Wayhaven Chronicles: Book One

by Mishka Jenkins

Episode 1 of Wayhaven Chronicles
Mystery
2018

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Supernatural romance with visual novel-like elements, September 14, 2020
by autumnc
Related reviews: hosted games

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.