Jakou no Lyla Vol.1 releases on December, 21st 2018, thankfully Otomate was kind enough to release a trial version to tantalise us until its official release.
The demo is about an hour or so of the common route. You can get the trial yourself through this link. I’m not sure if need to change your computer locale to Japan or anything, seems to work just fine on my computer except for the Japanese on the setup window is replaced with strange symbols (same with the exe files being just jumbled symbols instead of Japanese).
First off, I’d like to talk about the UI elements of the game. It may be a bit gaudy for others, maybe a bit too much going on with the design elements of the user interface.
The fancy English text on some of the menu options, particularly the UI elements during the dialogue scenes can be hard to read. Though considering my monitor is a bit wide, playing in full screen I hardly noticed the menus on either side of the screen because my eyes are solely focused on reading the dialogue but when my eyes do wander onto the side menus I kinda cringe at how gaudy it looks (no offence, it’s not exactly pleasing to the eyes).
At times I’d find myself pressing the menu bottom on the top left because I keep thinking that’s where the backlog is lol, though that fault is mostly on me because I’m a dumbass.
The way they put the speaker’s name in the dialogue box is a bit weird for me, as I’m so used to seeing it on the top so I immediately can identify who it is. Though I guess I can get used to that.
The choice of font for the dialogue is a bit more stylish. It kind of reminds me of the font they used for Kyoukai no Shirayuki:
It does take some time to get used to reading the font though.
The main colour palette is a bit moody, a lot of shades of purple tbh lol. I’ve noticed there’s a really subtle animated fog in almost every background I’ve seen in the demo which is a weird choice, but whatever 😆
The background images are either a hit or miss. I don’t know why they chose to make the lineart of the background have multiple colours but it’s definitely a weird decision in my opinion. Especially in well lit backgrounds like Vince’s room, it just looks weird.
Though these stuff I can overlook, but it definitely could’ve been better.
But for me, the CGs really are one of the best part in terms of the graphics.
Though there were only two CGs in the demo, both being of just Shirien by herself but I guess that’s generous for a demo.
Despite the shortcomings of the UI, I really enjoyed the story–to the point that I felt sad that it ended before the really good stuff could happen. Pwease, Otomate, Pwease release this game sooner (jk).
The story starts in media res and in the point of view of Vince waking up after I assume a night of gettin drunk to find out that he’s not alone as a mysterious lady greets him. He doesn’t know her but she seems to talk to him with some familiarity. Then he gets dazed with lust and thoughts of wanting to make this mysterious lady “his”. Before the scene progresses into the good stuff, it cuts to the true beginning of the story with Shirien working at Salon Show Camal(?), a salon that only few patrons know where beautiful girls entertain through exotic dances.
First impression of Shirien (besides the in media res scene that shows the mystery woman is obviously Shirien) is pretty solid. She saves her friend and fellow coworker from being harassed by drunk patrons by talking back at them, which they retaliated by musing how she must be ugly considering she wears a veil to cover her face. Which she then turns back that insult to them and wows them with her dancing to shut them up lol. During her dancing she spots two mysterious cloaked men being guided by the store owner into a secluded room. Thinking this means there’s another ‘job’ for her so follows after them.
There we get a good look into the relationship between Shirien and the Store Owner, where the Store Owner calls Shirien his cute daughter only to be either shot down by Shirien or given the silent treatment lol. The two cloaked men turn out to be clients from another country that are here to ask for help, with the first prince of the kingdom of Lugan as the target.
One client is Theodor, Vince Lugan’s right-hand man and childhood friend. The other client is the last prince of a kingdom destroyed by the Lugan kingdom–Rolan Crydelle. Ngl, I really like Theodor, he’s my type of character and he’s pretty dumb/funny… too bad he’s a side character.
Anyway, the main objective of the job they’re offering is to find Rolan’s little sister who was taken by the Lugan royal family (while killing the rest of the Crydelle family except Rolan), while also trying to bring Vince back to his old self (a request from Theodor). When inquiring what Rolan’s little sister looks like, Shirien finds out how batshit weird he is as he gushes on and on about his sister being cute, beautiful and smart–even to the point of saying the doll he carries in a cage is the spitting image of his little sister. Either he got that doll custom made to look like his sis after the attack or before, it still makes it really weird.
It gets better when he talk to the doll as if it was his lost sister and boooooooy. This guy is ringing all the warning bells in my mind, he’s a weirdo siscon. After that weird encounter they decide to devise a plan to get Shirien near Vince and let her do her magic. I couldn’t catch on with what the plan was, though it has something to do with Theodor purposely losing this game he does with Vince so Vince can hook up with Shirien as the reward for winning. I dunno what will happen after Shirien is with Vince because the demo doesn’t go that far into it… Kinda makes me think that the demo doesn’t cover ALL of the common route.
Also another weird ass scene happens between Rolan and Shirien when he spies her henna tattoo on her chest. Going as far to touch it and be all weird about it, thankfully the store owner ended the meeting before Rolan could do more stuff the second time after Shirien politely told him to back off a bit through body language. Thumbs up to the store owner.
The rest of the demo is another chapter that just focuses on Shirien in her down time, covering a bit about the backstory of Jemiru and how he and Shirien became “siblings”. As well as a look at Shirien’s kick ass bird (the bird really kicks shit when it doesn’t have its meat):
Here in these scenes we see another side of Shirien that’s a little less harden and even a bit vulnerable as she ponders on her new assignment of luring Vince Lugan–a prince of a militaristic kingdom that is said to think little of women as nothing but tools. Before we could see the plan of luring Vince go down the demo ends.
Again, I’m curious if the demo covers all of the common route or what. I’m also curious on how the route separation will go down, will it all be one ‘common route’ where you increase the affection of either boy and the ending determines which guy you have the highest affection (the ending being the only story variation)? Or will it be a choose whichever guy and do his route where it mainly focuses on him. Then my mind goes to “How does the love triangle part play out?”, a lot of stuff I’m wondering about here lol. I just hope that each guy has a route/story that focuses on either guy equally and goes deep into developing their character.
The demo definitely made me a bit more excited to play the full game (as well as maybe the other 2 volumes). It makes me wonder if the other volumes will have the same exact common route but with some changes to add context depending on which characters/dilemmas it’s tackling… like, would each volume have the same scene of Shirien saving her friend from being harassed? Really curious about it. I like the heroine so far and really hope she’s written consistently throughout the whole series.
Anyway, I guess I have to just sit and wait until I get my copy of the game to see what it’s really like (I’m betting I’ll be getting it in 2019 considering how busy the last weeks of December will be in terms of shipping and stuff).
Thanks for reading!