Dating Sims are probably the most common genre of Visual Novel, or at least I see them brought up the most. With their growing popularity in the west we have started getting more western people/studios trying new things such as a crossover between romance and horror, which is exactly what The Way We ALL GO does. While I’m not the biggest horror game fan I do like Visual Novels (if you couldn’t tell from my past posts) so I gave it a spin and let’s see how I liked it!
When one thinks of a visual novel what comes to mind? A lot of reading, cute girls, little to no actual gameplay, if it’s not Kinetic then choices that lead to 3-10 different endings. Throw that last one out the window. Yes there are choices, but there aren’t 3-10, there’s 21! (at least according to the game and forum post but I can’t find Ending 9 or 21 even using the dev’s walkthrough) At first this may seem like quite the up taking but the longest I found an ending took to get was ~2 hours (I wasn’t paying super close attention to time) with most ~1 hour. We have 3 heroines for you to chose between, Amu, Noelle and Eri (I’m sorry I didn’t write their last names down). The forum post also mentions “3 girls with A route each” which kind of confuses me. Not only does our protagonist Attchan date each multiple times but we learn all their back stories in multiple endings so I’m not exactly sure which would could as which route. The endings also have names and none are “Amu’s Route” or “Noelle’s true end” just things like “Liar”, “Apology” and “Mushrooms” (list of the endings I was able to get) so those didn’t help me. I wish since that is a feature advertised it was stated which the creator considers to be the main route for each heroine, not necessary just would be nice to know.
Now onto story! Atcchan moved away from his small hometown (they have 1 school with one classroom and I can’t remember if an exact number of students is ever given but it appears to not even fill the entire room) to a big city. He is coming back for 3 days to visit his old friends with some regrets. When he moved he never said goodbye to one of his good friends Noelle and once he moved wrote letters to Amu but not Noelle. Once he arrives he’s stuck with the choice of if he tries just having fun with Amu, facing his fears and apologizing to Noelle, or hanging out with and old classmate he never talked to before (locked endings) and since he only has 3 days he has to make the most of it. One thing I think The Way We ALL GO excels at is writing. I really like the writing style used and it really works for this game. I feel it was kind of let down due to the decision of so many endings. Why?
So many end with the same result. While I forgot to write down 17-20 (I kept a list of how they ended, if there was any romance, any backstory) I have 5 ends that have Noelle killing Atcchan (I wouldn’t consider a spoiler as it’s pretty much stated you die in the forum post and Noelle is the only one who has motive) and I know there were more. While yes, they did have different ways leading to that event it still got a little tiring restarting, skipping previously read text, getting to an ending, hearing how sad and angry Noelle is about Atcchan leaving her, the cheap plastic casing holding the sharp metal blade (I should have kept a tally how many times that line was used), stabby stabby, roll credits, repeat. I commend the creator for trying something new but I feel we would have had a better game if you maybe extended the visit to a week and cut the endings to maybe 5 or 6 (1 for each heroine and a couple for Noelle to kill Atcchan). My favourite endings were by far 3 and 6 just because they were so shocking to me (although 3 is spoiled by it’s title displayed on the window bar when you make it). My other main issue (which is why I suggest extending the visit to a week) is I don’t feel any of the relationships developed as well as they could have. Sure it’s essentially 2 childhood friends and a new girl but I would have liked to see how Atcchan’s relationships play out. Go through my “Top Key Heroines” posts and look for when I mention something along the lines of “loved her route” for pretty much all of them you’ll notice they have a huge focus on the relationship between protagonist and heroine and since we got pretty much none of that here I felt a little disappointed.
The original graphics are great. The sprites have a water-coloured look that I love and while I did notice a colouring issue on one of the CG of Amu and her guitar (above) they all had a distinct style that looked nice too. You might notice I said original graphics though, that’s because the backgrounds and a lot of other pictures are simply taken (although they were credited in the credits), a filter was added to make them look drawn and added. Reading the credits with the coder and writer being the same person I’ll assume this was mainly a 1 man team who managed to find some artists willing to draw sprites and CGs (would also explain the small amount). While I’m not going to be too harsh I just found it a little awkward and think if they fit a little better with the sprites it wouldn’t even be an issue.
The game isn’t voice acted which isn’t a problem. It also uses stock music (as can be seen by an “artist” for 3 of the songs being “freestockmusic”). I also have no issues with this as all the songs fit and were pretty catchy. As someone who uses a lot of royalty free music it was a bit weird hearing some of it in this game that I recognized. The game’s title/credits song (also used during some in game scenes) fits perfectly and I’m actually left wondering how much time went into picking out the music.