I’ve played a fair number of visual novels, which this site is no stranger to covering. However, this is my first time reviewing a visual novel, specifically Camp Palut by Bearly Arts, a short, cute little experience about a summer camp full of young women.
You’ll be playing as Jess, a newcomer to the camp, on her first time out of the big city. Along the way she’ll make friends, find love, and deal with a mystery of some sort.
What is this mystery? I don’t know. The demo follows in a similar path to the demo for The Sundew, in that while you’ll get hints that there’s more to the game than just being a slice of life experience, the actual details of the narrative aren’t revealed in the slightest. Given that the demo covers three days (more or less) without more than barest hint of foreshadowing, I’m guessing that the final game will be a bit of a slow burn.
Quite honestly, I’m entirely happy with that! Camp Palut’s writing is solid, the art is lovely, and the characters are fantastic. This is the rare romantic Visual Novel where I find myself wanting to woo the supporting cast as much as the actual love interests. Everyone’s great, even though we only get to see them a little bit.
These are your love interests for the demo (the itch.io description says there’s four, but the demo only reveals these three), your cabin mates. Going from left to right they are Cassie, Nat, and Amy. Cassie’s the more intellectual and easily spooked one, with a love of photography. Nat’s the more adventurous one, determined to find definitive proof of Bigfoot this year. And Amy’s the confident and sporty one, as well as the most flirty.
Each day after the first breaks down into four segments. In the morning and afternoon you’ll have a choice of three activities-archery, swimming, and hiking, while in between those you’ll have a scene at lunch, interacting with more characters, and at night there’ll be another group activity, where you can pick a single love interest to spend the time with. The love interests rotate between the three activities, so if you do a few replays you’ll be able to do all three activities with all three characters.
It’s a short demo, particularly if you use the skip function when replaying to see the other scenes, but well worth your time.
Another thing that I’d like to praise Camp Palut for is the diversity of the main cast. There’s a solid number of non-white girls among the cast, though admittedly all of them are rather light skinned.
Still, this is the first time I’ve ever played a romance visual novel that featured a character with a hijab! And she’s a complete character too, not a stereotype. And even if she’s not a love interest, it’s still nice to see given how white-centric WLW content can be on the internet even in the supporting casts.
All in all I very much enjoyed my time with Camp Palut, to the extent that I’m genuinely sad I missed the Kickstarter. I can honestly say that I can’t wait for the full release, and I eagerly await it. If you’re looking for a cute little WLW visual novel, I highly recommend getting this demo! You won’t regret it.
Images Courtesy of Bearly Arts
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