Visual Novel Review: Chronicles of Tal’Dun – The Remainder by Square Weasel Studio

 
 

Chronicles of Tal’Dun: The Remainder is a dark, mysterious visual novel about two magi with a complicated history trapped in a tower, potentially facing a fate worse than death if they cannot stop a magical vortex. You are one of those magi, but you’ve lost your memories, and you’ll have to play the game many times to find all the answers.


Official Description:

This is a story of two magi, Vyn and Ilar, who find themselves trapped in a collapsing tower with their only hope for salvation being a difficult ritual. Or at least that is what Ilar tells you. The thing is – you don’t remember anything, and Ilar’s story makes less and less sense the closer you are to the ritual. Are they hiding things to protect you from the bitter truth, or are they deceiving you for some more nefarious reason?

Guide Vyn’s actions to death and beyond and uncover Ilar’s truth. Are they your colleague, lover or something completely different? Read between the lines of what they are telling you, explore your surroundings for clues and use hands-on deduction to break the viscious circle and set them free.

Long Review:

It took me a few hours to get into this game. I had some issues at first, but the good news is, I cared about them less the more I played, and I ended up getting sucked in! It made me feel a lot of feelings, and I love when any game or story can do that.

(Note: Vyn is the name of the player character.)

Screenshot from Chronicles of Tal'Dun: The Remainder - Ink drawing of a beautiful androgynous person, Ilar, sitting on the ground against a boudoir-esque couch. They have asymmetric white hair, short on one side, the top and other side swooped over and past the shoulder in the front with a sharp angle shorter as it goes back. Tight black clothes cover them from jaw to toes with puffy light colored sleeves around the upper arms, the tight black fabric covering forearms and hands. There's a design or medallion of some sort around their neck. Art style is pen and ink with lots of lines. Colors are black, yellowish white, and muted teal.

What I Liked:

Once I started getting to some endings, I was hooked, because what the fuck was going on? Which is the premise, to figure out what’s going on by playing the game a bunch and finding all the info. You will be confused, but you’ll unravel the truth as you go.

But what made it so gripping was the fascinating story and characters. I kept playing because I wanted to know more about Vyn, Ilar, their relationship, and what led to the situation they were in. Two magi with complicated history trapped in a tower with a magical force that will lead to a fate worse than death if they don’t stop it. I can’t say more without spoilers, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

This story is dark, and the emotions are complicated. This isn’t pretty magic or an idyllic romance. There’s blood and deceit and obsession and pain and grief and death and guilt, all mixed in with love and forgiveness and the desire to do good.

I found it a bit thought-provoking too. A few things made me consider my own life for a moment, and there were others that weren’t real-world applicable but still made me think about them in the context of the story.

There’s so much gorgeous art! The style is so lovely. And, uhh, Ilar’s not too bad to look at either *blushes* (Ok, fine, Ilar may have been like half the reason I decided to play in the first place.) But the other characters had really cool designs too. There’s a gallery to see the CGs once unlocked.

The music was perfect. Really enhanced the dark, mysterious, emotional vibes.

You can choose she/he/they pronouns. You can also choose if you want the player character picture to be shown or not (though you’ll miss out on a few artworks if you choose no). And Ilar (the white-haired magus) is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns.

Screenshot from Chronicles of Tal'Dun: The Remainder - The white-haired character, Ilar, is shown with a serious face. Text below.

Gripping my hand and examining it, they fixate on a spot on my wrist and jab something into it.
“Ow, wha-!” I instinctively jerk away, but llar’s grip tightens, holding me still.
“Look at me and repeat this. Let the image and words burn into your heart: ‘Sensual pleasures wane, but pain I make my anchor. Long as this pain endures, I too shall remain.'”
“Ngh.” I grunt, struggling.
“Say it.” The intense look in Ilar’s eyes leaves no room for arguments.
“Let go of me!” I demand, but they drive the sharp object deeper.
It burns, I struggle more.
They pull me closer and hiss into my ear, “Say it.”

