Operation Backlog Completion 2024
May 182022

Today’s topic of celebration is a supernatural mystery visual novel called Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish.

Magical Eyes primarily follows a teenage boy named Yuu who is a member of the Disobeyers, an organization that uses special powers to fight supernatural foes called Variants.

A mysterious case involving a man attacked by a doll puts Yuu on the trail of the doll and the numerous strange incidents linked to it, which soon becomes a much bigger case than he and his allies expected.

While Yuu is the main protagonist, other parts of the story are told from different points of view, some of which relate to the case while others follow Yuu’s classmate Chiharu in more of a slice-of-life story.

The game makes use of a map screen from which you choose each scene. Sometimes the next story scene is the only option available, but occasionally optional side stories are available for you to select first if you want. It makes use of this map a little too much, since most of the time there’s nothing to do aside from click the next story scene, but I liked having optional scenes included.

Magical Eyes also features something called Reasoning Mode, which comes into play after key scenes. However, this really is just a quiz about what you just learned. It asks you a few basic questions about the case, which you have to answer. Answering all the questions correctly unlocks additional scenarios to read.

Now, sometimes all of the answers sounded correct, and I’m not sure if it would have counted any of them or if I was just lucky enough to pick the one that was the most right. So while I like the idea of getting your thoughts in order by reviewing the key information you were given, it could be improved.

These gameplay elements are minor details, though, because the most important thing is the story. It’s an intriguing mystery that doesn’t focus on “Who?” so much as “What’s going on?” and “How deep does this go?”

It can be fairly dark, but it also has a good dose of humor to lighten things up (such as a running gag about how the restaurant owner, who is one of Yuu’s allies, cooks so badly that his food is potentially lethal).

The story is exciting, and as it neared the end, I started to hope it had a sequel. It’s a great story with interesting characters, and I wanted to see more. They’ve also built this whole universe of Disobeyers and Variants, so I was surprised that the story focused on a single case instead of multiple ones.

Sure enough, it began to hint at a couple loose ends that might tie into a larger mystery, even though the main case was resolved. One thing that puzzled me while playing was that the game began with a lengthy Chapter 0 and then I was in Chapter 1 for the entire rest of the visual novel, but it finally stated outright that Chapter 2 would be the sequel, Magical Eyes – Indigo Blue Heaven.

Unfortunately, when I looked up Indigo Blue Heaven, I found a deleted VNDB page, as the project is presumed dead since the studio hasn’t posted anything since 2017.

I suppose the one glimmer of hope is that the Magical Eyes site from both the Japanese developer and English publisher still list Indigo Blue Heaven as “in development,” but it might just be that it was never updated. All the same, I hope this visual novel will resurface someday!

In the meantime, Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish is a great mystery visual novel on its own. If you want to read about a dark, supernatural case, I found it to be quite a good one, and the central story is resolved even without its vanished sequel.

And don’t forget, May is Mystery Game Madness month, so you have a chance to win games and other great prizes by participating in this year’s contest!

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  2 Responses to “May Mystery Game Madness: Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish Review”

  1. It really is a shame when a game has a planned sequel that never gets made… (still feeling sad about Tales of Luminaria, in case that wasn’t clear!)

    • Yeah, it’s always disappointing. At least in this case, the central mystery was resolved in the existing game, so it’s only a few additional elements hinted at that are left as loose ends.

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