Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star – Review
Follow Genre: Visual novel
Developer: Eyeguys, Lorenzo Redaelli
Publisher: Santa Ragione
Platform: PC, Mac
Tested on: Mac

Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star – Review

Site Score
9.8
Good: Engaging and relevant story, Unique artstyle
Bad: It's so amazing we'd wish it was longer
User Score
10.0
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (4 votes cast)

Visual novels are not everybody’s cup of tea, since the amount of gameplay in them is usually limited. But they can also be an excellent way to tell a gripping story, and Lorenzo Redaelli had just such a story to tell. Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star is a semi-autobiographical tale about dysfunctional relationships and the struggles that come with having a partner that suffers from mental illness. Heavy subject matter to say the least, but presented in an honest and down-to-earth narrative and packaged in a functional game that looks great, it makes for an unusual experience.

Story

Milky Way Prince centers around Nuki, an anxious young man who lives alone in his apartment with his pet starfish and a telescope. Nuki is a casual astronomer and since his childhood has been reading the fairy tale of the Milky Way Prince, a fallen star that takes human form after landing on Earth. One day, coincidence would have it a fallen star appears in the sky and Nuki feels compelled to follow it, instead, finding a crying man named Sune sitting on the sidewalk. The two strike up a quick friendship that rapidly turns into a volatile romance when Nuki can’t help but feel fascinated with the mysterious stranger. But Sune is fighting his own inner demons and what started great becomes a mutual obsession that will change both of them forever, for better or for worse.

As a visual novel, Milky Way Prince focusses much more heavily on story than on gameplay, and the player’s choices influence the course of the story and its eventual outcome. A lot of smaller narrative details also change depending on your dialogue decisions.

Graphics

The character art of Milky Way Prince is inspired by the Japanese manga style. Particularly manga artist Suehiro Maruo and anime director Masaaki Yuas – who worked on Devilman Crybaby – have been cited as inspirations by the developers. The result is a simple style that works well with the story elements. For the backgrounds, 3D art sometimes comes into play which serves to add an interesting perspective. The color choice also stands out, being mostly monochrome with the use of red as a primary hue. A lot of symbolic imagery is used, but always effectively, and the end result is a stunning looking visual novel that sets itself apart from other VNs in a positive way.

Sound

The soundtrack consists of over 30 minutes of what the store page describes as baroque electropop. It’s really nice music and it fits the feel of the game perfectly. The music is often utilized to enhance the atmosphere too, stopping abruptly or changing tracks in tense moments. Very occasionally, the music would stop for just a tad too long, which leads us to check the volume to see if we might have accidentally muted the game. Apart from that, there really aren’t many complaints in this department. The game has no voice acting.

Gameplay

Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star is a visual novel, and as such doesn’t have much in the way of gameplay. Decision making plays a role in the game as it steers the story. This means making decisions in dialogue, but also at other times, such as choosing how to prepare for a date. These choices will eventually lead to you one of the three available endings, while also changing minor details along the way. This means there’s a decent amount of replay value here, despite the relatively short length of the game. The entire game is played with just the mouse, with mostly point-and-click mechanics.

Another gameplay element is the use of your senses during pivotal moments. Presented as a sort of mini-game, you can pick the order in which you use your senses to observe, smell, touch, and so on. Using the right senses will allow your relationship to develop in a different direction and unlock extra dialogue. Guessing at the order is more intuitive than anything, and it’s not always clear what results you will get. This seems to be one of the returning aspects of this game, tying into its narrative. Its themes of mental illness and abusive relationships are quite heavy but brought with a lot of personal experience on the developer’s side. Despite its short length, the three different endings do give the game a little more replay value.

Conclusion

Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star is not a game so much as a narrative experience. It manages to intrigue the player with beautiful art and a unique soundtrack right out the gate, but it’s the story that will make you stick around. With just two characters, Milky Way Prince relays a lot about intimacy, love, and unhealthy relationships, and will certainly give people a new perspective on the reality of mental illness for both those who suffer from it and those who have loved ones who do.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Milky Way Prince - The Vampire Star - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Jessica
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.