A Butterfly in the District of Dreams
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 9

A Butterfly In The District of Dreams doesn’t quite live up to its mysterious premise, but as far as visual novels goes it still has a lot to offer. The pace of the story is very slow and relaxing, which is great for players in search of a calming experience. It is refreshing to play a title that doesn’t rely on fan service as a crutch, but due to the slow pace it is also a title that some players will find a little boring. With three main heroines, each with multiple routes and different endings, this visual novel is definitely not lacking in content.

Gameplay: The pace is fairly slow, but the slice of life drama still manages to be captivating once you get hooked.

Graphics: Beautiful character sprites, but the backgrounds are fairly limited.

Sound: Full Japanese voice acting and a great soundtrack

Summary 7.7 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

A Butterfly in the District of Dreams

Developer: Life a Little | Publisher: Sekai Project | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Casual / Indie / Visual Novel | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

When we meet Haruki, the protagonist of A Butterfly In The District of Dreams, his life has gotten somewhat off track. Instead of going to college, he spends his days visiting his sister, Anzu, who is confined to a hospital room due to her illness. This continues until his childhood friend, Ai Tsukibane, corners him about this habit and forces him to attend school again. Ai is the complete opposite of Haruki as she has always attained top grades, but the two has drifted apart as they grew older. As the two rekindle their friendship they miss the last train home for the day, but surprisingly enough another one arrives at the station. Faced with a choice of boarding this mysterious train or walking all the way home, the two take their chances, and end up in a strange place called Olive Village. Not only is this village unfamiliar to them, but it doesn’t even seem to be in the same reality as their own.

Taking a strange train to an alternate reality sound like the plot of a horror movie, but A Butterfly In The District of Dreams is the polar opposite. Haruki and Ai finds themselves in a bright, sunny village with a seemingly never-ending street of shops. They also encounter a girl named Yurika, who is the spitting image of Haruki’s sister. Instead of being an evil doppelganger, Yurika offers the duo lodging until they figure out a way to get home, provided they work part time at her cafe. It is in this cafe, Kockhouran, where most of the game takes place as Haruki comes to grips with his predicament. While Ai’s father is the president of a large enterprise, Haruki has very little to entice him back to the real world, apart from his sister. Complicating matters even further is the fact that both Ai and Yurika, along with a girl named Hiroku who they meet in the village, appear to have feelings for Hiraki.

ABITDoD was originally released in Japan in 2013 and while it has taken a couple of years, English fans can finally experience the game. While there can never be enough quality visual novels on Steam, there is no doubt that this one won’t appeal to everyone. Anyone looking for fan service is going to be a little disappointed and those drawn in by the mysterious sounding storyline might also feel a little duped. This is because the majority of the game plays out like a slice of life visual novel, which is a little at odds with the unusual circumstances of the protagonist. There is nothing wrong with this of course and despite the very slow pace the story is still interesting, but it is a little unexpected. In fact, the second half of the game also becomes a lot more lighthearted and features more humor than what the rather somber first half would have you believe.

Apart from a newfound ability to turn seeds into flowers simply by holding them nothing else really changes for Haruki in this new reality. He quickly settles into life at Kochouran and actually does well at his first part time job. Things are a little harder for Ai as she is not used to cooking and serving, but she doesn’t seem to be in any rush to return home either. The result is a very slow paced and relaxing visual novel that some players will find interesting while others might consider it a little boring.

Most of the story in ABITDoD takes place in the coffee shop where the characters work as well as live. The story occasionally strays out into the streets as well as a nearby shrine, but don’t expect any strange or mysterious locations. The story itself is fairly linear, but you do get the choose between multiple routes that lead to different endings. The routes are all focused around the three main heroines, so anyone interested in seeing the entire story will have to complete the game multiple times. This isn’t too hard though, and you can fast forward through text that you’ve already read in a previous playthrough to save some time. While the story didn’t exactly leave us on the edge of our seats, the slow pace of the game and the way that characters slowly settle into a routine at the coffee shop makes for a relaxing experience. There is the occasional “crisis” or misunderstanding that crop up, but these mostly consist of characters getting sick, getting into trouble or dealing with personal issues. Some of the stuff is a little questionable, such as one of the male characters slapping a much younger female employee as punishment for theft, but overall nothing too controversial ever happens. The fact that the protagonist can fall in love with a girl that could be the twin of his own sister is also a little sketchy might raise a few eyebrows though.

