The Curse of Kudan Remastered Review – The Sinister Side of Folklore

    Title: The Curse of Kudan Remastered
    Developer: SukeraSparo
    Release Date: October 29, 2020
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: SukeraSparo
    Genre: Visual Novel

SukeraSparo is a visual novel developer focused on girls’ love yuri titles and worked on The Expression Amrilato before. While their previous games were focused on otaku romance and teaching the Esperanto language, their newest game, The Curse of Kudan Remastered, is a much darker tale.

In The Curse of Kudan Remastered, the main character, Sakuya Kudan, is a tomboyish girl who’s had a recurring nightmare for years. It comes and goes from time to time, but it always eats at her mind. At her girl’s only school, Kudan Women’s Academy, she practices kendo and can often be seen with her best friend, Karen Azuma, the softball team’s top star. The two of them don’t really have ladylike mannerisms at all, which is something that sometimes bothers the protagonist.

As if it was destined to be, Sakuya meets an older woman on the street on her way home from school. Their first encounter alone was enough for her to notice how feminine this person, Touko Shima, was. Seeing as how this stranger was having trouble with her bike, Sakuya decides to help her out. In exchange, Sakuya is invited to be a part of Touko’s cooking class.

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As much as this could be a chance to change her usual self and maybe get closer to this attractive woman, it eventually leads to a very sinister situation. Touko becomes the target of a curse that’s been talked about in town and rumored as the “Curse of Kudan.” Dressed in mourning attire, this ghostly aspiration whose right hand is broken coincidentally shares the protagonist’s same name. Anyone who meets her will face tragedy in seven days.

Determined to protect her, Sakuya begins looking into the rumor, which leads her to the Occult Studies Club and the expert Koto Akinashi. Although she is just a first-year student, she’s very dedicated and resolute and a bit of a fashionista. Her help is essential for the protagonist to really understand and face the situation.

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All of that is just the beginning of the story, though, as the game comprises three mysteries and a good deal of relationship development between Sakuya and her two love interests, Touko and Koto. To get in their favor, the player should pick the right choices during the common route. Throughout the mystery-solving portions, it’s also necessary to answer what happened out of a few options. The wrong choice might lead to a bad ending that cuts the game’s runtime significantly.

The mysteries have simple reasonings, so it’s easy to figure them out, though the final one has a few more layers. They are the same on the three routes, but the true ending brings forth a series of twists that make it the best portion of the whole ride. However, despite the cases being so simple, they still offer an intriguing, sinister atmosphere thanks to the darker backgrounds, CGs, and the use of a few somber tracks.

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Those tense situations are contrasted by lively and colorful moments of peace in which the characters can show a little of themselves. Jokes, movie references, beach/pool scenes, and normal conversations are significant for defining who these people are and generating empathy for their situations.

An important aspect of The Curse of Kudan Remastered is its English translation, which really helps convey the characters and makes the experience really fun to read. I’d describe it as youthful, quirky, and energetic, using slangs and expressions that are adequate to the context. The text feels natural, and it flows really well.

The artwork with characters designed by Hanekoto is also wonderful. The CGs are very colorful, with many details, such as objects and even blurred people. Some of those arts were even helpful clues, though there’s a specific mistake on the CG of the second case finale in which a character has an object that shouldn’t be there. It’s also interesting to see how lighting comes into play as a recurring visual theme, be it twilight, the very bright light of day, or small bits in the darkness of night.

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The Curse of Kudan Remastered balances its romance and dark mystery themes well, offering an intriguing yuri tale. Although I found the solutions to the cases to be a bit too straightforward and some redundancy in the character routes, the cast has that magical chemistry that makes it worth experiencing, which is only made better by its youthful and enjoyable English text.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Ivanir Ignacchitti

Random Japanese games are my jam. Handhelds, RPGs, VNs and PC banzai.