What I Disliked:

Sometimes choices I made didn’t match up with how Vyn was thinking and feeling later. It made the character feel inconsistent. But it stopped being important once I was going back and choosing every different option.

Vyn came across like a modern quirky 20-something instead of an obsessive magus doing questionable experiments and magic in a dark fantasy world. It could be argued it was because they lost their memories and this was who they really were on the inside, but it still felt strange.

There are a few things I still don’t understand. I got all the important answers, there was closure, that was good. It’s just, some magical stuff or specific details aren’t quite making sense for me, a couple “false” endings still have me confused, and I don’t understand anything about Fuzzpants. Perhaps these things do have explanations, but they weren’t made clear enough for me.

Screenshot from Chronicles of Tal'Dun: The Remainder - A humanoid being with black skin sitting cross legged on the ground, long glowing pink hair swirling all around them. Text reads: Then, why would you imagine you could know what death was like without dying?

Everything Else:

The game follows one storyline, but things branch out a bit and come back in, depending on your choices. There are also times when a choice you make will affect what happens or what choices you have later. So even when you think you’ve seen everything a certain moment has to offer, you might not have.

Just a tip: Make liberal use of saves and skipping seen text, once you’ve played through once or twice. Keep track of which series of choices you’ve done already. It’s really worth it to try and see as much as possible, because 1) that’s how you unlock ways to progress, and 2) you never know where you’re going to get more info that explains things or makes you feel even more for the characters.

The writing is very mystical and convoluted sometimes. I have mixed feelings about this. I felt like it was maybe overdone a bit, but it does fit with the mysterious dark fantasy feel. I also liked that some of the deaths were sort of hard to understand in terms of what was happening because I think suddenly dying probably would be like that.

The store page says it “contains Acts 1 to 3.” I guess they originally released it in parts, but this is the complete game.

It took me about 15 hours to finish and see pretty much everything.

I purchased this game on sale on Steam for $12.99.

Screenshot from Chronicles of Tal'Dun: The Remainder - Ink drawing of the white-haired character, Ilar, looking anxious and holding some tools. Text below.

How afraid they are, how afraid we’ve both been, but not anymore. Not I.
“Do you want me to stop?”
Is the silence an answer?
“N-no,” they mumble at last.
I smother a secret grin, it’s too soon still to greet their vulnerability with anything like mirth.
My fingers travel over their cheekbone, over the corner of their mouth, down to the side of their neck.
They draw a quick, sharp breath, lips parting, eyes darting away. “Please, I can’t. It’s already so difficult…to keep away.”

Overall:

I really liked this in the end. It’s hard for me to find stories that I consider dark and that make me feel emotional but also satisfied, and this one accomplished that. Combine that with the beautiful artwork, and I have a feeling this visual novel and these characters will stick around in my head for a while!

Screenshot from Chronicles of Tal'Dun: The Remainder - The white-haired character, Ilar, is standing with eyes closed, fading away, as if they are wispy smoke blowing away in a breeze.

Short Review:

– Dark story
– Complicated emotions
– Fascinating characters and relationship
– Gorgeous artwork
– Emotional music
– One main storyline, but a lot to discover by making different choices
– Overall, this took me a few hours to warm up to, but I was hooked by the end!

Accessibility:

(May not include everything)
– Partially accessible for visually impaired players and screen reader users. Has Ren’Py self-voicing, but I would not recommend it if you can’t see the screen. Does not work for menus, there are timed choices that may be difficult, and you won’t be able to read the letters the character finds.
– Can choose normal or large text.
– Text is light with dark background.
– Letters you find are shown as images with handwriting style fonts.
– Sometimes there is movement, blurring, or visual effects, usually in the background. No option to turn them off.
– Trigger warnings on store page.

More Info:

Steam // itch.io

 
 
 
 

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  1. Greg

    Ooh you find all these cool visual novel games. I love the idea of not knowing what’s going on/ who you can trust. And any game that can make us think about our only lives is doing something right…