A Winter’s Daydream tells the story of a 19 year old teenager, Yuu, who much like any family with younger siblings, can’t stand his younger sister, Otoko. And well the feeling is mutual. A year ago, Yuu moved out of his hometown to study in a bustling city. Yuu hasn’t seen his sister since he moved away but with New Year’s Eve creeping up, he must return home to celebrate with his family. Unfortunately, the move has not softened his younger sister as Otoka is as rude as ever before to her older brother.
To get away from unbearable atmosphere, Yuu escape to his grandmother’s snowy, secluded village. The night he arrives, Yuu is happy to catch up with his grand-mother. But the next morning, things get complicated as a young woman is standing in the kitchen. Apparently, his grandma turned into a cute young girl overnight. What caused this? It’s up to the player to find out.
A Winter’s Daydream is a visual novel, meaning that the gameplay is reduced to reading and moving the story forward by watching your characters interact with one another via dialog. Unlike most visual novels, where some interactions are required, this game features a more linear story meaning that no matter what you reply to the characters, the path and ending will be the same. It’s basically a book. The game’s story, albeit linear, is quite unique and will keep you gripped until you solve this mystery.
The game is centered around Yuu getting to know his grand-mother and catching up as they haven’t seen each since his grand-father died. Obviously, during her « young » phase, the game will throw arkward jabs at the grand-mother being Yuu’s girlfriend, but under it all is a touching story. The sub-plot being the relationship being Yuu and his sister, whom is really unlikeable right through the end. However, during Yuu and his grand-mother’s interactions, we get a bit of insight as to why his sister is the way she is.
The more linear aspect, while appreciated, can also be the game’s downfall as it generates no replay value. While some players can fall in love this this game and replay it over and over, there’s nothing new to discover or it can’t really be spedrun so there’s no real value in the long run. The upside of the genre, however, is that it’s perfect for gamers and non-gamers alike as it’s like reading an book so the learning curve is basically non-existent. The main upside of being a linear experience is that it’s an easy 1000Gs; every Achievement will unlock as you read your way until the end. Considering that it feels more like a book than anything else, this type of experience would be better suited to a mobile devices or handheld platforms; so you can just read it in bed… like you would do a book.
The game’s presentation is quite solid. The visuals are detailed; whether it be the settings or character expressions. Audio wise, you’ll be treated to a peaceful and relaxing score with the appropraite upbeat track during more comical circumstances. The only questionable, albeit minor, quirk about the presentation is that the credits will roll before the game’s ending.
While I’m generally a fan of visual novels, A Winter’s Daydream comes up a bit short. While I do enjoy unique story telling such as this and the genre as a whole seeing as it’s perfect for a relaxing gaming session, the lack of voice overs and replay value makes this hard to justify. The story is fun, unique and touching, but once you’ve experienced it, there’s no incentives to replay it. Die-hard fans of the genre will undoubtedly want to experience A Winter’s Daydream, however there’s better visual novels out there for first timers.
- Interesting and unique story
- Easy 1000Gs
- No replay value