fault – milestone one Switch Review: A Cute, Funny and Thought Provocing Visual Novel


The kingdom of Rughzenhaide has been invaded, as a last resort Ritona, the loyal protector of princess Selphine, teleports them both to safety. But in her rushed effort to save the princess, they accidentally teleport to an unknown land with the teleportation being a one way gig. Now fault – milestone; the story of their great adventure home begins.

Fighting shadows must be hard.

Originally released in 2013 and kickstarted in 2014 for translation and improvements; fault – milestone one has hit the Switch. Developed by Alice in Dissonance effectively by two people, fault – milestone is a doujin game, effectively a fan game or hobbyist game. Don’t let this discourage you though, after all Cave Story is also a doujin game.

Deep.

fault – milestone is meant to be an East meets West affair with a beautiful Eastern artstyle and Western story. The story however is extremely anime, the only part I found Western was the whole accidentally ending up in an unknown land oojamaflip. This didn’t stop me being utterly gripped by the story, not wanting to put the game down because the world of fault – milestone and its history are simply fascinating.

I see, I see, tell me more.

Mana is as in other games; magic energy flows through the world, highly concentrated near four ‘poles’ allowing the use of mana to build amazing civilisations with rapid social and technological advances. On the other side of the world are the Outer Poles where so little mana flows that people cannot use it themselves and have to rely on other means.

You soon meet a strange girl happy to show you around in exchange for stories of distant lands before getting caught up with a mystery to solve there; but you also have to get back to the Inner Ring on the other side of the planet within a few days or face never being able to return at all. 

Relgion… I am right?

Selphine and Ritona have to adapt to being thrown from a culture where money and society based on physical power are past relics, to one more similar to where we live today. They learn about strange happenings a few years ago that resulted in cutting ties between continents (Outer Pole and Second Sector).

Much of the plot in fault – milestone one revolves around the moral dilemma of the ‘rights’ of people and the matter of ‘self’, it’s a lot more complex than that but I would ruin the twists and turns of this great story otherwise.

At least she seems happy.

Even though fault is more linear than your ‘straight’ friend who overcompensates by never shutting up about who they want to ‘tap’; the lore of this mana fueled world is intricate and intriguing, that I’m left desperate to learn more. All there is here is story, there’s no other gameplay to shake things up, no choices as such just a very interesting story, it really holds true to the visual novel name.

The only choice in the whole game let’s you see one different line of text depending on your answer; choose wisely.

I know the last thing most people want to do is read the game’s encyclopedia before starting but in this case it gives you a much better starting view of fault’s world. Even with this head start on the world, fault still throws a lot of complex jargon out at you in the beginning but this is a positive as it explains how everything in his mana filled world works in a scientific way. Some of the language used is also quite archaic which can be seen as adding to the immersion of the time in which fault – milestone is set, or as unnecessary.

With constant jumps between past and present, sometimes it’s hard to tell which time frame conversations are set in, especially when you just load the game and need to remember what’s going on in the first place.

Nintendo had to recall Mario Party 8 because someone called Luigi a spaz.

There’s no looking over the text backlog if you accidentally click past a section which is quite the omission for a visual novel but instead it’s replaced by a handy rewind feature.

The character art is absolutely fantastic with beautiful detail, varied costume and character design and few facial expressions for each character all place as static images in a 3D space you can juggle with the right analogue stick, reminding me of the awesome looking Guilty Gear Xrd in visual novel form. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the backgrounds, while they are passable there just isn’t enough of them as sometimes they’ll just be a black background or the same background being used to depict vastly different areas of a town. This really showcases its budget, hobbyist roots.

Didn’t we see this background earlier? Just in daylight.

There’s quite a few music tracks but a few times it just stopped and I found myself reading in complete silence, coupled together with zero voice acting, no sound effects and static graphics all taking away from the immersion of the well written, complex world full of political and moral struggles.

All I can say about fault – milestone one is “give me MOAR!” but also it’s nowhere near perfect. I loved the game and was completely hooked but I love me a good story and the characters were likeable and cute with a great artstyle. As much as I don’t like episodic games, the twist at the end of milestone one is going to be on my mind until I find out what the hell is going on when milestone two releases and damn I can’t wait, so much so milestone two is absolutely a day one purchase for me. On the other hand everything screams budget, it’s a short game (6 or so hours long) being made in multiple episodes where all the episodes together may end up costing more than a AAA game. On the other foot this is probably the best visual novel I’ve read that is just A-B reading with no input from the player (usually I get bored unless I have choices to make or varied gameplay a la Danganronpa et al) and I just can’t wait for milestone two to release on Switch. The developers, Alice in Dissonance have made visual novel crack, if you’re a fan of the genre be careful because you’ll be addicted too once you reach the conclusion of fault – milestone one.

fault – milestone one is available now digitally on the Nintendo eShop for £13.49/$14.99/€14.99. A huge thank you to Alice in Dissonance and Sekai Project for providing the review code.

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