Pale Cachexia is an atmospheric, dark kinetic visual novel about a girl searching for a cure for her illness who stumbles upon a young girl living alone in the forest, exploring topics of grief, guilt, friendship, and loneliness.
In this Gothic story of deep bonds and chilling mystery, a young girl named Esther ventures deep within a forgotten forest.
There, she seeks out a potential cure for her mysterious illness: a life-leeching plague known as the Pale Cachexia.
But when Esther meets Seina, who lives all alone in a towering manor, the two girls are drawn to each other in a tale of friendship, sorrow, and bitter loneliness.
Their story is shadowed by the dark secrets of the manor and its graveyard, which haunts Esther even in her deepest dreams.
What an atmospheric, emotionally complex story. This kinetic novel (visual novel without any choices) has elements of horror and fantasy, and there are some creepy parts, but it’s mostly mysterious and melancholic, dealing with the heavy topics of death/dying, illness, grief, guilt, and loneliness.
I liked the complexity and nuance in this story. Things that seemed sweet at first were sad and maybe even a little disturbing the more you thought about them. Characters made decisions that they thought were best, but they weren’t always right. Isaiah’s character was especially interesting because I both liked and disliked him. I understood his reasoning, felt for him, and even related to him in some ways, but I also often disagreed with him and his actions.
The story itself was very small in scope, focusing on three characters and the relationships between them. Love between a father and daughter. Deep friendship between two girls, each lonely in their own way. A man’s experiences with romance, friendship, and society that pushed him to become isolated. The mystery of what happened in the past and what would happen kept me hooked.
The ending was a bit open and left me with some unanswered questions, but I liked that it was unexpected yet fitting. It suited the characters and drew upon all the personalities, relationships, and themes in the story. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say I’m glad it wasn’t a *poof* fingers snapped and everything is perfect sort of ending.
I don’t know if there were any effects or visuals I missed since I mostly played with self-voicing (TTS). But from what I did see, the character art is nice, the backgrounds have a beautiful, kind of classically artistic style, and there are pretty scenes of the characters that you unlock as you go and can see again later from the main menu.
There’s also a lovely soundtrack that enhances all the different moods of the story.
Overall, I felt for these characters and appreciated this mysterious, atmospheric, emotional story about loneliness, isolation, friendship, and good (or questionably good) intentions sometimes having unintended outcomes. I recommend it if you like kinetic novels that deal with heavy topics and make you feel!
Accessibility: This game is partially accessible for blind and visually impaired players with self-voicing mode (to turn on, press V once game window has opened). Game text will be read aloud, but menus will not. Sound/Music closed captions. OpenDyslexic font option. Disable bright flashes option.
*I received a free copy of this game. This has not influenced my review.*
– Kinetic visual novel (no choices)
– Complexity in story and characters
– Heavy topics of death, illness, grief, guilt, and loneliness
– Somewhat open ending
– Nice art, including unlockables
– Soundtrack that perfectly enhances mood
– Overall an atmospheric, emotional story I enjoyed!