I would like to thank Razz, the maker of Starlight Vega for the review copy of the game. I did play a little bit of this game, but decided that it would be best for everyone if I turned this review over to someone who loved Visual Novels and would be able to give it more attention than I. Therefore, let’s welcome Guest Reviewer Louis and let him tell us what’s what. I’ll add my thoughts at the end. The floor is your, Louis…
Starlight Vega is the story of Aria Reid who has moved with her mother into her grandfather’s old house. Aria, along with her childhood friend Melody (an authority on the occult), find a stone that has the demon Lyria held within it. Lyria and Aria become linked though the stone, forcing them to stay close by or else suffer physical pain. So Aria, Melody and Lyria must decode the magic holding the two together while at the same time uncovering the truth about the demon realm Vega and Aria’s own link to it.
Starlight Vega made a good first impression when I first looked it up. A Yuri visual novel with four routes and the main heroine was a tall, cool looking lady with horns. I was all set to love this novel. Sadly from the incredibly abrupt beginning, a sprite that had a character constantly doing a raptor impression and the shockingly blunt scene transitions I rapidly started to reassess what I should expect from this experience.
Starlight Vega does not use the visual part of visual novels well. I don’t mean that the art is bad (although the sprite art and CG art are both by different artists) but how we are made to view the art is bad. Scenes transition between each other so abruptly it is like we are watching a badly edited You Tube video of a visual novel. The same thing goes for sprites no matter the context for a sprite change it is almost always instantaneous. One of the most powerful things you can do in a visual novel is establish a symbolic link between what happens to the sprites and what is happening in a scene and this novel wastes that. This goes for shifting between scenes too. Shifting between your character going to bed and your character getting ready in the morning should not be a sudden abrupt cut without a good reason.
What is a shame is it’s not as if there is a technical reason for this. Starlight Vega does have moments when spites do something other than blink in and out of view and sometimes they even move across the screen. But these points are far too rare and it adds to making the whole reading experience a kind of thin slog.
Now you might be thinking that this is all okay if the story itself is good all the extra dressing should not matter that much. Sadly that was not my experience, if Starlight Vega had been a novel or a comic I would have been far more forgiving of its flaws, such as Lyria’s tendency to act aggressive in a way that is way over the creepy line and using her memory altering magic so liberally she would make the MiB blush. This is supposed to be a character that we fall in love with along with Aria but even I, the easiest target for a Lyria type of character, was getting sick of her aggressive shallowness that I could not buy Aria’s eventual attraction to her.
While this is not as bad in the other routes so many of the interactions do nothing but set up how much all the heroines dislike each other. It made all the scenes where we should have been getting to know the characters feel awkward and uncomfortable. So, while I did not dislike any one character on their own I dreaded them being together because then all they would do is bicker while the main character did nothing.
All this makes the times when the game actually gives us something good a bit sad, because, we briefly see what the whole game could have been like. All four main routes give us a solid view of each character, the fourth and final route effectively tying everything together and giving us a very happy ending. The eventually revealed antagonist is both a decent sponge for all the negativity in the story and they are not around long enough to be tiresome. What I was surprised to enjoy were the epilogues, they give us a good look at life after all the conflict and how the central couple of each route eventually lives their lives together in a way that, again, would have been more satisfying if the game had actually earned these endings with a good beginning, but this time the sincerity of the scenes won me over… either that or I was just too tired to be irritated by the time I finished a route.
Taking what I liked into account, Starlight Vega is totally average. It is not horribly bad but it is not good enough ether to rise above its competition today. A real pity because under all the poor decisions and missed opportunities there is real effort to be found. Starlight Vega should really be a Yuri bodice ripper novel that you can enjoy on the train anytime. Not something I need to run on a laptop.
Art – 5
Story – 4
Characters – 3
Yuri – 7
Service – 7
Overall – 5
Erica here: I played some of the demo for Starlight Vega, then tried it again when it was officially released. I thought the official release much improved from the demo, so that was good. Disclaimering once more that I am not the intended audience for this medium, my biggest problem was the dialogue. Just once, I’d like to see a character say, “Sit your ass down and tell me the whole story from the beginning.” In every other thing, I agree with your assessment. I lost interest way too early to even get to a route. Essentially Aria wastes our time, by being so vexed for so long without progress.
Louis, you say “One of the most powerful things you can do in a visual novel is establish a symbolic link between what happens to the sprites and what is happening in a scene.” I’m going to be honest…I just haven’t seen that. It all looks blink-no blink to me.
I’d like to see more good Yuri VNs, of course, but what I need first and foremost from them is a good story with good dialogue. This just wasn’t bad, it just didn’t hold on to my attention.
Thanks Louis for taking a look at this for us!