“Going Nowhere” – The Vestibule (Visual Novel) – 6/10 Desks

Genre: Psychological

Review Status: Complete

Licensed: This is available for free download at Ren’Py.

Art/Animation: It was obviously done in Paint or another similar art program, but it’s actually pretty skillfully done. I know I can’t make people like that! It’s still not exactly professional art, but it is fine for what it is. There isn’t really any animation to speak of – the transitions are standard.

Summary: You’re on a train going towards you future – both literally and figuratively.

Review: Heavy-handed metaphor is heavy-handed metaphor. If you’re vaguely aware of what a spiritual journey is, then this is an obvious metaphor from the get-go. You enter the train, confused about your future, and your actions on the train will determine what happens next.

This can be a slightly frustrating game. While slow and meditiative, it seems to take a specific combination of events to unlock the next stage of the game. I’m unsure of what it was, exactly, that allowed me to go on after the first car, but it did take nemerous, repetitive questions to the person in the first car and sleeping a few days to do it. Without new interactions, this got fairly boring, fairly quickly. The second car in the train wasn’t any better, requiring the same amount of guess-and-check actions to get to the ending. There is only one ending here – and only one ending fit for this type of game – but I still remain more unimpressed than usual by how long it took to get there.

I definitely appreciate the background, the art, and the atmophere. That was very effective and really helped while I was playing. But the repeititve gameplay and heavy-handed (and somewhat stereotypical) metaphor and situation really didn’t make this a thrilling game.

Overall, it’s fine for what it is, but nothing special.

Recommended: All Ages. While there really isn’t anything here for children and there is some metaphor here that would go right over their heads, there is absolutely nothing inappropriate in this story.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Mushishi (anime)

Natsume Yuujinchou (anime and manga)

Kino’s Journey (anime)


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