Thursday, May 29, 2014

JUNIPER'S KNOT

A short kinetic novel crafted in a month by Dischan, Juniper’s Knot is a story told from dual perspectives: that of a demon and a boy. It begins on an autumn morning in a silent town.
[Description from official site]

Developers(s): dischan
Rating: 13+

~*~Click Here For Download~*~

{I, the reviewer, give Juniper's Knot, 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Back in 2012 I think it was, the visual novel team dischan, the same dischan that was working on a title called Cradle Song (now seems to become non-existent now, so I am guessing is cancelled) released this title for the annual NaNoRenO. For those unaware of what NaNoRenO is, it's a game jam where you make a Ren'Py visual novel in the month of March. And let me tell ya, this is a top tier free visual novel, and is sometimes hard to believe it was done in a month!

It is a story of a demon and a boy, who both remain nameless throughout the entire story. The demon has been imprisoned for so long, even she does not remember, until one day she hears a sound stir in her dwelling place. A boy who has lost his way finds himself before the demon, and he's automatically knows she's a fiend, as they call them. The two begin to engage in conversation, the boy untrusting, and the demon somewhat playful and toying. However, as they talk and spend their time, being with the boy stirs something inside her, what is it? Is it hatred? Is it not wanting to be alone? As for the boy, he knows he cannot trust a fiend, but seeing her like this... does he feel sorrow for her?

To be honest, I can't believe I have skipped out on this story for so long! Being from dischan, you'd think I'd jump at the chance to download this as soon as it came out since I enjoyed the Cradle Song preview, and in fact, dischan is how I discovered Ren'Py in the first place. What actually got me to download it now was I started a "VN Club" on an anime message board, and someone suggested we play Juniper's Knot next, and I decided to make that our Week 2 reading. And I am happy with it. Sure, it is not perfect, by all means, but amazing for a month's work!

I was impressed with the number of CGs this had. Usually NaNoRenO novels have little to no CGs, but this is one of the rare few that has more than one would expect. The dialogue is excellent and intriguing to read, though some sentences do flow oddly at times and there may have been a mistake or two, but being under time constraints, they got it to as professional and polished as humanly possible. Even the menu interface is customized, instead of the default version. But what really amazed me was...THE MUSIC! It appears to be all original, tailored for Juniper's Knot, which is quite a feat and really unique and rare to find in NaNoRenO projects. If you didn't know this was a NaNoRenO entry, you wouldn't have guessed.

Overall, I was impressed and enjoyed it more than I thought. Not just the art and music, but the story and the two characters. You get to see through both their POVs, but you see through the demon's probably the most. Their interaction with each other were very interesting, especially when the demon started to devulge more details about herself. My only disappointment, however, would be that one detail was never revealed, but that probably wasn't the point of the story anyway, though I'm still curious about it. All in all, this was an excellent read I wouldn't mind reading over, and I hope to see more from dischan!

RECOMMENDED?
It's Kinetic, not too long, and free, why not give it a go? It's a top-tier free novel on top of that, and you won't believe it was made in a month~

PLAYER'S COMFORT

[MUSIC]:
Superb! It's all original music for this novel alone, and works quite well. I especially loved the music used for intense, emotional parts. My favorite track is probably "Bleeding".

[ARTWORK]:
Excellent! The most distinctive part of the art that makes it dischan is probably the way of the coloring, that's what really feels eye-catching to me how smooth and blended it looks, almost as if it is traditionally colored.

[INTERACTION]:
None, this is a Kinetic novel.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
"h" is used most, some "d" but often times in the actual useage of the word. During's the demon's lament, she uses some harsh, more foul words like a certain "c" word, and both "b". I think there was a couple name taken in vain, too.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
The demon tells of a story of a girl she seemed to fancy and loved, the "press close when no one would see" seems to hint a romantic kinda love, and even the boy mentions thinking she "fancied her", but other than that it isn't quite confirmed and might not be in that way, who knows. It is also briefly mentioned this girl was raped by some men. The demon's outfit shows a cleavage line, but is more tasteful than alluring.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
*SPOILERS!!!* More descriptive than anything, when the demon tells the boy of her killing spree, she describes quite in detail how she wiped out an entire town. And trust me, it was gruesome, with the mentions of pulling out guts and all that. The only shown violence is in a CG where she demonstrates how she cannot leave the circle she is bound to, and how it burns her hand, which mostly just looks red and engulfed in flames.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
This is a story about a fiend girl, in other words, a demon, bound to a circle in a lonely, desolate place. If she tries to leave, she will burn. *SPOILER* The only way out is if she switches with another life, and the boy finds a way around that by planting a tree.

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