Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Mar 132023
 

Back in February, developer Yangyang Mobile sent me a review code for their newest horror visual novel, Saint Maker. Now that we’re free of romance month, it’s time to take a look.

Saint Maker follows Holly, a girl who signs up for an event at a convent in order to get away from her current home situation. There she meets Gabby, who would rather be anywhere else, and Sister Adira, the strict nun in charge.

The story deals with religious fanaticism taken to extreme levels, together with some supernatural happenings. At first, it felt slow and more depressing than anything else, but once the creepy incidents around the convent took a stronger focus, the story picked up and had me invested in seeing what would happen next.

As you play, you have numerous choices to make, but most only result in minor changes. This serves a narrative purpose; for example, Holly has trouble speaking her mind, so picking that sort of option will result in her backing down because she can’t do it. Some do affect the ending, as there’s an extended ending scene if you pick certain choices, but the majority of Saint Maker feels like it’s one step away from being a kinetic novel despite the number of choices. Having so many choices with little or no effect made me wish for fewer choices instead.

There also is no narration. Internal monologue helps a bit, but not entirely. This means that scenes with action usually mean the screen shakes and you have to use the context from the dialogue to figure out what happened. Narration would have helped to make those parts flow better.

The art is fine, with CGs that have some slight movement instead of being still images, and the music works well for the story. It is fully voice acted, as well.

Getting back to the story itself, some parts were predictable, but it also had some surprises in store. While the early hours might feel like it’s against religion in general, it becomes clearer later on that its true indictment is against people who use religion as a defense while they do terrible things and faith that becomes twisted into something unrecognizable.

Once the supernatural aspects of the story come into prominence, it gets quite creepy, as well. I’m not sure if I would say it’s scary, exactly, but it’s certainly unsettling, with a growing sense of dread the more you realize things in the convent are not all right. I wish the supernatural elements had been explained in more detail, although some ambiguity serves this sort of story well.

Saint Maker is short, probably taking between 3-6 hours depending on how fast you read, but it doesn’t feel rushed. The short length fits its story, and I’m glad I had this chance to review it.

If the developer’s name sounds familiar to you, their past games include The Letter – not the survival horror game of the same name we discussed once, but a horror visual novel I’ve been meaning to get around to for quite a while. Maybe this will be the year!

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