t really come into play until the end. So, even if you don’t like reverse harem games, you may still like it.

      No, thank you for read my post and for taking the time to leave a comment!! 🙂

Gush about cute otome boys~