Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 9

With its Steampunk setting, great characters and intriguing storyline it is easy to get sucked into this visual novel. However, it is not perfect as the pacing slows down considerably in later chapters and too many superfluous characters with little impact on the story keep getting introduced. Stick with it though and you’ll find a great visual novel with characters that are truly memorable.

Gameplay: Some chapters drag their feet, but the overall story is quite captivating.

Graphics: Great visuals, but the relatively low resolution is disappointing.

Sound: Full Japanese voice acting, great sound effects and very nice music, but some tracks repeat too often

Summary 8.3 Outstanding
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

Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning

Developer: Liarsoft | Publisher: MangaGamer | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Adventure / Visual Novel | Website: Official Website | Purchase: MangaGamer

Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning takes place in 1908, but in an alternate Steampunk world. Steam-powered engines are the driving force behind everything and as a consequence the skies are permanently grey while the seas are stained black. There is one place where the pollution appears to be a little less and it is called the Marseille Offshore Academia. This artificial island is the location of a school for one hundred thousands students and the city that houses them. It is also the place where a man named Nikola Tesla shows up one day and announces that he will save every single one of the students with his own two hands.

With its unique setting and intriguing storyline Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning (Gahkthun from now on) manages to capture the attention right away. Sharing the limelight with Tesla is a first year student in the Academia’s Engine Physics department named Neon Scalar Smilja. Initially Neon has a tough time at school due to her status as a “second class student”, but the arrival of Tesla shakes things up considerably. Not only does he declare war on the members of the governing council who rule the school, but also starts the “Speculative Detective Club” and immediately recruits Neon as his assistant. What follows is a host of chapters about the mysterious cases the two tackles as well as an overarching story about the mysterious Bell of Gahkthun.

Gahkthun is quite a lengthy visual novel, but after the nail-biting opening chapters the story slows down considerably. Some of the chapters feature lighthearted elements, such as a visit to an artificial seaside, while others are a bit more sinister. There are even weird things like a ghostly killer clown stalking the city and a student accidently constructing a gate to hell for Tesla to deal with. Some of the chapters feel a bit unnecessary, especially the ones featuring minor characters that are barely mentioned again afterwards, but overall it is a story worth seeing through to the end.

While Gahkthun can become very wordy and repetitive at times, the great characters and humor saves it from becoming boring. With his lightning powers, mechanized gear and mysterious past Tesla definitely steals the show, but Neon is a surprisingly in-depth character as well. She doesn’t have any obvious powers like the supernatural “Arts” practiced by most of the other characters, but always provides an interesting viewpoint on the events taking place. The game does waste a lot of time describing her making dinner or doing mundane tasks, but she does become embroiled in plenty of more harrowing situations as well.

Gahkthun is pretty much a kinetic novel as players don’t have any real influence on the story, but there are a couple of “Exercises for the Reader” each chapter. These scenes ask players to make a choice after being provides with a bit of background information. Make the right choice and you get to view a couple of extra scenes at the conclusion of the chapter. These are not vital to the story, but some of them are pretty cool. However, make too many wrong choices and you not only miss out on these scenes, but the game will also end. If this sounds like too much effort you can simple let the game decide and carry on with the main story without any risks, but doing so also means that you miss out on the extra scenes.

The visuals of Gahkthun is a mixture of good and bad. On the good side you have great character designs, varied locations and an overall great art style. There are lots of CGs for key moments and even a couple of animations thrown into the mix. On the bad side you have the fact that the game is limited to a resolution of 1024×768. The interface is also less than optimal as everything is clustered together in the corner of the screen. The music in the game is very nice and most of the tracks are a great match for the visuals, but with only 18 songs and the length of the game some of them do become repetitive after a few hours. The sound effects are excellent though and the game features an abundance of them which really brings the story to life. Finally, all of the characters are fully voiced in Japanese, which is always welcome.

Because of its unique Steampunk setting the game uses lots of terms that can be a little confusing, but thankfully it includes a built-in encyclopedia that can be consulted at any time. The encyclopedia contains detailed entries on the academy, its rules, districts, organization, technology and even rumors, which makes it an invaluable resource. It is also worth mentioning that Gahkthun is an adult title and features a couple of h-scenes and nudity. These are relatively mild, but actually feel like they fit in with the overall story instead of just being shoehorned in for the sake of titillation.

The steampunk setting and use of real historic figures in unusual roles definitely makes Gahkthun a memorable experience. Unfortunately, the slower pacing and tendency to dwell on seemingly unnecessary characters can cause less patient players to lose interest. Personally we would have liked to see more time spent on fleshing out the close friends of Neon, like Izumi, instead of repeated paragraphs describing the Sky Garden for the umpteenth time. Thankfully the mysteries Tesla solves each chapter are quite interesting and the less captivating jobs of the Speculative Detective Club, such as finding lost pets, are only mentioned in passing. The action scenes, where Tesla squares off against members of the Governing Council are exciting, but also suffer from repetition and a lack of tension as the protagonist is all but invincible.