For a game that is a few years old already ABITDoD looks very decent. Initially the backgrounds are all filtered photographs, but as soon as the story shifts to Olive Village they are replaced by actual artwork. These look a lot nicer, but the amount of backgrounds are still fairly limited. The sprites fare a lot better with some nice 2D character designs for the entire cast. There are no animations, of course, but the characters are detailed and easy on the eyes. We are particularly fond of the audio as the game features full Japanese voice acting for the entire cast, apart from Haruki. The 18 tracks that make up the soundtrack are all also very good with some standout tracks like “Flower”, “Apricot”, “Olive” and “A Straight Detour”. Our favorite is the very catchy “Back Alley Waltz.”

Overall, we enjoyed our time with A Butterfly In The District of Dreams enough to complete it multiple times, but like we mentioned before, it is a rather niche title. The story does pick up towards the end and once you get to know the characters it is easy to get caught up in their stories, but the slow pace will definitely deter some players. The multiple routes and endings adds a lot of replay value to this title, which makes up for the fact that it is not as flashy or fast paced as other visual novels. Players who can appreciate good slice of life stories and has the perseverance to stick with it through the slower parts will find a charming title with endearing characters.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: 1.7 Ghz Intel or AMD Processor
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL or DirectX Compatible Graphics Card
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 500 MB available space

Related posts

Princess Maker Refine

Princess Maker Refine

Princess Maker Refine is not as complex or feature packed as its sequel, but this also makes it a little easier to get into for newcomers. In addition, the game is priced at half the cost of Princess Maker 2, which makes it a more lucrative impulse buy for players who are curious about the genre. Guiding your adopted daughter on a path to one of many endings is surprisingly addictive and while the game can become a little repetitive, it offers plenty of replay value. There are still some rough edges that will need to be smoothed out with future updates, but overall the game has lost none of its charm. Gameplay: It looks a little complicated initially, but is easy to get into. Graphics: Sadly no animations, but the overall visuals still look nice. Sound: Features some nice tunes and full Japanese voice overs.

Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek

Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek

Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek is definitely starting to show its age in terms of visuals, but the story still remains compelling. The game is also stuffed to the gills with challenging hidden object scenes, although the puzzle scenes are nothing to write home about. The game is still a great example of the genre though, and well worth checking out before moving on to more recent entries. Just be prepared to put up with some annoyances, such as a lack of fast travel option. Gameplay: Plenty of challenging hidden object scenes although the puzzles are a little weak. Graphics: Plenty of varied and well-drawn locations to explore. Sound: The soundtrack and ambient effects are very atmospheric, but the voice acting could have been better.

A Story About My Uncle

A Story About My Uncle

A Story About My Uncle is a unique game which offers plenty of heart stopping moments, despite the fact that there is nothing to kill and no violence. Instead you traverse some beautiful locations using an energy beam style grappling hook. The game is unfortunately a little on the short side, but makes up for it with extras and bonuses that increases the longevity. The game is quite an achievement considering the small team that made it and should definitely be high on your wish list. Gameplay: The feel of grappling over yawning chasms is exhilarating. Graphics: Beautiful visuals and some breathtaking locations. Sound: The audio is great, although the voice acting sounds a bit off at times.

Critical Point

Critical Point

I was expecting more from the story and less emphasis on the sex scenes considering the writer but this was not to be. The plot is still interesting and the location unique but the focus is firmly on the females and sexual content. Fans of the genre will enjoy it but others might not appreciate the mixture of sex and violence. Gameplay: Lots of reading and a few choices here and there. Graphics: Plenty of scenes and characters. Sound: Japanese voice acting and decent enough music.

Sneaky Sneaky

Sneaky Sneaky

It’s not the longest or most challenging of titles, but Sneaky Sneaky still manages to impress with its charming visuals and entertaining gameplay. Dashing from cover to cover while silently taking down foes or avoiding them altogether is a lot of fun and the lighthearted nature of the game makes it suitable for the whole family. If you need a break from the more challenging or stressful titles you can’t go wrong with Sneaky Sneaky. Gameplay: Not much of a challenging, but very entertaining. Graphics: Bold, colorful and charming. Sound: Some soothing melodies to back up all the sneaking.

Sakura Nova

Sakura Nova

The setting and characters are all good, but nothing ever happens to really make you care about either. The game does feature a free patch to add back all the censored content, so anyone looking for a nukige title will probably enjoy Sakura Nova. Unfortunately, those looking for a memorable story or plan on playing without the patch are likely to be disappointed. Gameplay: There are choices to be made and three different endings, but the story is a bit lacking. Graphics: Like other titles in the Sakura series the visuals are beautiful, but static. Sound: Not much to say about the music, but the voice acting is pretty good.

Leave a comment

17 + nine =