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Review: Empty Horizons (PC)By Ofisil At 26.04.2019 20:09

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Empty Horizons follows young Mireille; a girl that has spent most of her short life pretty much on her own. After the death of her father, she is to be escorted to the home of her uncle, a deed that will be done by Lyon, a young hunky Chauffer who she isn't exactly fond of - in fact, she hates his guts. Too bad for her, then that 99.99% of this visual novel revolves around these two talking to each other. Now, anyone familiar with Ebi-hime's work knows that things aren't as "cute" as they look. What starts as a simple day in the life of two people who may, or may not have feelings for each other, soon gets into a pretty depressing tale, with no traditionally good endings, as even the final and "happiest" one, is just less painful than the first.

Another thing about Ebi-hime's work is that characters are purposely flawed, many times downright unlikable, but, as shown in Asphyxia that's done in such a way to make them interesting, and even relatable, as they feel more real due to their flaws. Depending on the player, though, some may find Lyon's behaviour, and especially the way he flirts, kind of… unsettling, especially since Mireille looks and is very, very young. Sadly, Empty Horizons seems to have deeper problems than a creepy fellow - it's forgettable.

Starting with the visuals, Ebi-hime once again decorates her creation with the help of Sillyselly. Her almost trademark, porcelain doll-like characters and dreamy, watercolour backgrounds are here as well, and all look great, yet things are less striking this time around, especially when it comes to the two protagonists, with Lyon having a bit of an amateurish design. The biggest issue, though, is that the story is… passable. It's just ok - nothing more, nothing less. Oh, and, once again, while the writing is fine and all, some scenes can sometimes go on and on for no real need for them to be so.

As for the general structure of the game, this is divided between three play-throughs, with each one unlocking the second, where the story unfolds once more, but this time offering one single choice, whereas the first "run" offered none. Depending on one's reading speed, everything can be seen in less than four hours, making this a pretty short story. Mechanically, those spoiled by bigger productions will be disappointed to find that this doesn't have any animation or voice acting. The rest should simply know that everything works as intended, and the lack of any extra bells and whistles doesn't really matter.

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Final Score
The heart-breaking visual novel known as [i]Empty Horizons[/i] is… decent. Definitely far from bad, but, apart from big time genre fans, and, specifically, Ebi-hime fans, most are advised to start with something more meatier, like [i]Asphyxia[/i].



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