There is no denying that Gahkthun takes a bit more patience than most other visual novels to get through, but as a whole we loved the story. It’s not the best we’ve read and some of it could definitely have been left on the cutting room floor, but the antics of Tesla and Neon kept us hooked to the end. The Offshore Academia setting had us worried that this would turn out to be just another typical high school visual novel, but the story mostly takes place outside the classrooms and in the fascinating city. We enjoyed our time with Gahkthun, even if some sections were a slog, but try out the lengthy demo that is available from the official site and make up your own mind.

System Requirements

  • Processor: Pentium III 1Ghz
  • Memory: 256 MB or more
  • Graphics: 1024 x 768 / 32bit Color
  • Hard Drive: 4.4 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectSound PCM Compatible

Related posts

SPINTIRES™

SPINTIRES™

Spintires doesn't offer a compelling story or over the top action, but if you can appreciate a challenging game with a slower pace you will have fun. Navigating muddy terrain using enormous trucks is certainly an unique experience and while there is only one objective the true joy comes simply from playing with big trucks in the realistic mud. Gameplay: Slow paced and intense, but very enjoyable and satisfying. Graphics: Large maps and very detailed vehicles. Sound: Very peaceful.

Heroes of Loot

Heroes of Loot

Heroes of Loot is a great title for when you need a quick action fix and don’t want to get bogged down with small details like inventory management or stat allocation. You simply race through dungeon floors, killing everything in sight and grabbing whatever loot you can find. It doesn’t have a lot of depth, but since dungeons are randomly generated and increase in difficulty the more you play the replay value is quite high. It is also very reasonably priced, which means there is no excuse for not giving it a shot. Gameplay: The focus is very much on action and there isn’t much that gets in the way of that. Graphics: Some lovely pixel art visuals with nice enemy designs. Sound: Decent, but the sound effects are a little underwhelming.

Stonekeep

Stonekeep

It was a very long wait for gamers back when Stonekeep was first announced until it was released, but it was also worth it. The game is fun to play, although some role playing purists might bemoan the lack of character customization. Stonekeep features a long quest, with plenty of great characters, but is hampered somewhat by slightly tedious combat and endless corridors that look the same. If you don’t mind the slow pace and the fact that the visuals are definitely showing their age, then you will have a lot of fun with Stonekeep. Gameplay: A fun dungeon crawler with a better than average storyline. Graphics: Obviously dated now, but back in its time the enemies and special effects were brilliant. Sound: The voice acting is surprisingly good and the music is nice and atmospheric.

Pixel Puzzles: UndeadZ

Pixel Puzzles: UndeadZ

After the calm experience that was Pixel Puzzles: Japan, I was quite surprised by what Pixel Puzzles: UndeadZ had in store for me. The inclusion of zombies that you have to shoot while solving jigsaw puzzles adds a whole new dimension to the game and ensures that there is never a dull moment. Fans of traditional jigsaw puzzles might not agree, but personally we loved the new action oriented elements of the game. Gameplay: The first ever combination of peaceful jigsaw puzzles, and top down shooter gameplay. Graphics: Gruesome zombie themed hand-drawn artwork. Sound: Moody tunes and disturbing sound effects.

Go! Go! Nippon! 2015

Go! Go! Nippon! 2015

Fans of the original game will love the new locations, enhanced visuals and expanded story of Go! Go! Nippon! 2015, but newcomers are also in for a treat. The game is packed with information and offers a unique way to experience Japanese culture and tourist attractions without hopping on a plane. The lack of voice acting is a letdown, but overall this expansion lives up to expectations. Gameplay: Lots of information about Japan and a lighthearted love story as well. Graphics: The new animations are great and the widescreen visuals are a step up from the original game. Sound: Still no voice acting, but the audio is very upbeat and fitting.

Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!!

Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!!

Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!! has a lot to offer fans of the genre with its large roster of unique characters, interesting Arcanas and fast paced fighting. The character designs are great and it is only the pixalated sprites that let down the visuals somewhat. The fighting offers a lot of depth, but even novices can have fun by switching to Simple mode. For a great 2D fighter that is unlike anything else available on PC give Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!! a shot. Gameplay: Fast, frantic and once you have mastered the moves, a lot of fun. Graphics: Sprite are a little low-res and the 4:3 resolution makes things feel a bit cramped, but overall quite good. Sound: Full Japanese voice acting and some nice albeit unremarkable background music.

Leave a comment

3 × 5 =