While the art style may not be everyone’s cup of tea, The Wilting Amaranth makes a worthwhile addition to an adult visual novel collection.
Developer: Reine Works
Publisher: Top Hat Studios Inc
Release Date: 5 Jun, 2018
The Wilting Amaranth is a short anime visual novel with adult themes and a fantasy setting. It’s the only game that I’ve played from the developers, Reine Works, but they have a few others on Steam already.
This yuri story concerns a beautiful young witch living in a tower and her two female guests, one there of her own volition and the other by the witch’s hand, and the love triangle that is formed by their actions. There’s a free, but entirely optional, adult DLC available from the Steam store page. I’ve only played the game with this DLC installed, so can’t comment on the “all-ages” content specifically, but with the DLC the story includes a number of erotic scenes, each with non-censored CG images and rather explicit writing.
Story and Writing
The Wilting Amaranth‘s story is very short and told from the point of view of Amarante, a young woman who is magically plucked from her upcoming marriage preparations and finds herself in a small bedroom atop a strange tower. She soon meets Isolde, a witch and the owner of the tower, and Priya, a prisoner there. There are two core paths, one focusing on Priya and the other on Isolde, but the game includes plenty of decision points and about a dozen endings, both good and bad, so there’s a fair bit of variation. The save and skip systems make it easy to replay from the different decision points, but I’d expect a reasonably literate person to be able to get through all of the game’s offerings in two to four hours.
I’m quite impressed by most of the writing in the game; it’s much better than most indie games I’ve played recently and better than many visual novels I’ve read. The sex scenes are also written better than those of many more mainstream adult visual novels; I didn’t find them cringe-worthy at all, though they’re more explicitly raunchy and less endearing than those in Highway Blossoms.
There are a few errors here and there, though, as well as at least one dangling participle (oo-er!). There’s also a consistent grammatical error in the writer’s (or perhaps writers’) misunderstanding of the difference between the intransitive verb, “to lie”, and the transitive verb, “to lay”. While this may seem minor, even in a game genre in which the writing plays a significant role, I found it particularly glaring because the rest of the prose was so well written.
The game is made using the Ren’Py engine and if you’ve played any other visual novels in the last few years then the interface is exactly what you’d expect: large, occasionally animated 2D “paper-doll” anime sprites over static backgrounds, with the story presented through the text box at the bottom. Options include text speed, skip settings, a history, multiple quick- and regular saves, etc. There’s also a small CG gallery that unlocks as you play, with the adult DLC including a second, even smaller one. I don’t think Underwear Mode is a Ren’Py standard option, though. 😀
Graphics are cartoon-like with only a small number of backgrounds, each of which could easily have featured in a Saturday morning cartoon years ago. That’s not to say they’re bad — they’re definitely not — but rather that the style is a fairly simple one. The character art style is similarly simple, but quite attractive for the most part. It’s a bit of a shame that there are so few poses and expressions, though, especially considering there are only three characters.
CG images maintain the same style and are mostly good, fitting the story well, but I thought a couple of the images showing Amarante in her underwear didn’t quite look quite right. I believe the adult patch adds only retouched versions of some of the images from the all-ages version: removing underwear and that sort of thing.
I enjoyed the in-game music, though I think it’s only a couple of tracks played over and over. The end-game music track was far too “heavy” for my liking, though, and didn’t seem to fit the game at all. Sound effects are minimal, but that’s pretty normal for the genre. I’m sad to say there are no voices.
The game also includes Steam Achievements (mostly hidden, but there’s a guide already) and Trading Cards.
The Wilting Amaranth is a good yuri visual novel with endearing characters; simple, but lovely art; mostly excellent writing; and a free adult patch available easily through Steam. Though the game is rather short, even with its many choices and endings, it’s also priced about right for the content.