Alice in Dissonance’s fourth game default series, Default StP Lightkravte may raise some eyebrows since it is published before Step 2: lower side, which means that fans of the series have to wait a little longer to continue the main story. (On Steam, the devs said that staffing issues were the cause of the delay in the second Second step game.) But don’t let that stop you from figuring this out if you like the characters and the show – although the focus is on Khaji, kind of everyone’s character, Selphine and Ritona feature heavily, and the game is set in the kingdom of Rughzenhaide when all was well is an interesting part of the set default mythos. It is also a fairly safe place to enter the franchise – while you won’t know who the two aforementioned characters are, the game does a good job of showcasing their dynamic and the world at large. There’s also a fairly extensive glossary of world terminology that can be accessed at any point in the game, while the writing also allows for easy understanding in the context of what’s happening in the story.
Part one of a planned two-part prequel spin-off (known collectively as “Silence the Pendant”), Lightkravte is a deceptively low-stakes story. Khaji first gives the impression of being a bit like the average protagonist of a harem in a shonen series: he’s nice, a bit bland, and definitely has a perverted side. He lives with his widowed father, who expresses mild disappointment at his son’s reluctance to take over the family farm, but is wonderfully supportive nonetheless – he doesn’t like his choices, but he loves his son unconditionally. The Oberg family dynamic therefore stands out among the other characters, with some never interacting with their parents, others orphans, and a strong sense of found family intertwining throughout the story. It makes it particularly interesting that Khaji, despite being supported by so many, doesn’t seem to realize it, or even fully understand what it means to have that support. In that regard, he’s a very typical teenager, wrapped up in his own desires without being able to really look outside of himself and see what those desires might mean in the context of something bigger than himself.
Although Khaji isn’t a member of the nobility – unlike his friend Flora, Selphine, or Ritona – he has an ineffable air of privilege that he can’t quite grasp. If there is a specific theme to the piece, Khaji may understand that the world is not exactly his oyster and that not all shells contain pearls – these are formed over a long period of time. process. That doesn’t always make him a likeable character or the story an easy read; he can become very irritating at times and his naivety and reluctance to let go of it, while important to the plot, is not always pleasant to read. But they feel like a legitimate problem that it struggles to first acknowledge and then overcome, and it ultimately gives the game a story worth reading to the end.
It is also beautiful to look at. The backgrounds are the game’s most immediately striking artistic feature. There’s a bit of a storybook feel to Mhakna Gramura and Fairy Bell, with exquisite forest scenes and moving glows on every background. Whether rural or urban, the sets are detailed and complement the action, and those little moving elements really add to the overall experience. Speaking of movement, the characters do too – facial expressions and arms are all animated, albeit in somewhat limited ways. Again, this really adds to the game, especially in the sections where there are no words; the characters’ body language and faces allow the story to avoid the kind of crush we can sometimes find in visual novels because we can see what are their reactions. While it might be overkill – the usual “breathing so hard my shoulders are constantly moving” problem that’s common in fighting games is present – it’s ultimately an improvement. The music is a bit less of a reveal, but it’s still the kind of pretty that works to back up the action without being too noticeable, which is something I tend to like about this style of play.
As with other games in the series, LightkravteThe gameplay of consists of clicking on dialogue. There’s no branching path or choice, so it’s really like reading an animated novel. There are Steam achievements for completing each chapter, as well as one for playing past the point where you can flip the game, which I found fun, although I could see it was a slap in the face if you are a slower reader not liking the plot, which takes a bit of time to really get going. The only real “extras” with the game are the glossary of world terms; no image gallery or music gallery is present, which is a shame because the event CGs and art in general are, as I said, beautiful. The game is available in English, Japanese, and Chinese as of this writing. My playtime was nine hours, which seems to be about average, but as with all NVs, this is very subject to variation.
It may not be lower sidebut Lightkravte is still a very nice entry into the default series. The story is thoughtful (and has a nice depiction of a type we don’t often see), the background details of Ritona and Selphine’s lives before the main story are interesting, and the extra animation really makes it the game more immersive. Whether you are curious to know franchise or already a fan, it’s a great way to spend time.