Sable’s Grimoire is an adventure visual novel dating sim. You play as the titular Sable, a human in a world that seems to be around current day maybe a little in the future, but in this world humankind has met with many mythical species, and magic has come into the world. Humans usually don’t have magic, and even the ones that do have magic don’t really compare to even children of other races. However there is a school set up that allows any species to go to it, the only requirement is that you have to be able to use magic, no matter how big or small, all that matters is you can use it. Sable has been studying to go to this school and now he’s on his fucking way. On his way there he meets another student, a young woman. His first day is just meeting a handful of people from his teacher to a number of students both in and outside of his own class. Now it’s up to him how to run his life, he even has a number of demi-human possible romantic possibilities.
There’s a number of demi-humans he can date, demi-humans are creatures that are similar but not quite human. Some examples of that are Elfs, Lamia, and Catgirls, things most of you are probably familiar with. Anyways some of the girls he can date are: Lisha, Rei, Eth, Tix, Horo, Eris, Drakan, and Jorou. Lisha is an Elf who is incredibly smart, highly magically talented, mature, but a completely stuck-up bitch. Rei is a Rokurokubi which is a japanese monster that’s just a woman with an insanely long prehensile neck, she’s always hungry and incredibly dumb, like… she’s dumb-dumb, she does excel in healing magic though. Eth a Mandrake which is commonly referred to as a type of plant that grows in the shape of person and screams when you pull any them out of the ground, she’s also really dumb and ever hungry just like Rei, they are best friends because of this. Tix a Pixie, NOT A FAIRY, who is only at school to find a man to father children with her, she’s super friendly, obviously, oh and a nudist, double oh, she’s also your roommate. Horo one of two third-year students, and a kind of teacher to you, she’s a very kind but stern Catgirl. Eris a Succubus and is also on probation due to her going after other students in the past, and she’s also your very shitty teacher, like no I don’t mean oh she teaches you some things so you call her that, no, no, no, I mean she stands in front of the class and lectures, she’s a teacher with a capital fucking T. And I saved the est two for last. Drakan, the best girl and really the only girl you should care about at all, a Half-Dragon who is very fiery and passionate, kinda dumb but incredibly strong, both physically and magically, and constantly looking for a friend because everyone is scared of her being a dragon. The last girl Jorou is the second best girl, she’s some sort of spider type girl (fucking why devs? WHY? I hate spiders wtf man?), she’s super chill, she’s always in the library, a total bookworm, she digitizes the books and eats them, yeah you read that right she eats the books, why? I have no fucking clue. She’s experienced some shit, but she’s super nice, though not always helpful but she tries to be, she’s the second third-year student.
This game is sizable, it took me around twenty-five or so hours to finish the first route which was purely to romance the most important character, Drakan because she is best girl. She’s also outright why I went for the game in the first place, because Dragongirls are rare in games, anime, etc, especially so in dating games like this. There are offshoots to pure romance routes, where you can change it from romance to friendship, and there’s plenty of bad ends to varying degrees. So you’re looking at a game that could take upwards of fifty or so hours as I know I take around twice as long to read as most people. The Longest two routes are the two that are effectively going the exact opposite directions, Drakan and Lisha. All the other characters tend to filter within one of their routes and just split. For instance if you go Drakan’s route, Tix becomes unavailable as she leaves the school and is also disgusted with your entire existence, however if you go Lisha’s route Tix is still there and you can move from Lisha’s route to Tix’s route.
For me the biggest issue is the writing, while there is a lot here and it’s generally pretty good, it needed an editor, each entire route should have been read on it’s own. There were a number of times where Sable said something or thought something to himself that was so blatantly wrong and dumb, and completely denied by what was said prior in the same conversation. For instance, Sable on numerous occasions dictates how no one has discriminated against him the entire time he’s been at the school. He does this once after his teacher drags him to the principal because he created a spell that they didn’t know and by both her and the principals own words that he a lowly human could not have ever come up with because they’re weak, stupid, and magically inferior. Then he comes up with that thought like not even five fucking sentences later that the school is great and no one has treated him with discrimination. Or Lisha, literally every time they talk how she belittles him for being a weak worthless human. Shit like that happens throughout the entire game. It drove me fucking crazy. Sable is a fucking moron. None of the other characters have this kind of issue with their writing, it’s only Sable, he’s delusional and I don’t like him because of that. Also regardless of which route you take you have to interact with Lisha a lot, and I don’t like her, she’s a bitch. So every time Sable thinks about anything it’s dumb because he’s delusional and a moron, and I constantly have to deal with Lisha and her stuck up bitch attitude talking shit about Sable every time she opens her fucking mouth… I complained a lot while playing the game because both of these characters absolutely suck.
