South Scrimshaw

released on Jun 09, 2023

A science-fiction visual novel in the style of a nature documentary.

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I discovered this title after coming across a list of free titles on here and being immediately intrigued by the premise, and I can confidently say it delivers on my expectations and then some.

The game has a very compelling narrative that is presented in the style of a BBC nature documentary, with very charming artwork of the alien animals and landscapes that is both weird and whimsical. The true intrigue comes from the little tidbits of lore about the wider setting and it left me wanting to know more.

Gameplay is unfortunately extremely linear, even for a visual novel. You get the option to click on certain text options to find out more information but ultimately you can't deviate from the story presented in the documentary framing device. Hopefully this will be addressed in Part Two.

For the most part I was happy with the narration, there was an odd inflection in a few instances but for the most part it didn't take me out of the experience, however I did check in the credits to confirm my theory that it was generated using AI speech tools.

Overall, I was very impressed with the creativity on display here and since it's a free title I would say it's well worth an hour of most people's time.

It's hard to argue against something that asks so little of you, but then gives so much. This is a visual novel documentary about an alien species, and that alone is such a cool concept that it's hard to believe it hasn't already happened (afaik). Writing and story is very well executed, though I do feel it was a bit lacking in the audio and art department.

Me ha encantado. Me lo he pasado como un niño chico, y la experiencia ha sido muy única y bonita.

Pra mim, é difícil analisar uma visual novel, já que eu tenho basicamente zero conhecimento de outros jogos do gênero, porém achei muito interessante a forma que a história foi apresentada, como se fosse um documentário da BBC ou do Animal Planet. O legal de ter jogado com a minha namorada, que é oceanógrafa, foi perguntar o que era fato e o que era invenção do que estava sendo apresentado. Se outras visual novels forem tão cativantes quanto essa, quem sabe me interesso mais pelo gênero.

An astonishingly original visual novel about a newborn alien whale and his journey to survive. Presented in a National Geographic style, the game successfully builds a degree of emotional attachment to the whales and the audience in a short run time. What will become of our Whale? We will have to patiently wait for Nathan O. Marsh to finish his work on part 2 to find out, just as the researchers will wait as well.

The art is nice and the small touches of novelty in the xenofauna are lovely. The writing is a little overwrought at times, especially when discussing the lives of the fictional crew producing the 'documentary' you're playing, but nothing too horrible.

I find lately that I'm not really interested in visual novels as a storytelling medium. I'd just always rather be reading a short story, or a graphic novel if the pictures are that important. Nothing about this medium works better for me when a story is as linear as this.

The voice acting is also truly terrible - it may well be text-to-speech model generated, I can't say for sure. You can turn it off, but it's extremely grating.