I usually have a hard time writing reviews about demos, since unlike completed games, they don’t always have all the finalized assets that you’d expect from a full blown release. If you’re lucky, a demo will cover the common route or the prologue, which at least gives you a fairly good feel of the game’s concept and characters. But, if you’re not, a demo is more of a teaser trailer of ideas that doesn’t really stand up to much scrutiny, which doesn’t allow much for me as a reviewer to write about. So I tend to be very particular about which demos I review.
Recently Code V Productions released a demo for their upcoming fantasy visual novel, Silver:Line and I was impressed not only with the quality, but the execution. A fully realized world with an inventive premise and unique characters, Silver:Line is by far one of the best demos I have played this year!
Recruited as an imperial scholar serving the crown of Lucarene, you lead a peaceful life at the castle, responsible for researching, tracking, and recording everything there is to know about the royal city. Living a life you once thought you could only ever dream of, you wouldn’t change anything for the world. But as fate would have it, you’re thrown into a turmoil of events where you’re pinned as a scapegoat and forced to flee the country, running for your very life. You set off on a journey, featuring a colourful cast and new horizons.
The demo drops you into the shoes of the protagonist, an Imperial Scholar serving the King of Lucarene, it’s a pretty peaceful life, a definite step up from your previous life on the streets with your best friend Lucas (now a knight). But, your comfortable life in the palace is shattered when you witness the captain of the guard, Gilbert stabbing the King Edward. The murder plot being the brain child of the King’s brother in an attempt to usurp the throne. He also reveals that your bestie Lucas is in fact the illegitimate son of the deceased king and with his death the rightful heir to the throne. In an attempt to tie up lose ends, you and Lucas are framed for the murder and forced to flee the city with the help of the infamous assassin, Kitsune. From there you meet a colorful cast of characters including sophisticated demi-human Amaris and charming merchant, Sabre. Together they embark on a journey to find the legendary Silvr Shard a mysterious stone of great power that can only be wielded by the true heir to the throne. The demo takes us through an abridged version of the journey and ends just as the gang find the shard and attempt to take it.
Full disclosure, the demo has a few bugs that the developers are already aware of, so just be mindful of that going in. However, it isn’t anything that would be considered world ending or anything. But, now that that’s out of the way, I love this demo! It covers the first two hours or so of gameplay, which is more than enough to whet the appetite for the final release of the game. While the main demo does not include all of the available love interests, Code V Productions was kind enough to include two short scenes with the two absent LIs (Nathaniel and Xiu Ying) and two additional scenes with two prospective LIs, Gilbert and Estelle (pending stretch goal funding). This was a nice way to give players a feel for all of the characters despite not having access to all the finalized assets, so kudos there.
I love all the LIs, not only are the character designs absolutely stunning, but they all have such fun personalities and mannerisms! The main demo does a great job of setting up their motivations and I am definitely curious to see how they play out in the final release. After the King’s brother orders the genocide of her people, Amaris is the lone K’marya and while she is taking things in stride you really feel her sense of loss. Kitsune is an assassin for hire and the person who was supposed to take the fall for the King’s murder. Sabre’s motivations are still rather ambiguous, but his suave personality and seeming wealth of knowledge are a huge asset to the team. Lucas went from being a knight to the heir to the throne overnight, and he isn’t eager to claim his birthright nor shoulder the responsibility that comes with being king. Sadly Nathaniel and Xiu Ying only appear briefly in this iteration of the demo, so I don’t have much to go on, but there is some potential for them if their bios are any indication.
I’m usually not a huge fan of female love interests, but Amaris and Kitsune both have this air if mystery about them that is quite intriguing. Though I will say I think Lucas is the cutest little button! Also, I want that Gilbert route so bad!! He killed the King, I really need to know what was going through his mind when he betrayed his kindgom, because WOW that takes balls… I really like Sabre, he’s just charming enough that his flirting doesn’t bother me as much as it usually would (PS. I don’t like flirty characters).
Unlike most visual novels and otome games where the player character is the main focus of the narrative, Silver:Line takes a much different approach, placing the player in more of a supportive role. Each route is a story revolving around that path’s love interest, placing them at the center of the narrative and not the player. The choice to shift the focus from the protagonist puts me in the mind of otome games with blank slate heroines, however, that isn’t the case here since the protagonist has a well established background and motivations that play a large role in inciting the action of the story. The protagonist can also get pretty sassy, which I loved since I’m not really a fan of the more passive protagonists. What is unique about Silver:Line is that players can choose between a male or female protagonist, and even more the choice doesn’t affect which LIs you can pursue, which is doubly cool since there are both male and female romance options.
The art is absolutely gorgeous and if I’m being honest that’s what really drew me to the game. It’s anime styled art like most visual novels and otome games, but there’s this semi painted feel to it that really makes the characters pop, which is enhanced by the use of 2D Live animation. This isn’t the first game I’ve played that uses 2D Live and when done well it looks great, breathing life into the usually static renderings of characters and locales. Silver:Line utilizes the 2D Live to great effect in the demo that when coupled with the phenomenal voice acting really goes that extra mile in making the characters feel more life like.
The demo is fully voiced, though the final release will only have partial voice acting (though if they reach a certain stretch goal they’ll upgrade to full voice acting). The sound work was pretty good, there were a few characters that were a bit hard to hear over the standard sound settings, Kitsune was the one that stood out the most. Though, I really liked the voice work overall and I felt the performances really fit with the characters’s personalities. Lucas’s VA had this kind of boyish charm to it whereas Sabre’s was just dripping with this raw sex appeal. As for the ladies, Kitsune was surprisingly soft spoken given her profession and Amaris just sounded really really hot… like damn.
As a whole I really enjoyed the demo, Silver:Line has a everything I love to see in my demos: a solid story, great character portrayals, fun dialogue, and beautiful art assets. Code V Production has a real winner here and I can’t wait to see where they take these characters and their stories moving forward. There’s action, adventure, romance, comedy, and even a bit of mystery! Silver:Line has something for everyone to enjoy!! The project is currently on Kickstarter, and I highly recommend supporting the Code V Team in order to get this amazing game off the ground.
If you’re still on the fence about Silver:Line, check out the demo or take a gander at the game’s trailer below and look at all those beautiful characters!
You can also contact Code V Production on Social Media through the following channels:
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