Weeping Willow Review | Our venture starts with the mysterious disappearance of Baron Von Wolf, the husband of our main character Sofia, as we are tasked with finding out what happened to him. However, a few days later, we are greeted by our husband – or a man who claims to be but the Baroness states she has never laid eyes upon this man before. Could she simply not remember her husband or is this person an imposter? Weeping Willow is a visual novel which takes place in a small medieval town named Weidendorf, quarantined due to surrounding poorer neighbourhoods having dangerous outbreaks of the plague. As a result, the Baroness is left feeling trapped and helpless as she cannot leave the house and is held captive within her own home with someone who has every possibility of being a stranger. Fearing for her life, she is told witnesses will be needed who can testify if this man is indeed her husband and that’s exactly what she sets out to do. Developed by TechnoCat Games and published by Sometimes You, this visual novel will have you wondering and guessing exactly what has happened. Who is telling the truth and who is hiding behind lies? Of course, there’s only one way to find out… by playing!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series S | Review code provided by PR/publisher. This review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Delightful visuals | The first element of Weeping Willow that caught my eye were the striking visuals. The characters looked amazing with great focus on the physical and materialistic details such as clothing. Delicate light and shading have been applied to create beautiful models that all stand out from one another with a fantastic range of colours also being present. The purple hair was certainly eye-catching. I do think darker shades outweigh the lighter ones, including the wooden/brown tones from the interior background seen the majority of the time. Convincing facial expressions were pretty amusing and conveyed a mixture of emotions successfully across varying scenarios. This allowed me to understand the fluctuating emotions of the characters. Weeping Willow looked appealing from all angles and that factored in greatly to my experience as it should with all visual novels.
- Dramatic music | Just from loading up the main menu of Weeping Willow, you are hit with overly loud and aggressive audio which sets the tone for the story you’re about to uncover. Immediately afterwards, lighter tones were welcoming and gave me feelings of hope and recovery. The background music played had an incredibly important role in capturing the mood of different scenes and without it, the game would have been nowhere near as impactful. Having moments that filled me with dread and despair and others that were far more friendly and inviting caused a curve of uncertainty in how I perceived characters and the events which followed in due course. It was repeated and looped but even so, I still think it was a great addition that emphasised everything.
- Writing quality | For the most part, the writing context that makes up the story of Weeping Willow was satisfactory to read but the quality was far from perfect. It had well-placed wording and descriptive sections that allowed me to connect with the characters, made even easier with the addition of facial expressions. On the other hand, there were a few sections that dragged a little, making things feel somewhat tiresome. Multiple spelling and grammar mistakes can be spotted making me double-take dialogue often, causing minor confusion. There were also some sections which did miss the mark when it came to seriousness, whether it was discussions or dire consequences, due to the writing falling a little flat. This was unfortunate and I believe could have been produced to a higher standard at various points throughout the game.
- Foreseeable plot | If I’m being completely honest, the plot of Weeping Willow was interesting but a little predictable in places. When I was incredibly close to the beginning of the story, I had already guessed the conclusion of what had happened to Baron Von Wolf but what kept my curiosity peaked was the middle part and how the other characters fitted into the plot. Their story and part played were what kept me guessing and questioning my judgement which was great because it had me second-guessing numerous scenarios. So although I was able to correctly work out the conclusion of Weeping Willow, the journey in between and the underlying details I uncovered during my playthrough created subtle anticipation that I thoroughly revelled in.
What we Disliked
- No dialogue choices | Visual novels vary these days with some having multiple choice options to choose from and others having a one straight path from beginning to end. Weeping Willow is very much the latter, having not a single dialogue option throughout the entirety of the game. This was a real shame as I always like to think I’m forging my own path and having my decisions count for something which is what makes each player’s experience different and their own to a certain extent. I would have loved to see choices make an appearance but unfortunately, they weren’t included in this particular visual novel.
- No replayability | Sadly, Weeping Willow only has one potential playthrough due to there being no dialogue options or differing paths meaning there is no real reason to return once you’ve completed the game. It’s very much a ‘pick up, play, and set aside’ visual novel that can only really be enjoyed once. I would have liked there to be some sort of replayability value to the game so it became more than just a one-hit-wonder but this is completely non-existent. On another note, all of the achievements can be unlocked just by playing naturally through Weeping Willow so there is nothing that can be missed either. Quick and simple but that is about all there is to Weeping Willow.
- Too short | Weeping Willow took me just over an hour to complete, reading all the supplied dialogue at a moderate pace which was quite underwhelming compared to many other games within the same genre. It seemed to be over before it had barely begun, leaving me relatively shocked at just how quickly the game could be completed legitimately and honestly, quite disappointed with the overall content on show. Weeping Willow could have easily incorporated more plot twists and detail to further expand on the plot of the story to extend the overall playtime, but as it stands, it’s a little lacklustre for my liking.
- Grey screens | After doing some research, I realised the ‘grey screens’ I was experiencing were instead supposed to have imagery in their place. This was a highly noticeable bug which did negatively impact the flow of the story as important parts were greeted with an empty void on my screen instead of the impactful imagery that should have been present. Although this only happened with stationary pictures and not ones with animated characters on screen, it still affected the game. If a visual novel is missing images, isn’t that like a picture book missing pictures? It just shouldn’t have happened or have ever been an issue that presented itself in Weeping Willow.
How long to beat the story | Approximately 1-2 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Approximately 1-2 Hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Language of Love, Autumn’s Journey, Blackberry Honey
My time with Weeping Willow was short and sweet, created with appealing visuals and powerful audio but that’s probably about where it ends. There were no dialogue options, no replayability, and an issue that stopped me from being able to see some images. The writing has not been given enough attention to detail as not only was the writing stale at times but there were spelling and grammatical errors which have not been resolved. It’s acceptable for a quick story if you need to pass an hour or so but otherwise, there is much left to be desired.
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Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!