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

NEKO-NIN exHeart

NEKO-NIN exHeart

Join Haruki, the protagonist of NEKO-NIN exHeart, as he suddenly finds himself with two catgirls on his doorstep claiming that he is their new master. Haruki is understandably dubious about the whole situation and not entirely keen to accept responsibility for the two ninjas, but eventually warm up to their cuteness. This visual novel is a lighthearted affair with beautiful artwork, but the story isn’t’ exactly memorable and it is all over without much really happening along the way. Fans of cat girls will definitely enjoy it, but everyone else should probably try the free demo first. Gameplay: Only two choices in the entire game and not much in the way of character development, but still enjoyable. Graphics: The artwork is beautiful and the moving cat ears are as adorable as advertised. Sound: Nice Japanese voice acting for all the girls, but the music isn’t exactly memorable.

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus

Senran Kagura Estival Versus offers an impressive amount of fanservice mixed up with some solid hack and slash combat. The game does have its fair share of questionable elements, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on content. There is a meaty story mode to complete, along with plenty of side missions, while the money you earn can be spent on clothing and accessories for the girls. Like most hack and slash games it can get a little repetitive, but despite the large cast none of the girls feel alike in personality or fighting style. If you are a fan of the series or enjoy fighting games, this comes highly recommended, as long as you realize you are going to get bombarded by fanservice around every turn. Gameplay: Features plenty of content and a learning curve that eases you into the various combos and attacks you can pull off. Graphics: Looks great on PC and the detail as well as animations are impressive. Sound: Full Japanese voice acting for all the girls and a funky soundtrack that complements the action nicely.

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

Alan Wake's American Nightmare

American Nightmare offers more action and less atmosphere than the original game, but it is still a compelling addition to the series. With only three locations to explore it lacks the depth of the first game, but the story is still very interesting. It is important to remember that this is not a sequel, but a bite sized addition to the Alan Wake saga. Gameplay: A more action oriented approach than the original game. Graphics: Good but the wide open areas makes it less creepy. Sound: Overall good, but some of the voice acting could have been better.

Eye Of The Beholder

Eye Of The Beholder

As far as classic DOS era First Person Role Playing Games go you can do a lot worse than this AD&D effort. It doesn't hold your hand and isn't afraid to put up a stiff challenge, but overall it aged well and still offers hours of enjoyment. Gameplay: Challenging but also entertaining and addictive. Graphics: All things considered, not bad. Sound: Very limited music and feeble sound effects.

Jets’n’Guns Gold

Jets'n'Guns Gold

Despite not being a new release Jets'n'Guns Gold is still able to go toe to toe with newer titles. The action is relentless and the sheer amount of enemies and levels is quite amazing considering the low price tag. This is not an easy game, but persevere and it will have you hooked for hours. Gameplay: Old school side scrolling shooter done right. Graphics: Colourful and chaotic. Sound: Energetic soundtrack with plenty of sound effects to back up the action.

Darkarta: A Broken Heart’s Quest Collector’s Edition

Darkarta: A Broken Heart's Quest Collector's Edition

Darkarta: A Broken Heart's Quest is the story of a mother who has to brave the Netheworld and rescue her daughter from an age old curse. It is definitely an intriguing story and the game also features tons of hidden object scenes as well as mini-games to keep players hooked. Thanks to the beautiful art style and atmospheric music, it is easy to get sucked into the gameworld, and a lot of effort clearly went into polishing the game to perfection. Darkarta has already won numerous awards and after completing it, it is obvious that all of them were deserved. If you are a fan of the genre, then this is a title that should not be missed. Gameplay: A lengthy adventure with plenty of puzzles and mini-games to enjoy Graphics: The art style is beautiful and the game is filled with scenic locations. Sound: Decent voice acting and a the soundtrack isn't bad either.

Leave a comment

two × 4 =