Then another story beat for the game is that third year students have to take part in what’s commonly referred to as The Hunt, which is where the school sends STUDENTS out to deal with other demi-humans because they don’t want human cops or military to police them. Their best idea, one came up with by the fucking nitwitted principal named Ein, is to instead of making a demi-human police force to deal with violent criminals and the like, instead he opts to send students to do it, as a requirement if they want to continue to go to school. Oh and this shit is done during school time. So in order to stay in school, as a standard ass fucking student, you have to act like a swat team member and MISS SCHOOL. This was Ein’s almighty idea of absolute pure retardation. I don’t use that word often, but there’s no other way of explaining this fucking idea it’s so fucking dumb and bad and makes no fucking sense. This isn’t a school to make cops. Want to know what makes it worse? If you go Drakan’s route, you and her both go into this as first year students. The problem is that Ein takes most of your magic from you because you did a spell and someone messed it up, during a class which was specifically to do spells. Later he offers your super intellect an offer you can become effectively a 3rd year student have all the freedom you want but you have to join the hunt, problem if you accept this, he also does not give you back your fucking magic. There’s also no training for this shit, THIS IS NOT A SCHOOL TO TEACH YOU TO BE A FUCKING COP. So he’s effectively saying okay you’re an egghead who’s here to be a researcher, I’ll take your magic, and throw you into situations that could kill you even if you were another race and had your magic. It’s effectively like taking a goddamn art student and putting them into Swat team situations without any body armor or weapons and they can’t say no. Who the fuck thinks this is a good idea? This is so beyond fucking stupid.
I bring up those two issues because they are kind of the crux of the game, those two parts the hunt and Sable/Lisha interactions make up a good chunk of every route because Lisha sits right next to you in class so you always have to put up with her ass, and you are Sable so you have to put up with his mindless delusional dumbfuck thoughts, and The Hunt is a big thing in a number of the routes and changes how people react and interact with you. Sable’s delusions are caused by the writer simply not re-reading the entire route or having an editor I assume. Lisha is made to be a stuck-up bitch, that’s just what her character type is and that simply isn’t the kind of character I like so that’s on me. The Hunt is all the writer because it was just poorly thought out, planned, and executed. It was just a really stupid fucking idea that makes no sense, someone should have read it and said “THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE” to the writer.
Otherwise, beyond these two issues, the game is amazing though, the characters are all realistic outside of Sable and his delusional stupidity. Every other character is well written even Lisha, as much as I hate the bitch, is well written. Character interactions are pretty good until Sable says or thinks something that is completely devoid and actively against every piece of factually based truth that has been provided. Every other character’s backstory, their interactions with each other, it’s all great, only Sable sticks out because he says and thinks things that are just stupid. The choices in the game have long sections of writing between them typically, you can go an hour or so between choices which is nice, but because of how long it is you still end up having plenty of directions you can take things thankfully.
As you play routes you are given entries in a route list. Anytime you hit an important place in the story that part of the route is lit up. When you access the route list you can click any of the specific lit up areas, which simply have switched from a black box to a picture of whatever the scene was that it was unlocked at. When you click it, it loads that area so you can start from there instead of restarting the entire game over again. This also helps prevent you from needing to make a bunch of saves as it only allows you to hold twelve total saves which is sad as that’s next to nothing save wise for a game like this. You also unlock picture CGs as you reach the various scenes and new music in the music player, there’s a lot of music in the game and a bunch unlocked right from the start.
Other than the two main issues I bitched about quite thoroughly, I would like to have seen more save allotment, most games like this have around sixty saves as most of them have six saves a page and upwards of nine or ten pages, this has four saves per page and only three pages. This doesn’t sound like much to most of you but for people wanting to see most everything in the game they’ll want more saves so they can make saves at every choice or around every different ending so that they have a save right before every ending, the latter of which is what I like to do personally. And the writer could have used an editor as there were a number of sections with poor flow or odd wording.
The art style is nice, the characters are all very pretty, the designs are really well done for everyone. I kind of really wish there was voice acting for this simply because it’s fairly pretty so I’d love to hear the voices that the dev had in mind for the characters. There’s also a lot of backgrounds though sadly they’re mostly kind of boring and used a lot due to how long the game is and how often you’re in some of the areas. As previously mentioned there’s a lot of music in the game as well, and there are a lot of very beautiful melodies in it, visual novels have a tendency to have pretty good instrumental melodies in them, music helps with flow and to keep you active in the game to a degree. I’m always happy to hear some good music.
Overall, I really want to recommend it and will even though it’s not going to get the seal. This is a pretty good game, the real issue is I couldn’t get those few parts out of my head every time they came up I ended up focusing on them. The Hunt’s whole concept was just absurd and Sable would think something that was just blatantly wrong based on information we got earlier in what would be the same exact paragraph. Beyond that though everything is well written for the most part. The characters all feel like mostly real people, they each have drives and wants, they each have things they fail to accomplish and is upsetting to them, the writer is fairly good at writing people. Their interactions with each other made sense and were well done. Both the art and music were good; there’s a lot of good here.
A review copy of the game was provided by the dev.
darkmikasonfire sadly does not award Sable’s Grimoire the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval.