Vera Blanc: Full Moon offers a charming visual style and intriguing plot, backed up with full minigames.
Werewolves were originally conjured up to account for unexplainable killings, and the mythological beasts soon became known in folklore as a shape-shifting creature, with the ability to switch between human and wolf form. Of course, the idea of such a monster is ludicrous, but from Vera Blanc’s point of view anything is possible – she herself can reach minds!
Vera Blanc: Full Moon is an adventure mystery story, set out in the style of a comic book, which asks players to investigate a series of crimes and make crucial, plot-altering decisions. While the storyline is sometimes a little too random, the overall charm and mystery make this a worthwhile experience.
Vera Blanc is only sixteen when she is diagnosed with brain cancer. The doctors give her six months to live, but her multi-millionaire father is having none of it. He pays top dollar for a very experimental procedure, and soon afterwards Vera has miraculously recovered.
The side effects, however, are the most incredible part of it all – Vera can now hear other people’s thoughts, and read their minds. She soon decides she wants to use her new powers for good, and joins up with private detective Brandon Mackey to solve crimes. Their first case takes them to Wolfach, a small town where a werewolf is apparently killing random townsfolk.
The story is presented in the form of a comic book, with static images and rectangular textboxes. There’s some lovely art on display, which really captures Vera’s tale soundly. During dialogue, Vera is given options about what to say or do next, which can determine what direction the action takes – whether it be good or bad.
The initial prologue chapter slowly introduces the game’s mechanics and ideas, and acts as a great tutorial. Whenever Vera wants to read someone’s mind, she plays a fill-in-the-blanks word game – the player must guess what the person is thinking by selecting letters to fill in the sentence. It’s a nice idea, and breaks up the reams of conversation perfectly.
Once the prologue is complete you’re given much more freedom, with the entire town open for investigation. An over-map of the town shows where you can check out, and a notebook keeps track of every clue you find. There are also a couple of different minigames involved every now and again, including some ‘spot the difference’ games, that work wonders in breaking up the dialogue-driven main action.
While the different options presented during action and conversation give the game a real edge, the outcomes are sometimes very silly. Usually it will be obvious if a decision is a bad one – Vera may comment that she probably shouldn’t act that way – but now and again a seemingly innocent and perfectly reasonable choice will lead to an abrupt end.
It’s rather frustrating when this happens, but fortunately Vera Blanc comes with an incredibly simple saving system. Players can hit the Esc key, and click in an empty space to save, then hit Esc again to go straight back to the action. This means that whenever a big decision is about to happen, you can quickly save the game before choosing an option.
The game takes roughly two hours to complete, although there are multiple endings to be found. Vera Blanc: Full Moon is well worth a play, and will keep you hooked right through to the end. There’s a demo available for download for anyone who wants to try before they buy.