There’s a fantastic Lost-like quality to Crimson Spires, the latest visual novel from Eastasiasoft. There’s a hulking great mystery at its centre, and it’s hard to tell whether it’s man-made, supernatural or something else entirely. You are stuck in a town that’s cut off from the rest of the world, surrounded by deadly, glowing towers that encircle it. As newly transferred sheriff Erika Wright, your job – among others – is to find out what these towers are.
It’s a long way from trying to hump the boy-next-door, so Crimson Spires may well be a refreshing break from the visual novel norm. There is still plenty of romancing, as you would expect from an otome visual novel, but you and your partners are brought together through the tension of the situation, and you make uneasy alliances with the various people of the town of Bataille, all with the aim of digging out the mystery’s core.
They’re a ragtag bunch too. There are extreme conspiracy nuts (haven’t we had our fill of them already?), as well as Byronesque vampires and even a serial killer. If that’s not the best episode of Love Island, we don’t know what is. There must be a reason why so many extreme people are in the same place at the same time, and we’re eager to find out if Crimson Spires has an answer.
The developers, Woodsy Studio, have a vision for visual novels, as they’re determined to move away from games that have you shooting everything, or slaying dragons to rescue princesses. This is a more mature, diverse approach to storytelling, and something the visual novel genre could well do with. It shares a lot of themes with Cross the Moon, which dealt with supernatural goings on and stylish vampires, and we’re hoping it’s half as good.
We will have a review of this one anon. It certainly looks the business, as it’s married some striking comic book characters with 3D backdrops, and the effect is pretty stylish, we have to say. If you’re fans of the game already, it is coming to console packaged with a New Game Plus mode, which unlocks after completing all other story routes, and creates a unique path through the game that even extends Erika’s tale further.
Crimson Spires is out now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S and starts at £16.74 from the Xbox Store. It’s also out on PS4, PS5, Switch and PC.
Who can you trust as you investigate a town mysteriously cut off from the rest of the world? Take the role of Sheriff Erika Wright as an investigation brings her to the small mining town of Bataille, where she is suddenly trapped by a ring of deadly, glowing towers encircling the community. Here she meets residents of a disarming variety, from extreme conspiracy theorists to wealthy vampires and a serial killer. Guide Erika’s decisions as she forms uneasy alliances and finds love through partnership. Amidst the horrors facing Bataille, romance can blossom with the few people Erika might be able to trust. Each possible relationship reveals valuable secrets about the towers and their surrounding mystery. Blending an eerie atmosphere with romance and supernatural mystery, Crimson Spires presents its otome-style narrative with an uncommon degree of freedom. Along its multiple story paths, the experience shifts between rich 2D character art and 3D exploration, allowing you to investigate building interiors and immersing you in the town of Bataille. Additionally, this updated version of Crimson Spires includes New Game Plus content that unlocks after completing all other story routes, interweaving previous narrative threads and bringing Erika’s tale to a climactic finish driven by player choice!