By Leah McDonald / June 5th, 2023
|Release Date||April 20th, 2023|
|Genre||Boys’ Love, Visual Novel, Dark Fantasy|
Can you find love at the end of the world, even knowing it’s destined to be tragic? Lkyt., the latest Boys’ Love title from parade, pits this question against the grim backdrop of a never-ending war against supernatural demonic creatures in a small seaside nation secluded from the rest of the world, weaving a haunting tale of heroism, pride, and duty against overwhelming odds.
We join our hero, Tasuku, as he heads out into the barren lands of the Seaside Nation with his small band of warriors to perform routine checks of the barriers their countrymen have erected to keep demonic entities named Hollows at bay. The Hollows most often take the form of wolves, but their oozing black mass corrupts and kills anything it comes into contact with, and being attacked by them means almost certain death, as they will hunt anything living without rest. The people of the Seaside Nation have one defense – magic. Not only can the Seaside Nation’s magic make them stronger and faster in battle, they can also concentrate it to purify wounds inflicted by the Hollows to stave off the corruption that literally turns living things into dust. Even with magic on their side, however, the people of this secluded country have been waging a lopsided war of attrition for centuries, and the Hollows are growing stronger as the Dark Reign – a period of particularly heavy Hollow activity that occurs every thousand years or so – draws near.
With the Hollow threat increasing, Tasuku finds himself in illustrious company — Takeru, the son of the Seaside Nation’s emperor and likely next in line for the throne; Ango, the Seaside Nation’s strongest warrior; Yael, a talented swordsman from the Desert Nation who’s thrown his lot in with people not his own; and Towa, the divine being who protects the Seaside Nation with his holy powers. Each of these men have various reasons to continue fighting against the inevitable and are burdened with their own demons, but can they find salvation with Tasuku despite the long odds?
I really enjoyed the story here. It’s dark and heavy at times, but the characters are all well-written, and Tasuku himself brings a bit of levity to the situation despite being a generally serious man himself. His unwavering sense of duty can seem grim, but he isn’t at all, exuding a positivity I found charming. He understands he’s likely going to die in the fight against the Hollows, but he’s accepted that inevitability and simply wants to do his best with the one life he’s been given. That tenacity plays off the other characters quite well, and you can’t help but root for Tasuku to come out of every scenario hale and whole. I particularly enjoyed his interactions with Yael, the apathetic and sardonic outsider. The two could not be more opposite in personality, and yet I found it lead to some of the best moments as they came to understand one another, overcoming a cultural gap that didn’t exist with the other love interests.
Speaking of love interests, the H-scenes here are all really well done, with some absolutely superb sound mixing. The CGs are uncensored and the art looks pretty good. The character designs in general are just top notch here, honestly. As someone who is not a fan of body hair, I was super appreciative of that being a toggled option for the CGs, as well. There’s a decent variety of scenarios, so you won’t ever get bored, either.
I would be remiss if I did not talk about the music. Lkyt. has one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard this year. I would sometimes open the game just to sit and listen to the music. It has just the right amount of moody, uplifting and melancholic pieces, and the opening song is a certified banger. As I noted earlier, the sound design is also just really well done, from the satisfying clangs, roars and general melee sounds of combat to some exquisitely squishy sex scenes, listening to this game is just a delight. The voice acting here ranges from pretty good to excellent, and I’m particularly happy that Tasuku is voiced, as I love when the MC isn’t silent. His actor does a fantastic job, to boot.
As a fan of BL, I had a great time with Lkyt. I haven’t finished all of the routes yet, but I’ve put about 20 hours in and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The art direction is gorgeous, I love the character designs, the world building is interesting, and I’m a fan of the themes of inevitability and defiance. Yael is by far my favorite of the love interests, but there’s enough variety here in personalities and body types to appeal to a wide range of readers. I would absolutely recommend grabbing this one; it’s well worth the $45 USD price point.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
18+ MangaGamerAdult Visual NovelBoys Lovedark fantasyGame ReviewLkytparadeReviewsvisual novel