Developed by Kenkou Land, MAMIYA – A Shared Illusion of the World’s End is a visual novel focused on heavy life topics. Publisher Fruitbat Factory has shared a glimpse of the game with a demo for the Steam Festival. With everything shown so far, it’s set to be a thought-provoking journey.
At Natsume’s funeral, people who were familiar with him gathered. Among them were four young men, each with their own personal circumstances. Though they are there, his presence in their life seems to have been mostly brief, and they can’t say that they actually understood who Natsume really was.
The full game is split into two parts, FallDown and DownFall. The demo covers the FallDown side of the story, which is a lengthy introduction to the characters. After choosing one of the characters, the story becomes a linear tale of that protagonist and how they’re forced into a corner by life.
Though they’re all depressing stories in one way or another, their themes are varied, including bullying, parental abuse, and a bunch of other heavy topics. The one thing they all have in common is the appearance of a child called Mamiya. But who or what Mamiya is remains to be explained in the second part of the story.
The story of each man is like being stuck on mud or quicksand without a way back. During that time, Mamiya becomes the emotional support for them. It’s like that person can read their minds and know what they desire deep down, leading them through the narrative’s tortuous paths.
If I had to point out the best aspect of the demo, it’s the atmosphere. There are some lighthearted moments here and there, but it feels like walking through a monochrome world that has already rotted away anything good left in it. Life becomes more and more unbearable as situations pile up.
Most of the characters are also so relatable that the story already hurts even though there’s more to come. It’s hard not to know how at least one of their circumstances feel like, even for someone who had quite a blessed life.
This is enhanced particularly by the art style and soundtrack. MAMIYA’s backgrounds are mostly real-life scenes distorted by noise filter effects, while the character design has a clear edge to it. Most of the game is also grey, filled with the sense of dread that’s important to dive deep into the story.
The most important scenes are enhanced by the use of background music, some of those voiced. Thanks to the use of silence on more mundane moments, the songs helped highlight the events, giving them much more impact than they would otherwise.
I’m enchanted by the sorrow and darkness of the rotten reality MAMIYA presents. If the demo is but an appetizer of what the story is going to show, this has the potential to be one of the best games of the year.
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