Without a Voice is a dark fantasy yuri visual novel developed by L3 for Yuri Game Jam 2016. The game borrows elements from fairy tales with some subtle nods to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, but with a darker twist. Without a Voice follows Cassidy, an exhiled princess living alone in a small cottage in the woods. It’s a far cry from her comfortable life in the palace in the kingdom of Veromere, but she has made the best of her circumstances spending her days exploring the forest and reading. One day, while out on a walk she encounters a mysterious woman resting in the shade of an ancient wisteria tree. Captivated by the beautiful woman, Cassidy spends her days getting to know Elowen–but, unbeknownst to her, the wheels of fate have already begun to turn, and the pair will have to fight for their happily ever after.
Without a Voice takes anywhere from 2-3 hours to get through and there are 8 unique endings to unlock. It’s available for PC either through itch.io or via the Steam platform. Like most of the older fairy tales, Without a Voice does get pretty dark in some of the bad end which can be triggering to folks sensitive to blood and/or death.
My Burning Heart is a story set in a 1001 Nights world.
Our protagonist, Adnan, gets sold as a slave and, instead of being sent to work in the fields, as he expected, he ends up in a Sultan’s harem… Although they try to trick him with good words and promises of being well fed and no physical punishments, he decides to comply with the Sultan’s orders… but only while he plans his escape from the palace.
As a Black gamer I tend to shy away from games that depict slavery, for obvious reasons—it makes me uncomfortable. Especially when slavery is depicted in romance themed games, since there is a degree of power imbalance that undermines any perceived notion of consent, because lets be real for a second—slaves cannot defy the whims of their masters, and as such are subject to whatever treatment their masters see fit. I take particular offense to games that tend to sexualize the relationship between a master and a slave, because by definition these relationships are inherently non consensual, since slaves don’t have the agency to reject the advances of their masters.
So, I find myself in a bit of a dilemma with Ertal Games’s Arabian nights themed visual novel, My Burning Heart—its very premise is built on the dubious consent of a slave/master relationship—the protagonist, Adnan, is brought to the palace of the sultan to be his new harem slave. Despite the benevolence of his master, Adnan plots to escape his comfortable life in the palace, but in order to do so he will need to give himself over to the Sultan. *internal scream*
For someone that shies away from incomplete series, I’ve been really getting into episodic visual novels. Rather than blazing through a game in one sitting, the plot unfolds over a series of chapters/episodes and because there is usually a bit of a wait between new releases, this gap in new content gives you a chance to really dig down and fully explore the different story elements and scenarios in the interim. It’s a much more comprehensive gaming experience than I’m used to, but one that definitely allows for a much more immersive experience overall.
Recently I had the chance to give Asif G.’s Arabian Nights inspired fantasy visual novel, One Thousand and One Daysa try and I was blown away by what I played so far. The game borrows heavily from ancient Persian mythology and Islamic lore AND features an all POC cast that draw inspiration from Middle Eastern, North African, and Mongolian cultures. On top of that, the game is LGBTQ+ friendly, with love interests with differing gender identities and sexual orientation. There are even poly romance options in addition to the standard one on one romances choices.
I absolutely loved Ertal Games’s debut BL visual novel, A Hand in the Darkness, so you can bet I was super excited to get my hands on their sophomore title, steampunk sci-fi visual novel, Chasing the Stars. I’ve said this before, but Ertal Games has a knack for storytelling, with their intriguing characters and immersive narratives, each of their games is a rare treat. This time around Ertal Games delivers a rich cyberpunk fantasy that is out of this world!
Follow Tirs Abril a young college student who has always dreamed of going into space and helping usher in a new age of colonization on one of humanities satellite cities. When Alaya, a new planet is discovered and proven to have the right conditions for human colonization, Tirs’s dreams are suddenly much more attainable. After getting dumped by his longtime boyfriend there is nothing holding Tirs back from pursuing his dreams and he decides to take position as a scholarship researcher in the lab of his professor and renowned Environmental Engineer, Marc Rossell, who is currently heading the team working on the Alaya terraforming project. However, Tirs soon discovers that things are much more complicated than he ever imagined forcing him to decide how much he is willing to sacrifice to follow his dreams…
Once again I am diving head first into another period drama BL visual novel. I loved Ertal Games’s debut title A Hand in the Darkness, so I was excited to discover that another developer, Studio Pieplus had released a similar title back in 2017. Beyond Eden was just what I needed. The game trades in the posh private school setting for an out of the way country estate of Ashgrove, home to the Baron William Edenic and his sons. But, behind closed doors, the Edenic family is hiding dark secrets that could prove detrimental to the Baron and his family if the public were to learn of their past misdeeds. Alex Wake, the former ward of the Edenic family has been biding his time and amassing wealth of his own and now he is on his way back to Ashgrove in order to exact revenge against the Baron and his family! He has been holding a grudge for 10 long years and he won’t be satisfied until all the Edenics are brought to their knees.
Blerdy Otome is an otome games and visual novel review site that runs on Black Girl Magic and Dreams. While I mostly focus on romance themed games, I’ve been known to cover a wide range of nerdy and otaku themed topics.
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