At the beginning of November, Eldet’s development blog released an updated version of Eldet’s demo, two years after the initial one that was launched for the project’s Kickstarter. This update brought quite a lot of neat changes, which I will talk about in a little while.
Eldet is a medieval fantasy, LGBT+ visual novel by Marccus Ehren, in which you play as Kunal, a young man who, after years of studying magic and yet not having awakened any magical ability, decides to work with a mysterious duo of “tomb raiders” who require a mage for their explorations. Along the way, Kunal meets a variety of characters, some of which he can befriend or romance.
Eldet’s player character. A man in his early-20′s from a family of famous mages who studied magic for 16 years, yet was never able to actually use magic. Kunal’s personality will be shaped by your choices throughout the game.
Since demo V2, you can customize Kunal’s hair, body, and pronouns, which impact every CG or sprite he/they appear in.
Tariq is the man who offered Kunal to work as a mage for his tomb explorations. He is a cunning, cultivated man who has worked for years with his sister into this whole tomb raiding business. Tariq appears friendly and welcoming at first, but he seems to be hiding something, and will act cold should Kunal press the issue.
A gigantic Elven mercenary hired to keep the group safe during their journey. He never says a word throughout the demo (all of his lines are “…”), yet seems quick to concern himself over Kunal’s well-being. He’s kind of like a big, pointy-eared teddy bear.
A close friend of Kunal’s and studies in the same college as him. She expresses deep concern over Kunal’s safety in his imminent journey, yet still respects his decision, lends him her mage stone, and helps him teleport to southern Andalusia so he meets Tariq.
Tariq’s sister and just as well-versed in exploring tombs as he is. Unlike him, she’s blunt and straight-to-the-point, and doesn’t seem very enchanted by Kunal’s recent recruitment. Kahina seems to have her own secrets and motivations, separate from her brothers’.
We don’t know much about Akwasi, aside from the fact that he’s Tariq’s brother and that Tariq hates his guts. He seems intrigued by Kunal, and apparently carries a mage stone like him– despite not being a mage himself.
Writing and characterization
As you can see, Eldet features quite a diverse cast, and that’s just the beginning. Not only there will be characters from various races and ethnicities but Kunal will be able to meet and possibly romance nonbinary characters as well.
Now, one major complaint I hear about inclusive games is how some creators seem to content themselves with making their cast diverse, but yet forget to work towards making the plot actually intriguing and making said characters grow throughout the story. While I can’t say much from a demo about the latter, I was pleasantly surprised by how colorful, and yet three-dimensional each introduced character in the Eldet demo was.
Perhaps the most interesting character in this demo is Tariq, who display two dramatically different sides of himself You just can’t figure the man out with just one set of choices, and I found myself going back to previous saves to see how he would respond to Kunal’s different dialogue choices. Tariq blows hot and cold with Kunal, warmly welcoming him into his group one moment and in the next leaving him to face an incoming scary situation, confusing him greatly.
Faaron, on the other hand, is quite fun to interact with. He doesn’t say anything, and he doesn’t seem fluent in Kunal and Tariq’ language, which leads to some awkward, yet amusing interactions. Yet you can say his various actions and attempts at helping Kunal speak for him and hint at a “gentle giant” personality.
With that said, I’d like to point out how gorgeous Eldet’s backgrounds are, some of which are animated:
The animations look simple, but they further add to the immersion
into Eldet’s universe. A nice bonus to already gorgeous hand-drawn
That, plus everything I said earlier, plus the
zillion different sprites each character has depending on the scene and
clothes they wear, plus the fact that Marccus has been working on Eldeton his own
since the beginning –writing, illustrating and composing each
soundtrack– shows just how much work and love was poured into this
That level of dedication is quite humbling, but at the same time, a little terrifying.
I’m not going to lie, this is the most beautiful VN I’ve played all year, and this is only the demo. Eldet not only aims to be inclusive but also feature a variety of complex, charismatic characters and an engaging story with a solid prose that is a pleasure to read. We haven’t met half of the cast but all the introduced characters were interesting in their own ways, and I look forward to reading Kunal’s exciting people-meeting and tomb-raiding adventures.
On top of the gargantuan workload
that illustrating and programming the game implies, my major concern for
the full game will be the writing, which I hope, will stay consistent.
I’m weak for good writing, more than good art.
If you haven’t
backed Eldet’s Kickstarter, you can still support Marccus on Patreon if
you like. The available reward tiers are much cheaper than they should
be, but even $1 would be appreciated.
And that closes this review. Thanks for reading! :D