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About the Story
Your first case as a detective is forcing you to open your eyes to a world bigger than you thought. But maybe it's better to keep them closed. Knowing too much doesn’t help anyone sleep at night! Seems the supernatural didn’t get the memo that nothing exciting ever happens in the little town of Wayhaven.
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The Wayhaven Chronicles games are two of the most popular games in the Hosted Games catalog, based on review and download counts. I was kind of surprised to see that this game didn't have an entry here. Overall, I think the game deserves its popularity: it is a very well-written and constructed game with an engaging plot and character development, but I personally had some issues with the choice structure.
The author of this game comes from a visual novel/otome game background, and it shows. The structure of this game mixes Choice of Games and otome game conventions. Like the latter, the primary source of branching in the game is which love interest to pursue (or to pursue a love triangle option), which is an explicit choice in the middle of the story. Like the former, the protagonist has numerous options to change their personality stats or use their skills. A large number of choices are personality-setting choices, which provide a choice of what you do, and why you're doing it. I wasn't a fan of these choices because I could never figure out which choice was supposed to correspond to which personality stat, and often none of the personality choices were appealing. Perhaps fortunately, these choices and their associated stats appear to have little impact on the broader story progression (but I haven't re-played the game enough to really find out).
One of the main reasons behind the popularity is the characters. The four main romance interests (who are a team of gender-flippable immortal mostly-benevolent vampires assigned by a secretive Agency to help the protagonist) are very well realized, with their own distinct personalities and detailed descriptions of their appearances. The protagonist's relationship with their mother is also portrayed well, but I could never get past the fact that the protagonist always calls their mother by her first name.
Beyond the romance, the main plot of the game is a supernatural mystery: there is a supernatural serial killer in town and you have to bring him to justice with the help of your companions. However, the killer is revealed through perspective shifts early on; the only question is how they catch him.
The Wayhaven Chronicles series has wonderful episodic plots as well as an overarching plot that is still evolving, a main character that is highly customizable and is given lots of opportunities to grow and develop throughout the books, an amazing main cast of four romanceable characters (that all can be either male or female depending on the main character's sexuality) to make you swoon, and interesting minor and side characters to love.
Romance and character interaction is the focus. TWC is a detective mystery/thriller type series, but if you go into it wanting to flex your brain and solve cases you will be sorely disappointed. There is some minor opportunities to direct the detectives in solving the mysteries, but the solving really does happen by itself. If you like romance novels, visual novel dating sims, or romantic comedy movies this will definitely be worth a look for you.
There aren't really any wrong choices. Some choices might lead to failures, so there are bad consequences, but that's not a game over. In regards to romance there are no wrong choices that lead to you failing to romance your chosen character, which I absolutely love. It's been increasingly my pet peeve that games make you be the correct personality and make the correct dialogue choices to romance a character. In TWC you can romance a character with whatever kind of main character you want and see how the dynamics change. You want to romance the sweet character with a character that is stoic? Cool! You want to romance that same character with one that is flirtatious and bold? Awesome! It's all correct, meaning you get to play how you want without clinging to a walkthrough.
About Book One specifically...
Even if you go in without knowing anything, the secret is fairly obvious and hinted at early on and fairly often. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing as I went in knowing the secret but still had a lot of fun seeing the hints and characters slip up...in fact I think I had more fun knowing before hand than I would have, since the reveal is kind of lackluster anyway in my opinion. It's just not that intense of a moment given the setting and how it was done.
This is Book One and you've only just met the crew, but you do pick the character (or the love triangle) you want to romance throughout the series. I like that this choice is made so early in the series, though I understand this may not be to everyone's tastes. However just because you pick your romance doesn't mean that's the moment the main character and the romanceable character fall in love and start a relationship. Each character is different. Some are quick to show their growing affection while others are a slow burn or have major denial. None of them start a relationship with the main character in Book One, and all the romances are progressing naturally.
Outside of the slightly lackluster reveal I really don't have any complaints with Book One. Or maybe I'm just swooning so hard from the crew that I'm blinded.
If you enjoyed Wayhaven Chronicles: Book One...
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This is version 2 of this page, edited by autumnc on 5 September 2020 at 5:17pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item