SeaBed is a bittersweet lesbian Kinetic Visual Novel game. It was developed by: Paleontology and published by Fruitbat Factory. For those of you unfamiliar with VNs, a Kinetic VNs doesn’t have choices in it; there are no routes to take in it. It’s all pure reading while basking in the game’s auditory environment all while watching cutely characters pop up on the screen. SeaBed focuses on the intertwined stories of 3 women Sachiko, her lover Takako, & their friend Hibiki. Each chapter switches whose eyes you see the game’s world from.
The developers do some things that I don’t usually see in VNs. They toss both flashbacks & whole trips to another time into the story. That is one chapter might be today but the next chapter might be three years ago. Tied with the flashbacks it makes the game a bit discombobulating, which is good because of what the story is talking about. Also I liked that they used flashbacks, in most games & books people might talk about the past instead of actually seeing the past like a proper flashback; it was nice to see a proper one.
In many VNs I’ve played you often get character archetypes which are fine, but I prefer when they’re given more depth & this one starts you off immediately being tossed into the depth of the characters. They give the characters this depth by showing you parts of their lives at different ages so you see them grow and their personalities change to a degree like people do in real life. By doing this the characters feel more real, for a lack of a better word. I love that they made these characters individuals instead of just archetypes; it helped me relate to the characters.
There was one big issue with the game; sometimes the conversations were hard to follow because the VN didn’t have nameplates or different colored text for characters talking. Because of this, if a conversation was long, I lost track of who was saying what. For those who don’t know a nameplate is a box is on the bottom of the screen where conversations go, & it has a spot right above it that has the name for whoever’s talking at the moment. In this VN all the text is white & there’s no nameplate. Thankfully most of the conversations are short so it’s not hard to keep track of all of them but any long one is a pain.
The game might have that issue with conversations but lots of the game deals more with descriptive text & thoughts more than talking. So even though the conversation is hard to follow sometimes, the rest of the text is easy to understand. It often talks about very detailed environments, & well thought out ideas characters are having. The environmental text sets a beautiful scene however that kind of writing is dry so it might bore some people. I’ll admit I’m usually one of those types, but the way this game uses it is great. The detail helps set up the scene & talks about how the characters feel about it, which in turn makes the character feel more real, so I found I really enjoyed it.
The game deals with love & mental illness by showing it in a straightforward way, not as something fantastical like you see in games such as Hellblade. Sachiko is having hallucinations & doesn’t know why. We see the way she reacts to them and how they affect her private life, all while Hibiki, a psychologist, tries to help her. Just like in real life, the Hallucinations come & go without warning. This leaves the reader having some trouble telling what’s supposed to be real & what’s fake because of how fluidly the hallucinations fit with the Sachiko’s waking world & even more so with how well they mix in with flashbacks. But dealing with illness isn’t just from Sachiko; Takako has some sort of memory issues & is working on trying to fix them with a different psychologist in another area.
As you get further into the game, it throws you through some serious loops as reality, flashbacks, & delusion becomes hard to separate. Some parts of chapters spend a good chunk of their time switching between various views with nothing seemingly being real, but unknown as whether it’s just fragments of dreams, flashbacks, or the ravings of someone who’s completely lost their shit. These chapters become confusing and disorientating for the reader. This is done on purpose, after all the best way of seeing someone’s delusions and memories mix together and seeing how hard it is to tell what’s real, is by doing exactly that; put it all together in a big mess. There are tiny tidbits here and there about completely unrelated days, conversations, & times. This happens some in the start but happens more & more as you continue the game.
There game will also punch you right in the feels. You’ll laugh & smile a lot while playing it as there’s a lot of mild comedy and just cuteness galore, but there’s also a few parts that will likely make you sniffle or outright bawl. As stated the game is bittersweet, the entire story is great and is so amazing even right up to the very end. It makes you sad when it’s done and over.
There is a chunk of the game that’s called Tips as well; you unlock parts in it as you play the main game. When these parts are unlocked you want to save as soon as you can & quit out of the main game then go play them, they give extra small bits to the story, these are usually 5-10 minute long parts. They are based around the time they’re unlocked, and they don’t make a lot of sense until later in the game where everything starts to fall into place. However if you wait to the end to read them they’re ruined.
Some people think these kinds of games are all about sex, there’s no sex in this in case that worried you. It does however allude to the character’s having sex once or twice but nothing more. Most of the story is about emotions from being in a relationship, the complexities of thoughts and feelings people have for each other and life in general. It’s not for kids because it deals with things far beyond what a child would readily understand, but teens & adults understand the emotional ties the game deals with.
Overall, I totally suggest the game, it’s $20, & took me just shy of 30 hours to play through it. It was a great story that had twists & turns in it many of which blindsided me. It also brought up lots of emotions in me. Those two items made me think it was rather grand adventure myself. I can also admit I cried like a baby while playing this a few times. It’s only drawback, once again, is that it does a lot of environment building which has a tendency to bore people.
SeaBed was developed by: Paleontology
Point of Sale: Steam
$20.00: It shows you just how crazy love can make you.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
darkmikasonfire has awarded SeaBed The Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval