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'A Hand in the Darkness' Yaoi Visual Novel Review

So, I've dived into the world of "A Hand in the Darkness", and as someone who has enjoyed a few of Ertal Games' projects I knew it was going to be an enjoyable gameplay. I don't tend to do gameplays (I'll leave that to the founders of Boys Love Universe on YouTube coming soon), but I do write reviews because I love Yaoi, I love visual novels and I love jotting down my thoughts at random to scribble up a review on anything BL. Plus I love supporting visual novel creators over here on Boys Love Universe.


If you're interested in getting your game reviewed by me check out my profile here! We are also planning future gameplays so if you'd like to work with us just let us know on our partner page!


'A Hand in the Darkness' Rating 6 out of 10


Set in the lustrous Edwardian era, this visual novel follows Alex, a newcomer to St. Michaels, an all-male boarding school of note. Now, we've all heard of the common plot trope of love interests sprouting in a boarding school setting, but this, this is different. This isn't your run-of-the-mill soppy love saga. It's a bit of an emotional roller coaster and a game that left me wide-eyed more times than I could count. Some routes are really messsed up and others are sweet. I also have a soft spot for school-based games so this was was my cup of tea.


The Basics


Developed by Ertal Games, a powerhouse with a passion for Yaoi and manga, “A Hand in the Darkness” takes you on a 15-hour rollercoaster ride that boasts more than 85,000 words. Three love interests, good and bad endings for each, all set within the classy backdrop of a British Edwardian era boarding school? Sign me up!



A Hand in the Darkness Pic 1


The Art and Aesthetics


Alright, let's talk aesthetics. The game has its visual charm, with well-drawn characters and an overall pleasing aesthetic. The additional 9 CGs funded by the game's successful campaign add a rich layer to the visual storytelling. However, it's the backgrounds that take the cake. Some of the art could have been a bit better such as a less soft look and more details on the eyes, but it is still a beautiful piece.


The Story and Characters


The narrative is where this game shines. It weaves a sweet tale filled with unexpected dangers and blossoming relationships. Alex, our protagonist, navigates through the complexities of friendship and romance within the exclusive confines of St. Michaels, and boy does it make for some quality drama. Again I have a soft spot of academy, boarding school or just school stories in general so I might be a bit biased. The writing at times makes the dialogue seem offbeat but its plot makes up for it.


The three love interests offer diverse personalities and backstories, each bringing something to the plot. The good and bad endings for each route offer high replayability and ensure that each playthrough feels like a fresh experience.


The Voice Acting and Music


Now, let's get to the sound of it all. Unfortunately, “A Hand in the Darkness” does not feature voice acting, but don't let that get you down. The game compensates with a solid soundtrack that captures the atmosphere.


The Gameplay Mechanics


Gameplay in “A Hand in the Darkness” follows the traditional visual novel format. You make choices that steer Alex's relationships and ultimately decide his fate. It's simple, intuitive, and allows for the narrative to take center stage.


The Extras


The game also includes some additional features such as a customized textbox and GUI improvements. These little tweaks add a polished touch to the game, making it more visually appealing and user-friendly.


Personal Thoughts


As for my personal take? “A Hand in the Darkness” is a solid entry in the Yaoi visual novel scene. It delivers a gripping narrative, dynamic characters, and a genuine portrayal of love and friendship within the context of an Edwardian-era boarding school. Plus more slice of life Yaoi is always good to have in the industry.



A Hand in the Darkness Pic 2


While the lack of voice acting and some pacing, dialogue and direction the story went is a slight let-down, the engaging characters more than make up for it. It’s a game that manages to strike a balance between light-hearted romance and intense drama, providing a satisfying journey from start to finish.


If you're a fan of Yaoi, visual novels, or just a sucker for a good ol' fashioned love story with a twist, “A Hand in the Darkness” is well worth your time. So, go ahead, give it a whirl and get lost in the captivating world of St. Michaels.


Until next time, folks! Keep the fires burning and the Yaoi flowing.

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