Dry Drowning advanced review
Developer: Studio V
Publisher: VLG Publishing
Release Date: 2nd August 2019
Dry Drowning; a visual novel
We played an advanced preview of Dry Drowning thanks to our pals over at Renaissance PR and whilst it is hard to fully convey our thoughts on the dev preview and not a fully polished product. In all cases, our experience is very positive!
Dry Drowning is a narrative-driven investigative visual novel, set in the year 2066 in Nova Polemos. Dry Drowning’s antagonist is the disgraced and disgruntled private detective, Modred Foley. With a shadowy past, his ethics and business under the microscope, Foley is working to clear his name and solve crimes.
Dry Drowning and Myths
In chapter one, Foley is hired to investigate the murder of a woman who hasn’t just murdered, but her body staged and left in a local park. The visuals concerning the women and how she is arranged felt reminiscent of the murders in the NBC Hannibal show. This isn’t just a murder;This killer is telling a story. In case you were wondering how to get me super invested in your game/ show/ comic it’s serial killers with delusions of grandeur!
Something else I found particularly interesting was the use of myths, especially the Greek myth of Apollo and Daphe. The body is arranged to symbolize Daphne being turned into a tree, after being shot with an arrow by cupid and being relentlessly pursued by Apollo. (If you want to know more about the myth of Apollo and Daphe check it out here.)
Complex and Engaging
At no point does Dry Drowning hold your hand, the puzzles and riddles are difficult and well thought out. I enjoyed collecting clues and interviewing different subjects. There are many strands of narrative all interweaving through even just chapter one of Dry Drowning, and the writers have certainly created an engaging and complex narrative.
Dry Drowning’s multi-branching story is made up of 150 different threads, so each decision must be made carefully and with due consideration! At key points we will be made to make a choice between two options, each come with their success but also their failures. Dry Drowning will challenge you to sometimes make hard choices. It is refreshing for the choices you make to actually alter and impact the game in which you are playing.
The choices you make will not only impact the current case but also how the other characters interact with you and in some instances, it could mean the difference between life and death.
Dry Drowning looks fantastic, so much care and attention has gone into the creation of the characters and the environment in which the story takes place. Nova Polemos is a wonderful mix of Western and Eastern visual arts all with a strong dystopian/neon vibe. The visuals and the sound design all work in tandem with the narrative to ramp up the feeling of unease and further the mystery and intrigue.
Coming to PC and Xbox
My experience with Dry Drowning was incredibly positive. I had not played a game of this kind before but will look forward to playing more of in the future. In addition, something I particularly like is, this is an adventure that asks for brains, not brawn. I did not need to be concerned about my reaction speeds, just flexing my brain to work out the clues!
Dry Drowning could be the title that gets people to seriously pay attention to visual novels. It is time for more emphasis on twisting turning narratives instead of loot boxes and pay to win games. I am ready for the creepy horror tales this kind of game is perfect to showcase. Dry Drowning might be about to kick off something massive.
Dry Drowning is available on PC from August 2019 and will come to Xbox in 2020. In the meantime, check out the launch trailer below: