Title: Marco and The Galaxy Dragon
Release Date: February 28, 2020
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel
I’ve played many visual novels in my time, and I can honestly say that I am pleasantly surprised with how far developers have pushed the genre in the last few years alone. You’d think people would just assume they are just “talking illustrations” and call it a day, but they can be so much more. Developer Tokyotoon proves this in their visual novel Marco and The Galaxy Dragon, which has blown me away with its over-the-top story and brilliant visuals.
Marco and The Galaxy Dragon begins with a tragedy as a young girl named Marco is kidnapped and sold as a slave to a lizard thief. Yes, this isn’t your typical opening. After the first 10 minutes, the sci-fi themes pick up, and we catch up to Marco at age 16 as she steals a rare orb somewhere in outer space. Well, this happens not to be an ordinary orb, after it’s discovered that the owner has the power to control the galaxy and everyone seems to want it. However, Marco simply wishes to sell it so she can eat lots of food.
Marco isn’t alone on her quest as she is accompanied by Arco, a galaxy dragon disguised as a young girl. Throughout the story, she also meets other human girls who lend a hand in all the drama that ensues once Marco discovers that some mighty people have made her a target. On the other hand, she doesn’t really care as she is more focused on finding her mother, based on a burned picture of her as a child.
The story itself is brilliant. The game balances some extremely tense situations and comedy in a way that I’ve only seen in anime like FLCL. With everything happening in the game, there is so much to digest that you’ll be sitting at the edge of your seat by the conclusion. However, the one issue I had with the story is that it loses focus sometimes and goes on long tangents. While these moments can be funny, they don’t provide anything to the story and could have easily been cut.
Marco and The Galaxy Dragon is pure charm and style from beginning to end. There is not one point in this visual novel that you feel like you’re actually playing a visual novel. Instead, it’s more like watching an anime. The kind that you realize 8 hours have gone by, and you just binged the entire series.
Each character is brilliantly written. Even though Marco and Arco are the protagonists here, the other characters have vast personalities and backstories that get broken down along the way. The cast gets rather large too, and the story balances the screentime expertly between each of them. I cannot stress what a relief this was when a new character was introduced after 5 hours, but after another hour, I couldn’t imagine the story without them in it.
Marco and The Galaxy Dragon pushes what visual novel readers have come to expect from the genre. The game features over 1000 CGs and doesn’t reuse many of them. This enhanced the anime feel of the game and kept my attention throughout the entire story because I didn’t want to miss anything. Each illustration is beautiful, as well. They add a massive layer of quality to the game’s themes of dark humor and emotional imagery.
If that wasn’t enough to grab your attention, there are also lengthy animated scenes within the game. I would love to try and put together some elegant set of words to describe how awesome these scenes are, but that probably wouldn’t be enough. They flow so well with the story and are presented as over-the-top cartoonish versions of each character. Reminiscent of Teen Titans Go in a way, with each scene full of memorable and hysterical moments.
When it comes to the relationship between Marco and the rest of the characters, it’s interesting how Marco acts differently with each of them. She is very much herself all the time, but she has an understanding of people that allows her to get away with stuff because she can easily manipulate a situation. Still, it’s her genuine relationship with Arco that grows the most prominent during the story. There’s a reason why they are hanging out together, but their friendship is just a beautiful element of this narrative.
It should also be said that the voice acting in this game is fantastic. There are a ton of characters, side characters, aliens, and robots who all have wonderful voices. The hilarious scenes of this game are only made better by the voice actor’s commitment to delivery, which plays into the game’s emotional moments.
Marco and The Galaxy Dragon is by far one of the best visual novels that I have played to date. Its dedication to character development and story delivery is something that continuously surprised me during each moment of the game. This was only made better by the awesome CGs and voiced audio.
Sure, the story loses focus sometimes and is forced to backpedal on some plotlines, but given the hilarity of this adventure, it’s easy to look past. If you are looking for a beautiful visual novel experience that will have you both laughing and crying for hours, then look no further than Marco and The Galaxy Dragon.
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