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

Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey

Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey

Its addictive gameplay, charming visuals and catchy soundtrack ensures that Letter Quest is an entertaining and relaxing title. It has plenty of challenges to keep you busy and while there is a bit of grind involved the RPG elements keeps things interesting. If you are looking for a game to pass some time without worrying too much about a story then Letter Quest is a great option. Gameplay: Polished, addictive and packed to the brim with content. Graphics: Nice visuals, but the animations are very limited. Sound: The soundtrack is quite nice, but could have benefited from a few more tunes.

>observer_

>observer_

Observer is a slow-paced, cyberpunk themed thriller from the same developers that brought us Layers of Fear. Despite the change of setting, Observer shares a lot of similarities with LOF, especially during the surreal hacking sequences where you invade the thoughts of other people and experience their worst fears. The incredibly detailed visuals and gripping environments make Observer a game that is hard to put down, but the slower pace and lack of control beyond observing your surroundings and scanning things might deter the action crowd. Overall, it is a title that all fans of the cyberpunk genre will enjoy and it offers an enthralling experience despite some technical issues. Gameplay: There is little to do apart from exploring your surroundings and scanning things for clues, but the game remains engrossing nonetheless. Graphics: The abundance of post-processing effects might be a bit much for some players, but there is no faulting the highly detailed visuals. Sound: The soundtrack is just as tense as you’d expect from a title like this and it is great to hear Rutger Hauer lending his vocals to the lead character.

Ubinota

Ubinota

Ubinota is a game that appears to be deceptively easy at first, but it definitely delivers a challenging experience as you progress. Levels not only come in all shapes and sizes, but thanks to the different paint colors, all with their own unique properties, the game never becomes repetitive. Anyone looking for a unique puzzle experience should definitely add Ubinota to their collection. Gameplay: Very addictive and very challenging. Graphics: Simple, but very colorful. Sound: Very relaxing.

Horizon

Horizon

If you are new to the genre Horizon can look pretty complicated at first glance. This is one of those titles where playing the tutorial and checking out the manual is not optional, but essential if you want to get the most out of the game. It doesn't quite reach the heights of genre classics, but there is a lot to like and it remains addictive throughout. Gameplay: Appears daunting at first, but becomes more intuitive with extended play. Graphics: There are some nice visual elements mixed in with all the stats and charts. Sound: Atmospheric enough to suit the theme of the game.

Deadpool

Deadpool

Fans of Deadpool will have a blast with this game but the humour should appeal to newcomers as well. High Moon Studios have captured the character perfectly although the gameplay can feel a bit clunky at times. While not without its flaws I had a blast playing this game and can recommend it to all fans of the merc with a mouth. Gameplay: Packed with action and humour. Graphics: Not the best I've seen but it does the license justice. Sound: Superb voice acting by Nolan North coupled with a rocking soundtrack.

Ghost 1.0

Ghost 1.0

Play as a digital ghost with the ability to control androids in this great Metroidvania title from the maker of Unepic. The game challenges you to infiltrate the Nakamura Space Station and uncover its secrets, a quest that will take you through almost 300 rooms. Ghost 1.0 features tight controls, engaging writing, likeable characters and plenty of action, which makes it very easy to recommend to fans of the genre. Gameplay: Quite challenging at times, but very addictive. Graphics: Detailed visuals and some very nice design elements. Sound: The soundtrack is great, but the voice-acting steals the show.

Leave a comment

twelve − 5 =