Death Becomes You – Review
Follow Genre: Visual novel
Developer: Quill Game Studios
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Platform: PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Tested on: Switch

Death Becomes You – Review

Site Score
Good: Well-written murder mystery
Bad: Uneven audiovisual presentation
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It has been a while since we last scratched our visual novel itch, and Quill Game Studio’s Death Becomes You seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something about that. While Death Becomes You originally launched back on PC in 2021, it arrived on consoles recently, thanks to publisher Ratalaika Games. Given that the Switch has quickly become our platform of choice for consuming visual novels, thanks to its portability factor, we were more than happy to dive into what this visual novel had to offer.


Set at Ira Royal Academy, a Hogwarts-esque school for young witches, Death Becomes You starts with the death of Lyra, one of the students and former mentor to our protagonist, Sidney. Due to an unfortunate sequence of events, Sidney is accused of having murdered Lyra, although she isn’t the only potential suspect. It’s now up to Sidney to clear her name and find out who killed Lyra. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, as the four other suspects each have their reasons for wanting to see Lyra dead. Of note here is that although the game is set at a magical school, the narrative doesn’t rely on magical powers all that much, to the point that it wouldn’t have made a whole lot of difference had the same story been set at a regular school.

The supporting cast consists solely of these four other students: Apolline, Alice, Daniella, and Sophie. The absence of other students or faculty members is a bit jarring, and it takes quite some suspension of disbelief that any of the adults at the academy wouldn’t get involved with the death of a student. That said, the character interactions are well-written and believable, even if some of the romance elements come across as unnatural. These sometimes feel like they were tacked on just so the developers could promote Death Becomes You as an LGBTQ+ positive game, even though it’s supposed to be a murder mystery first and foremost.


Let’s get this out of the way: we weren’t fans of Death Becomes You’s visuals, mainly because of how wonky the character portraits are. Given that you’ll be spending the majority of your time with the game looking at these, you’re in for a rough time if you don’t like them either. There is a noticeable difference in quality between the portraits, which make up around 80% of what you’ll see while playing, and the CGs which are shown during key moments in the narrative. We did quite like the art style in these instances but given how rare they are, these don’t do enough to make up for the overall feeling of disappointment we had with how Death Becomes You looked as a whole.


Another area where Death Becomes You takes a hit is with its audio. There is no voice acting, which is fine as this isn’t something that is very common with visual novels. However, the music doesn’t exactly make up for the lack of audible dialogue. The tunes are as generic and forgettable as they come and often don’t match the overall ambiance and story beats of what is happening on screen.


As is typically the case with pure visual novels, the gameplay is limited to making specific choices that influence the direction the story takes. In this case, this means you’ll be fingering suspects based on the information you uncover, and it’s likely that you’ll need to tackle Death Becomes You several times in order to figure out the truth behind Lyra’s demise. In fact, several of the narrative threads lead to a literal dead end, with Sidney following in Lyra’s unfortunate footsteps. There are thirteen potential endings here, and although that gives the impression that there is a significant amount of content, in practice this turned out to not be the case. It took us roughly three hours to see everything Death Becomes You had to offer, although we did skip any dialogue we had encountered previously because reading the same paragraphs over and over again does get a little tedious.

All the basic features you’d expect from a decent visual novel are here of course. You have the option to rewind the text in case you accidentally made a wrong choice, and there is a text log that you can consult if you missed anything. You can save at any point, which can be helpful when dealing with the branching narrative. As we mentioned, you can skip any text you have read and you’re able to skip unread text if you want by selecting this option in settings. However, where Death Becomes You sets itself apart is by having a slew of collectibles, including CG art, items, and backgrounds, to motivate you to keep playing and unlock everything.


While Death Becomes You’s overarching paints an intriguing murder mystery, the visual novel fails to impress as a whole. The main offender here is the underwhelming audiovisual presentation, although the lack of depth when it comes to worldbuilding doesn’t help either. The cast feels needlessly limited, with the academy feeling empty as a result, and the magical elements are severely underused. Add to this that the romance elements feel unnatural and tacked on and you end up with a story idea that is interesting in theory but undermines itself in practice.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Death Becomes You - Review, 4.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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