Mikomi Games’s That Which Binds Us asks a very simple question: What if the bonds of fate could be severed? What if you could cut off ties with family, friends, a jealous lover? Would you take it? For Evalise, a young woman trapped in a toxic relationship the choice is simple, cut off ties with her no good boyfriend and start over again. So, when a strange (and handsome) bail bondsman offers to erase the memories of her recently incarcerated boyfriend, Evalise reluctantly accepts his offer. With her newfound freedom, Evalise attempts to pick up the pieces of her life and finally start over again, and maybe find love along the way.
All she wanted was to get a bail bond for her troublesome boyfriend. That’s when she met Idris, a very special kind of bondsman. With a flick of a knife, he asked Evalise one confusing question- what if we could make him forget you?
That Which Binds Us is a modern fantasy josei visual novel, with just a dash of mystery thrown in for extra measure. Unlike most other romance VNs and otome games, That Which Binds Us only has one love interest. Typically, games with a single love interest are at a slight disadvantage when compared with games with a whole reverse harem at their disposal. Rather than hiding behind several relatively well-developed leading men, games with one romance option, have to ensure that their sole love interest is well developed enough to help carry an entire story all on their own.
It’s a difficult task to say the least, so I went in expecting a lot from Idris, the mysterious bondsman with the memory altering knife. As far as love interests go, Idris is a solid 7, he has a well defined personality and I liked the chemistry between him and Evalise. At first, I was Team Idris all the way, he’s earnest and kind, but, not above calling Eva on her shit from time to time… and then I did my second playthrough and let’s just say there’s a definite creep factor to him that I did not expect going in. There were a few hints here and there that suggested that there was more to Idris than he was letting on, but, the reveal is somewhere between endearingly creepy and just plain old creepy…
The leading lady, Evalise is also pretty solid as far as romance heroine’s go. She’s intelligent and strong-willed, and not afraid to give her two cents (whether you want it or not). My only real complaint about Ms. Eva is how she is portrayed at the start of the game, she comes off a bit too negative, especially when dealing with her coworker/acquaintance. I get it, if I had a boyfriend that was in and out of jail every other week and was stuck working a dead end retail job, I’d probably be a bit prickly too. But, I was still kind of put off by her after she spent the first five minutes or so of the game throwing shade at her reasonably concerned coworker. She gets better as the game progresses, but, some folks might find her off putting at first.
As far as the story goes, That Which Binds Us is definitely unique. I’ve played quite a few modern fantasy games, but, none with a premise quite like this. A magic knife that removes people’s memories. I can’t say that anyone else has come up with something like that, so, extra brownie points for originality. The underlying mystery on the other hand was a bit hit or miss, it was well paced and the execution wasn’t bad, however, the eventual payoff…eh, it wasn’t exactly predictable, but, it wasn’t completely unexpected either. The romance was really where this game excels, the early interactions between Eva and Idris reminded me a bit of a rom-com, with a lot of cute bickering and witty jabs. Their relationship takes time to build and it was nice to see them getting to know one another before “catching feelings” since a lot of romance games tend to fast-forward through the getting to know one another phase of the relationship. So it was nice to see the pair stumble through awkward dates and silly misunderstandings.
As a whole, this is a well designed game, the GUI is clean and easy to utilize and the art assets are all aesthetically pleasing. I especially love that the character sprites don’t wear the same outfits throughout, rather changing clothes often between scenes. I also liked that they differentiate between in person conversations and phone conversations. Instead of just showing the character sprites on screen with the dialogue displayed in the usual text box, chat windows are used, so it’s like they’re actually having a conversation. Other than that, TWBU plays like every other visual novel.
Overall, That Which Binds Us is a pretty solid game, especially for a medium length commercial release and at $8.99 it’s definitely worth the asking price. There’s a little bit of everything, mystery, romance, and even a bit of suspense. While I did have my doubts early on, TWBU definitely delivers, with it’s unique fantasy premise, witty characters, and lovely visuals.
But, don’t just take my word for it! Check out the game over on itch.io or take a gander at the game’s trailer below! If you like what you see, play the game, hit the like button, share, or comment! As always, Thank You for Reading!!
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