Sigh of the Abyss: Shadow Bonds from Rascal Devworks is a lore-rich visual novel that introduces us to the world and characters of Sigh of the Abyss. I was given the chance to play this prologue and want to share my first thoughts with you!
A copy of this game was provided for the purposes of this review.
In Shadow Bonds, your character is one bond to the shadows and thus gives you unique magical abilities. When returning home one evening, you run into a young mage who is being hunted down and by choosing to help him, you end up with a deathly curse chaining you together. Through various decisions you make you’ll have to find a way to break the life-or-death spell with the help of friends and your bond to the shadows, thus creating your origin story for the rest of the game to come.
When you begin, you’ll be able to set your starting stats in three areas: physical prowess, shadow magic, and mind control. Depending on how you divvy your skill points will affect what actions you can do in certain scenarios, and the scenario outcomes can affect your stats as well. You also have different conversation options that set your character’s personality and I assume your relationship with the other characters you interact with. In the prologue, there is only so much story and relationships developed, but I bet there will be much more use and effect with these stats and skills throughout the rest of the game.
Let’s get into the story and characterizations. It’s evident that this game has a lot of lore to discover and dig into and many mysteries to solve. It’s all very intriguing, and thankfully they put details into a log that you can go back to a read throughout the game to understand the places, people, and history of Carolise. As you meet people, details about them can also be seen in the log and each character has distinct personalities and backstories, making them quite compelling. Yes, you can romance them, but you don’t have to and can even specify in your character creation if you prefer certain genders. Romance is definitely not at the forefront of this game, so if you are more interested in mystery and magic, you’ll be pleased to know that that is the focus of the game.
Overall, I really enjoyed what Sigh of the Abyss: Shadow Bonds introduced to us in the prologue. It can be a standalone game as well as an introduction to what more is to come, and I am looking forward to seeing what else this story has to offer. It’s beautiful and compelling, and with more mystery and magic to discover it is on the right track to being an excellent game.
What are your favorite lore-rich games? Let me know with a comment!