A new year, and a new visual novel demo review! Plus this time it’s actually a game coming out relatively soon. From Two and a Half Studios out of Australia comes The Divine Speaker this March! What sets this game apart from the ones I’ve discussed before, is that this one is a 18+ BL, or boys love game! You play strictly as a male character romancing (and befriending) other male characters. With beautiful art, delightful characters, voice acting, and a very intriguing story, I can’t wait for the game to release!
In The Divine Speaker, literally nothing is at it seems at first glance. Everyone in Aurelia Cavella believes that their town and their people are all that exists on the planet. Here, the birth of a child brings many things, including The Judgement where The Divine Speaker determines the child’s destiny from the day that they are born until the day they die.
Unfortunately, the main character Raen was abandoned by his parents for his poor judgment, yet grew up in an orphanage loved by and loving the other children. Everything’s fine! Until Raen is kicked out of Aurellia Cavella because of (real) reasons unknown, with a death sentence, and he immediately manages to meet someone who shouldn’t even exist!
So begins the fascinating journey into this world where everything Raen, and thus the player, knows is a lie. There are people and towns outside of Aurellia Cavella. The Speaker is definitely not at all what he’s supposed to be, and Raen has his hands full with at least three love interests and a cast of incredibly distinct characters.
Leos is a literal assassin who was sent after Raen, Cyne is your quintessential rich guy who might be lying a lot, and Fawn is the wholesome animal lover. In the extended demo, which covers a lot, players also meet Illran and Veras, two men traveling together who are maybe also together and know much more than they’re letting on to Raen and the gang. Finally, players also meet Nox, who is the young heir of the influential Murano family, scared witless of something, and actually leads to one of the “bad” endings within the demo. Whatever he’s scared of is bad news y’all.
Of course, you’ll also meet the Divine Speaker himself, who might be a murderer — unclear! Nevermind the whole controls everyone’s fate deal. Plus how old is he anyway and how do I get his skincare routine?
Visual novels thrive only when their stories are compelling, and I was hooked from the start. There are so many unanswered questions from the start that you can’t help but get sucked into Raen’s world. When I wasn’t murmuring to myself that he knew nothing, Raen Snow, I was getting shocked by the twists and turns that the demo took.
Each additional character is intriguing on their own, separate from whether they’re a love interest or a secondary character meant to provide the player and Raen more information. Unlike some visual novels where love interests and other characters might already all know one another, here most everyone is simultaneously learning about each other and their towns as Raen does.
This set up allows for a hilarious level of banter between Raen’s love interests and continued interaction beyond the point at which the player must pick which romance route to follow, including the mini-routes with two side couples!
Plus, there are so many questions at the end of the demo. What secrets has the Speaker kept all these years? Who are Raen’s parents? Will the side couples have a happy ending? What about Nox and the truly terrifying issue he’s dealing with? Will Raen return to Aurellia Cavella to tell everyone the truth about the great outside?
Fortunately, the game has a dictionary setting so as you meet new people, visit new places, and learn new terms, the game logs all this information for you so that you can keep track of it all. I really enjoyed the demo for The Divine Speaker and am really excited to see how the full story plays out. If you like adventure and fantasy visual novels, this is definitely a game for you!
You can play the extended demo on Itch.io and on Steam now before it releases in March!
Images courtesy of Two and a Half Studios
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