Operation Backlog Completion 2024
May 102021

While I was reviewing romance visual novels during this year’s romance month, one highly recommended to me was Nightshade, an otome available on Steam and the Nintendo Switch.

So when it went on sale, I got it!

(I played it on the Switch because I like reading visual novels handheld.)

Nightshade is set during the Sengoku Period and follows Enju, a young ninja-in-training who is set out on her first mission. It should be a simple enough assignment… but then everything goes terribly wrong and Enju finds herself in great danger.

Of course, she’s not on her own – depending on the choices you’ve made up until that point, one of the men in the story will help her out as they start to fall in love.

The setting and plot premise had me hooked from the start, although I ultimately found the story to be a little disappointing. It’s one of those stories where past events and answers to the mystery change depending on whose route you’re on, which isn’t my favorite thing. I prefer to have a cohesive set of events, where your choices only change what happens next.

However, the romance routes themselves more than made up for it!

There are five different romance options in the game, each with a good ending and a bad ending. Whenever you make a choice, it indicates right away if you earned affection points with a particular love interest, so you don’t have to question if you’re on the right path or not.

I loved four out of the five routes in Nightshade. I really liked the characters themselves, their individual stories were exciting and filled with twists and turns even if they didn’t form a cohesive whole, and the romances were good. Including the, ahem, darker one.

The only route I didn’t like had two major points against it: he’s her first cousin, and they’re barely together in the route. I did enjoy his route at first (while ignoring the whole “blood relative” part) until I played the others and realized how bland it felt in comparison due to his lack of involvement.

Unlike some of the visual novels I’ve covered, I wouldn’t recommend this one if you’re only interested in the plot and don’t care about the romance, because the romances are what make Nightshade great! A love for ninja stories might be enough to catch your interest too, though.

It’s the sort of visual novel that makes me hope for a fandisc just to see more of the characters and their time with Enju… but for now, it seems I’ll be left waiting.

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