By Jenae R / May 13th, 2021
The Sekimeiya: Spun Glass was a VN I knew nothing about when I was offered the chance to check it out. Based on the information provided on the game’s Steam page, I was intrigued enough to say yes and jump into it. I don’t play a ton of visual novel type games, only on occasion do I try them out. Visual novels are a unique genre, The Sekimeiya I think may be even more unique than your typical VN. Though as I just said, I’ve only played a handful of visual novels, so feel free to take that with a grain of salt.
The Sekimeiya: Spun Glass takes place in a small town called Yushibana. Atsuki and his friend, Shiroya, bought tickets to go to the Ashiya Tower for a viewing event of the Sekimeiya. This so called “tower” is a large building which has become the most noticeable landmark in their rural town and is owned by the Ashiya family. Over the years it has periodically increased in size until people started referring to it as the Ashiya Tower. The building is in front of a mountain range, where people now search for gemstones. The Sekimeiya, which everyone goes to Ashiya Tower to see, is said to be some sort of newly-discovered gemstone from this mountain range. Only, when Atsuki and Shiroya go to see it, the lights go out and smoke fills the building, thus knocking them unconscious along with several other people who were unable to evacuate the building in time.
When everyone comes to, it’s discovered that the building is now locked down and will stay that way for 12 hours due to a special alarm that went off. This is where the story begins. Based on the 15 hours or so I’ve spent on this visual novel so far, it is quite clear this is not your typical visual novel with various choices to make and branching paths. It is seemingly one-hundred percent linear, only with a few later game choices to make. However, those choices aren’t true choices, it seems the wrong choice will lead you to a bad end after not very long and then loop right back to where you made your choice. One of my main complaints with The Sekimeiya is the fact that it’s a completely linear VN.
Not only is it linear, but in trying to figure out the mystery, whoever’s point of view you’re currently on will constantly narrate in their head all of these potential explanations for the sake of trying to figure out what’s going on while trapped in Ashiya Tower. It turns into numerous lines of this person trying to rationalize stuff, only for them to then come to the conclusion that something contradicts what they thought up two seconds ago. So ultimately, their idea becomes impossible. I’ve only just begun the second chapter after over 14 hours spent on the first. Atsuki was the obvious main character in the first chapter. But now in the second chapter, everything has started over with Shiroya as the main character. These sequences of the main person attempting to solve the situation drag on for far too long. I ended up coming to my own conclusion that this visual novel would be significantly better if there was something else. I particularly like the idea of the narration being cut in half and in its place, letting you explore and figure things out for yourself in a point and click type fashion.
Yes, you read what I said correctly, you don’t actually get to explore Ashiya Tower for yourself and figure things out. In addition to containing a linear story with incessant narration (narration you will be reading for yourself by the way, because there is no dub in any language), there is no exploring the building on your own whatsoever. You’ll simply be reading everything that’s going on and the images behind the text will change as the story plays out and takes the cast of characters to different parts of the building. If not for the excessive inner dialogue trying to figure out what’s going on, only to dismiss everything thought up, I wouldn’t mind it being a strictly linear narrative. Unfortunately, The Sekimeiya: Spun Glass, in my opinion, doesn’t live up to its potential. It could have been so much more had there been point and click exploration added in.
There are two other notable features aside from the narrative style of TSSG. In the menu there’s a tab where you can take notes about any observations you have, along with a game log where you can search a term and re-read anything that’s occurred throughout the story or revisit any specific point. Personally, I don’t get why. Sure, these are useful features seeing as it’s an extensive visual novel. If you ever put it down for a while, it’s an easy way to refresh your memory once you’ve picked it back up. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that it is a linear VN with no legitimate choices to make. These two features appear to be more useful for people like me who plan to write about the game than any regular player who merely wants to enjoy it for themselves.
Overall, once I got far enough, I was intrigued by the story presented in The Sekimeiya: Spun Glass and I am interested in continuing the experience to find out where things go. In the end, though, it appears to be a lacking VN with far too much narrative. It would be a much improved experience had I been allowed to explore the building and try to figure things out in my own head, rather than read the narration of someone else’s contradicted deductions.
A copy of the game was provided by the publisher/dev.
ImpressionsLinuxMacPCSteamThe Sekimeiya: Spun GlassTrinitite Team