Visual Novel Review: Pale Cachexia by Argent Games

 
 

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.


Pale Cachexia promo image. Manga style art of a young woman with dark chin-length hair lying on the ground with her outstretched arm holding a pocket watch

 

Official Description:

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.

 

More Info:

You can get more info and buy the game here on Steam, here on itch.io, or here on the developer’s website!

 

Long Review:

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!

*I received a free copy of this game. This has not influenced my review.*

 

Short 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!

Accessibility:

(May not include everything)
– Partially accessible for blind / visually impaired players and screen reader users with Ren’Py self-voicing mode (press V to toggle). Game text will be read aloud, but menus will not.
– Sound/music closed captions available.
– OpenDyslexic font option.
– Disabled bright flashes option.

 
 
 
 

Talk to me!

Have you played Pale Cachexia?
Do you like stories on the darker or more emotional side?

 
 
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Your Thoughts

 

6 thoughts on “Visual Novel Review: Pale Cachexia by Argent Games

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  1. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    The thing I always enjoy with your game reviews is I’m getting if the story is good (the thing I care about most with a game) but also I can figure out what the gameplay is like and you always take the time to mention the accessibility options, something I hardly even know how to find on a games menu. I like the sound of the soundtrack (sound is very important in setting tone in a game) and it sounds they have it spot on to help match the tone of the story.

    1. Kristen

      Aww thanks! I’m glad someone likes how I do my reviews. This dev made the accessibility easy by putting most of it on their info page! To be honest, I don’t always really notice soundtracks, but I guess I do notice if they stand out in a good way.