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Vespertines

by mondaysandwich profile

Fantasy
2022

Web Site

(based on 1 rating)
1 review

About the Story

Vespertines is an urban fantasy/romance interactive fiction about demons and found family. You play as a human working at a bar for demons, getting to know your customers and collecting their stories.

The story: On the run from your past, you find yourself in a new city with no plan and nowhere to go. A mysterious individual called Ashheart appears before you and refers you to a bar called ‘Vespertines’. You expect the usual; cleaning up spills and handling drunk customers. What you do not expect is for your new boss to be a horned demon known as Gremory who collects stories as payment instead of money.

Features:
Customisable main character, including customisable:
Name
Gender - male, female, trans and nonbinary options available
Pronouns - preset or choose your own
Appearance
Backstory - one of three planned routes which unlock unique dialogue and story beats within the game
Develop your relationships with the characters - will you be friends, family, enemies or lovers?

Optional romance routes for both Gremory and Ashheart (both gender customisable), as well as a poly romance route.

Diverse story branches and multiple endings!


Game Details

Language: English
First Publication Date: June 11, 2022
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Twine
Forgiveness Rating: Polite
IFID: 513055D6-72A7-4600-9229-28F888A8E2C5
TUID: ja3694hxy2tdh7i

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Member Reviews

Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 1
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Has all the potential of being a high-quality urban fantasy game, August 30, 2022

This is an urban fantasy Twine game about seeking refuge in a new city. On your first day in Bareport you make a monumental discovery: contrary to what you always thought, the population of modern civilization is not entirely human. Demons partly make up the waking world and have lives of their own in society. With nowhere else to go you find yourself taking a job at a bar called Vespertines with unearthly patrons.

At first, I thought this was a full-fleshed game. The game’s IFDB page explains that it is a multi-branching story with different endings. Right now, it is currently a demo (though a quality one, nonetheless). This review is for CHAPTER 1.

Gameplay
This is a Twine game that features character customization. It starts with the basics of choosing name, gender, and pronouns, and later lets the player customize the protagonist’s physical appearance such as hair, height, eyes, and body type. It only takes up a brief portion of the gameplay but still adds some richness that is nice to find in choice-based games.

Most of the gameplay is based on conversation, which some significant choices near the end such as (Spoiler - click to show) deciding whether to get a tattoo of a protection ward. I had the impression that the gameplay would be largely about the protagonist in their new job, but the chapter ends (Spoiler - click to show) once Gremory agrees to employ them. If you were looking forward to encountering paranormal bar patrons, you are out of luck at the moment.

Story
There is not much to spoil right now. The story is still developing since the game is only on the first chapter. This is a partly a romance game and so far, everything has been built around (Spoiler - click to show) introducing the two (potential) romance option characters. But the game does not feel over-saturated with romance either. The characters are interesting for other reasons and the player is not required to purse a romantic relationship with them. I think this flexibility will appeal to players.

Most of the other urban fantasy games that I have played so far are a bit grittier. This one is a little more lighthearted and upbeat without abandoning its somber undertones. Then again, this is just the first chapter. I cannot say what direction it will go in.

Characters
The protagonist has run away from home for some unexplained reason, other than that they are being hunted by an unnamed entity. The only default piece of character background is that they previously lived in a country environment and now must adjust to life in the city. But other than that, the protagonist’s character features are selected by the player.

There are two love interests, Ashheart and Gremory, that can be romanced in the game, and their gender is selected by the player. Romance games can stumble when it comes to pacing or character dialog but so far, the game has managed itself pretty well. The characters, Ashheart and Gremory, do not seem contrived. Ashheart is thoughtful, mysterious, and cryptic without overdoing it while Gremory is an interesting blend of no-nonsense and compassion.

The game’s description flat-out mentions (should I put this under spoilers just in case? Fine.) (Spoiler - click to show) that Ashheart and Gremory are demons. While this proves to be a startling discovery for the protagonist the player already has a sense of what to expect. The game still devotes a chunk of gameplay for the player to ask questions about demons and their place in society which adds some worldbuilding. The game ends before we get a chance to interact with other NPCs, but I hope that upcoming characters share the same quality.

Visuals
The game’s appearance is basic but stylized. Grey screen with light grey text and pink links. The font and text organization create a simple and elegant look. There is a column on the left side of the screen with a link called “profile” that has an overview of your character’s attributes and stats. The game keeps track of stats for character self-awareness and attitude which are shown in percentage bars, similar in appearance to the format used in ChoiceScript games. While the game is currently not long enough to really see these stats at work, there indicators that the player’s choices do influence the gameplay, making everything more robust. For example, (Spoiler - click to show) if you have a high enough “withholding” stat an option to trust a character may be grayed out in an encounter. This provides opportunities for strategizing and encourages multiple playthroughs.

Final thoughts
This game has a lot of great things going for it including smooth implementation and complex characters. Does urban fantasy romance sound like your cup of tea? To summarize, here are some defining features that may interest players:

-Choice-based format romance with flexible gender identity and orientation
-Paranormal non-human NPCs
-Atmospheric city setting
-Offers another interpretation of the urban fantasy genre

Even if I was expecting Chapter 1 to have more content, I must admit I found myself thinking, “aw, it’s over?” It is off to a great start, and I hope it continues in this trajectory.


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This is version 4 of this page, edited by mondaysandwich on 24 July 2022 at 11:46pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item