Frozen Essence – A great English otome game- and free!

September 10th, 2010

Have you heard of Frozen Essence? It’s an indie English visual novel from Unbroken Hours, which is totally FREE and, I think, amazing quality for a free game. It doesn’t have voices, which I think is totally reasonable for a free VN. I’ll try to explain the plot without giving away too much, but there are spoilers here for a first playthrough.

The story is really good, it’s fantasy and set in another world where elemental orbs keep the balance of nature. Each orb has Guardians to protect them, but there is one orb, the Death Orb, that has been inactive for a thousand years but has just been reactivated. Many people have forgotten about the Death Orb, and there’s a group, the White Order, that is trying to seal the Death Orb because of its harmful power.

After a prologue where the heroine escapes imprisonment after waking up without memories, she’s brought to a castle by the Oracle.

[spoilers]

The heroine in this game is related to the Death Orb, which is interesting because there’s this tension between the balance of the orbs, and how the Death Orb really does bring sickness and death to places around it. So it’s not a clear-cut story about you being on the good side and beating evil at all.

[/spoilers]

The characters are quite good and all have their own motivations and personalities:

Rune – one of the heroine’s guards, he seems to only want to hide from the world, and is very protective of Mina.

Aysel – another guard who was brought in by Rune, she’s nice and is devoted to Rune.

Caius – quite a jerk, he taunts the heroine a lot and doesn’t seem to care about anyone, in fact he talks about hurting people with enjoyment.

Oracle – the mysterious hooded figure who rescued Mina.

Varian – someone Mina meets outside when he saves her from the cold, but he’s very abrupt.

Aurelius – an outgoing ‘celebrity’ orb Guardian who meets Mina and takes a liking to her. He has a bit of a white knight complex.

Those are the most important characters, though several others are key to the story.

I was most impressed by the story of Frozen Essence; the plot is well thought-out, and each character has their own important backstory that’s related to the main plot. I would actually love for the stories to be more fleshed out, just to enjoy them for longer.

The art is good, much better than I thought of when I heard it was an indie VN, and the music is also quite good. This is a free game so understandably had a very limited (nonexistent??) budget, but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the backgrounds and art in general. And there are a lot of CGs, more than I expected.

The game doesn’t take too long once you’ve played through once, I’d estimate the main story to be an hour or two (depending on how fast you read of course), and then 30 min- 1 hour for the different routes.

One last thing that I appreciated a lot was the effects and transitions. Probably more because now that I’m working on LOVE.101 (yes I swear I am!!) I know how much work goes into each scene and all the special effects, movement etc.

Though it’s free, Frozen Essence has a donation button through Paypal, that I strongly encourage you to use if you play and enjoy it! It will help the creator, VenusEclipse, make more games, and I really think this is worth it. Unbroken Hours is also looking for artists and other talented folk for its next game, so if you’re interested, check it out!

If you know of other good indie otome games, please let me know in the comments – I stumbled on this one but I’m sure there are more.

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4 Responses to “Frozen Essence – A great English otome game- and free!”

  1. venuseclipse says:

    Thank you for your review and I’m glad you enjoyed it. :)

  2. dork at large says:

    There’s some pretty good girl x boy visual novels in the Renai Archive at renai.us .

    Also, sometime early in 2010, more and more otome game projects began to appear on the Lemma Soft forums. Most are still being written… I’m currently looking forward to RockRobin.

  3. nhipkat says:

    this game is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! story and art 5/5 :O XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD *cheering* *cheering*

  4. lijakaca says:

    So glad you like it! I think it’s really great too.

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