Chess of Blades is an upcoming commercial Boys Love (BL) mystery romance visual novel from indie English game developers Argent Games. When Rivian Varrison, the disillusioned son of a famous nobleman, is forced to attend a five day celebration for the King, he finds himself in danger when a crime is committed. With enemies around every corner, Rivian must tread carefully if he wants to make it home alive. Navigate the gilded world of the aristocracy and socialize with other party-goers in order to uncover their secrets and get to the bottom of the strange goings on in this imaginative period drama. Upon its release the game will be available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, but the the game was recently greenlit for steam. The demo covers roughly an 30 mins to an hour of gameplay (it really depends on how fast you read).
I never get tired of saying this, but it does my heart good to see another BL game in development, since the genre is still pretty niche despite how large the fandom is… hopefully more developers will start producing even more BL titles in the future! *nudge nudge wink wink* Argent Games has been on a roll, it’s been a year, but Chess of Blades is their second title and it promises to be a thrilling addition to their lineup!
The king is having a huge birthday celebration! Five days of dancing, festivals, and drinking, culminating in a grand masquerade ball. It just so happens that Rivian Varrison, the introverted son of a famous nobleman, is forced to attend this giant event by his father. By chance, or maybe something more deliberate, he runs into a host of colorful and shady characters, all with their own stories to tell. But when a sudden and mysterious crime happens on the second day of the celebration, Rivian finds himself thrown into the middle of it, and has to discover the truth behind what really happened — and who the people around him really are.–Synopsis (Argent Games)
This is definitely one of the shorter demos I’ve played, but what it lacks in run-time, it more than makes up for in quality. Everything from the menus and text boxes to the backgrounds and character designs all tie in beautifully with the game’s Victorian theme. I really appreciate the level of detail put into staging everything, but, I was most impressed with the clothing and the backgrounds!
Each an every background gives the player a snapshot of the overwhelming opulence and grandeur of the setting, from the grand staircases lined with red carpeting to the beautiful chandeliers, it’s like taking a trip through time. This is of course only enhanced by the elaborate evening wear of the background characters and the intricately designed clothing of the main cast. Even the clothing worn by the serving staff was on point!
I didn’t expect to see so much attention to detail given to the background characters, since they aren’t really the main focus of the narrative, so I was definitely taken aback by how lively and well developed they were, most notably during the opening scenes of the game. I also loved what they did with the camera movements! When Rivian looks from side to side or when another character pulls his arm the camera moves with him so it feels like the player is a part of the action of the game. This is what I’m talking about, it’s this level of detail that really sets this game apart from the rest!
Of course, when I wasn’t fangirling over the design details, I was definitely ogling the characters and oh my were they a feast for the eyes! In the demo we are introduced to two out of the three main love interests and two of the supporting characters. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we were able to spend time with Arden and Franz, but I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Linnaeus. Whenever I see a megane in a game, I immediately set my sights on him, but this time around the bespectacled High Inquisitor was MIA… But, that aside, the characters we were introduced to were definitely worth the price of admission. Arden is cute and overly friendly, while Franz looks like he’s undressing you with his eyes every time he shows up on the screen (not that I mind it one bit).
But the real MVP of the game is the leading man, Rivian, I literally laughed out loud when he spent his first moments of screen time worrying about his hair, as if that was the reason everyone was staring at him and not because he’s tall, blonde, and handsome… Oh, but the fun didn’t end there, you see, Rivian is a bit of an ass and I when I say, “a bit of an ass” what I really mean is a grade A snarker! His internal commentary had me rolling, especially his thoughts about the other characters. I get it, internal dialogue is just that internal, it isn’t beholden to political correctness or the niceties of polite conversation, it’s raw and unfiltered, heck I’ll even admit that most of my thoughts about other people could be considered “insensitive” at times. But, his harsh criticisms aren’t just reserved for his thoughts, he has no filter! Every time he insulted someone or criticized something, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Does nothing please him?!” You know the little voice in your head that tells you when you’ve gone too far? Well, I think Rivian killed it, the level of sass coming from a someone so pretty… it’s mind blowing!
The only character that had more sass than Rivian was the butler, Silas, now that’s a man that would give Rivian a run for his money. But, he’s regulated to the supporting cast, that is unless the KS campaign hits the $22, 000 Stretch Goal.
Since the demo is so short, most of the run time is spent introducing the characters and setting, but that doesn’t mean that the writers don’t tease us with a small bit of the story. We do get a little insight into some of the drama going on in the shadows of the glittering ballroom, namely Rivian’s role in the events that will come to pass in the coming days. They don’t give much away, but it’s definitely enough to whet the appetite….
Chess of Blades promises to be an engaging BL visual novel full of mystery, suspense, and of course a little bit of romance too. The premise definitely stands out from some of the more comedy driven BL games currently in production, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with it’s fair share of wit and charm. I was extremely impressed with the level of detail put into this demo, from the artwork to the original soundtrack, everything in this demo did an exellent job of setting the mood for this Victorian inspired game.
There’s still a week left to help bring this game to life by supporting the Kickstarter campaign, HERE!
I urge you all to check out the demo and support this game if you can either monetarily or by sharing the KS campaign through your social media channels. The team over at Argent Games has been working really hard to make this game a reality and I for one am looking forward to playing the final version of the game when it’s released!!
You can also contact Argent Games and let them know what you think of the demo through the following Social Media channels:
Are you as hyped for the game as I am? Let me know what you think of Chess of Blades and the demo in the comments section. Don’t forget to let the developer know what you think about the game as well! As always THANK YOU for reading!!!