By Quentin H. / July 5th, 2017
Here at Operation Rainfall, we cover a lot of visual novels both in previews, reviews, and news coverage. During IndieCade at E3 2017, I picked up and played what is a rather bizzare visual novel called One Way Trip, developed by Beret Applications, LLC. And for many different reasons, One Way Trip is probably the one title I demoed that stood out to me more than almost anything else at the show.
The premise behind One Way Trip is simple: You and your brother discover that the town’s drinking water was contaminated with a hallucingenic poison that will kill everyone in six hours. This realization kicks off a heavy, multi-branching game where your characters can do a variety of things – ranging from going outside to find a cure to just staying at home and talking about the meaning of life, and everything in between. When I was talking with Michael Frauenhofer, the lead developer behind One Way Trip, he explained to me that there is even a side-story included in One Way Trip where you plan out a school student’s life and the side-story is actually longer than the main game itself.
I played through the game up until I finally left the house to explore the outside world. The graphics are a mixture of hand-drawn images and ‘cutout’ stop-motion characters that reminded me a lot of the art style from Tom Goes to the Mayor (if you remember that Adult Swim series from 2004 to 2006), only colored instead of being purely black-and-white. One Way Trip’s music is incredibly off-beat and often is unpleasantly jarring to listen to as well, and it is unlike anything I have heard before in a game. There is a lot of coarse language in the dialogue and soundtrack as well. The gameplay, from my demo, simply consisted of selecting a dialogue option from the various options available when I was prompted to do so (which, considering this is obviously a visual novel game, makes sense).
In short: One Way Trip is not for everyone, and is definitely not meant for children. The thing though, is that One Way Trip does not even TRY to be for everyone. Instead, this is, in a purest sense, what I think it means to truly create an ‘indie’ video game. I have very little doubt that the development studio, Beret Applications, LLC, decided to make One Way Trip how they wanted to make it, and they did not compromise to do so. This is also a game that just begs to be played over and over again, even from the brief time I played it, since it is so clear that there are SO many different paths to explore and so many different characters to meet as these two brothers explore their hallucinogenic world before they die.
I continuously waffled on whether I actually liked One Way Trip or not, and to my surprise, I kept thinking about it even after E3 was long over with. One Way Trip is simply a visual novel that is radically different than anything else I’ve played in the genre. I actually want to play more of it, and with it coming to the PlayStation Vita (and currently out for the PlayStation 4 on the PlayStation Network), it is something I’ll be picking up for myself.
Have you picked up One Way Trip? What do you think of the visual novel genre?
Let us know in the comments below!
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