In late 2017 we looked at an up and coming visual novel called Arcade Spirits. Fast forward to today, and Arcade Spirits is now a real game you can download on Steam and itch.io! So what has that extra year of polish and development done to our favorite Funplex employees?
Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. All of the temp art has been replaced with brand new art from Molly Nemecek and Taylor Rose. This is the bulk of what you will be looking at in a visual novel so it is important that everything gels together. And gel it does. The main characters you interact with, from Percy to Naomi are all incredibly well realized from a silhouette and style standpoint. The biggest addition though, comes from the sound side of things.
A fair amount of Arcade Spirits is voice acted, which was a pleasant surprise. Mass Effect this is not, so don’t expect every single line to be read, especially given the branching nature of a visual novel. This servers as a great guide for players who might just be clicking through to the next conversation option, as it signals what players should be paying attention to. Like most other visual novels, each character does have little quips that get across their general feelings, but the fully voice acted portions of each chapter always brought a smile to my face. For an indie game like this to have any voice acting is a treat, and every line read comes out awesome.
The best part of Arcade Spirits though? It is super stress free gaming. Unlike other games, the fate of the entire universe is never on the line, the world isn’t about to be invaded by unknown aliens. It is just a simple little story about getting your life together with the help of an app that orders way too many pizza bagels. This kind of experience is something only indie games can deliver, and Arcade Spirits is among the best in the pack. To top things off, it isn’t even a straight up erotica lite experience like most visual novels. Instead, Arcade Spirits has more in common with romantic comedies than 50 Shades of Grey.
The one blemish is the audio levels are all over the place on more complicated set ups. While playing on my laptop or with headphones in, everything in the game comes out crystal clear. When I was playing on my bigger gaming focused PC with full surround sound, it was hard to hear character lines and quips over the music. After a few trips through the options menu this was easily fixed, but it something to be aware of if you are using a gaming focused rig.
Play it! Indie games with this much polish and passion are a rare find. The story it tells is laid back and relaxing, and with a surprising amount of voice acting, Arcade Spirits shines. Arcade Spirits is available on Steam or itch.io.