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Magical Eyes - Red is for Anguish Review

Magical Eyes - Red is for Anguish Review

Magical Eyes - Red is for Anguish is a visual novel from Pomera Studios set in a world where emotion can lend special powers to individuals or objects. It’s hard to review a visual novel because it’s mostly just critiquing a story, so I’m going to be writing two parts: This first part will discuss the game with only very slight mentions to the story, and the second part will be more about the story and much more spoilerific.

Magical Eyes looks like a pretty standard visual novel: it uses Japanese voice acting and an anime art style, with no real animation outside of sprite transitions. All the art is incredibly high quality, with highly detailed characters and scenes that help build up the individual characters’ personalities.

The voice acting is also very high quality, with all the characters having a great voice behind them except the main male protagonist. At first, I thought this was OK since it’s rare that the player character in visual novels has an actual vocal role, but Magical Eyes doesn’t just use one protagonist. The story is split into three different perspectives: one from male lead Yuu, one from female lead Chiharu and one that fills in the gaps and conversations that those two characters aren’t present for.

ME SS 01These kids have definitely studied Shakespeare

The sections of story are separated by a map, where you occasionally have the choice between several scenes that occur at the same time. You don’t miss anything for selecting the side scenes, though if you select the main sequence you won’t be able to play the other scenes. The game also occasionally asks you to fill in some of the blanks from information you learn from scenes throughout the day and ranks you based on your memory, but often there were only one or two options to choose from.

When it comes to the actual story, I really enjoyed it eventually. The writing is a little awkward at times, sometimes clearly betraying its translation with phrases that make vague sense. I also found the story was very slow to get started, with some scenes lasting much longer than they needed to and some things being repeated in the same passage. However, after a few hours the stories (because there are a few arcs that interlink) start to pick up and become interesting.

ME SS 03

This game is set in the Mirror's Edge universe

Anything past this point will have spoilers for the story; if you want to play this completely fresh, stop here and go play it!

Magical Eyes has one big issue: there are parts to it that are very confusing. It begins with a prologue that talks about a young girl who is transformed into a monster and forced to destroy her village against her will. She’s saved by a couple of knights, but when she tries to thank them only one is there, and he doesn’t recognise her.

Then it jumps to a story about a hospital-bound girl and her friend who is mysteriously covered in casts. Then it jumps to a dark character on a bridge, analysing everything about the arena. Soon, a narrator-esque text voice is telling me the tragic tale of a young woman who died with so much emotion she created a ghost, and then there was an extended fight between the dark character and the ghost-woman.

The fight scenes are not written very well; the writing doesn’t convey much urgency in any of the actions and this causes the writing to feel quite stale. After the first fight, we meet the second protagonist, who is the charming Chiharu, and this is where the story really started to pick up for me. While the writers seem uncomfortable with action, they excel at awkward teen romance and isn’t that what we all want from a visual novel?

ME SS 04I ship these two, and I've been inside both their heads

Over the course of Magical Eyes, the game focuses on two different stories: Yuu’s mystery involving spirits and a strange Doll, and Chiharu’s attempts at winning Yuu’s heart. The former was very slow dumping a lot of information on me and was quite overwhelming until it all started to come together. The latter was charming as hell and was probably the only reason I played for long enough to become invested in the main storyline.

By the end, I had gotten pretty heavily invested in seeing the story’s conclusion, to the point that the last couple fight scenes read much better. Reaching the end of that fight, with what I would have expected to be the end of the game, the scenes kept on coming and I can definitely say that it overstayed it’s welcome. Like a good novel, I was hooked and very relieved when I thought the game was over, and while having a true conclusion to the full story arcs was nice those endings weren’t as impactful as that final fight.

Then, the words “Episode 2 coming soon” appeared on my screen, and a mix of relief and annoyance filled my heart. Relief, because it was the end and because there was more to come, but annoyance as I’m going to have to play through the second episode. I got invested in the characters, and I want, nay must, find out what happens to them, and what other adventures they go on.


7.00/10 7

Magical Eyes - Red is for Anguish (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

I really enjoyed what the game had to show me in the end, and I’d highly recommend it if you can get past the slightly odd writing style and enjoy the medium. There is a lot of content for what you pay, and it’s worth it as a stand-alone episode.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Jinny Wilkin

Jinny Wilkin

Staff Writer

Reviews the games nobody else will, so you don't have to. Give her a bow and arrow and you have an ally for life. Will give 10s for food.

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