Now, now! Looks like I’m enjoying myself too much by playing more and more Visual Novels! Don’t worry, I’m also doing my best on my own Visual Novel, Mythical Creatures: The Remover. But Dear Mariko by Coren is so charming I can’t help it!!!
This VN features a short time game play! I say within ten minutes, you’ll get all endings. Maybe less? Maybe five minutes! But the charm never goes out!!! Have you played RPG all your life? Or anything with game boy emulators like Summon Knight, Sword of Mana, or even Pokemon? Their game style are all the same! This Dear Mariko gives you the same RPG feeling. It interacts with the player, so you can use your keyboard to walk for directions, like with the arrow keys, and pressing the Enter to examine the things around your character, and pressing the Space Bar to read the next sentence. And what I absolutely love with Dear Mariko is it has a great, unexpected plot twist! A genre of romance and horror, this game will thrill you! So why not visit the original thread for a bit?
You can download the game itself there. Come on, it won’t hurt to try it a little bit! It only eats a few minutes of your life since it’s so short 😆 Nothing to lose! Although if you’re going to play it, you can only use your keyboards. The most important ones are the Enter, Space bar, and the arrow keys! I got stuck in clicking the “Start” button with my mouse, but remembering the Keyboard option, I tried pressing some keys and it works! Now~ I was really charmed by this so I’m posting spoilers! So even if you don’t play the game, I can share with you my thoughts while I was playing Dear Mariko! Or if you want, play the game first before reading the spoilers! Drag down the mouse in order to read the Spoilers!
So from the very beginning, I pressed Enter and the game started!
It quickly showed me an RPG setting… And it got me thinking… “What the heck?!!! I thought this was a Visual Novel! Can Ren’Py create such a thing, though? Maybe it was created with an RPG software or something? Anyway, am I able to battle with something using the Keyboard? Is this really an RPG?”
But it wasn’t entirely an RPG although it looked like one. If you were to make this a “Point and Click” Visual Novel (Hm… I should somehow explain what I meant by “Point and Click”… Some Visual Novels let you explore the background by clicking on the objects. For example, in a murder mystery vN, the background shows a bloodied corpse and there’s a lot of things on your surroundings. You can click some objects with your mouse to investigate… Something like that…!), Dear Mariko is a VN that uses RPG style rather than the Point and Click. But whether it’s RPG or Point and Click style, the goals are the same. That is to investigate the surroundings. Both maxes the interaction with the reader but I think I like the RPG better. Since you see your character walking left and right, up and down, it really feels like you’re inside the game!
So, telling you the story plot: Mariko goes home one day and sees a goodbye letter from her loved one…
Really simple, right? Now, time for spoilers!
So the MC (means Main Character, and I’m controlling the MC with the keyboard, so the MC was definitely ME!) goes inside the house and investigates… The house has two background parts. First part has the living room, the kitchen, and it has the door leading outside the house. The second part includes the bedroom, and their comfort room. It also has this big cupboard that would take an important role in the story.
At first I was stuck in the first part of the house. I can’t open the door to the second part of the house, which is the bedroom… So I struggled looking for the key.
And what most people do when hiding their spare key… Under the pot plants! (But I don’t do that sort of thing.)
So I got the key and opened the door to the bedroom. I investigated the beds (There were two beds. The other one’s described as “Darien’s bed.” The other one is “Mariko’s bed.” Weird why the two don’t share a bed when they’re in love with each other, don’t you think?
And there, on the floor was Darien’s letter to Mariko. Since this is on Spoiler, I’ll tell you what the letter says. The letter said that Darien left because an insane girl wants to ruin their relationship. He needed to leave because the insane stalker might hurt Mariko.
Now you’re having ideas, huh? … ….. Or maybe not?
Let’s continue. The MC was really heartbroken. I felt that, too…
So I shall tell you that Dear Mariko has three endings all in all: the bad ending, normal ending, and the true ending. No good ending, huh? And some images to be unlocked (Although there’s no CG gallery). But there are different images for different endings. First, I got the Normal End… It’s OK… But I wasn’t satisfied with the result. Second, I got the Bad End *cries it was really bad… Then I got the True End, and it was the WORST!
Time for spoilers! I’ll tell you how I got all endings!
Continuing… After I examined the items, I thought, nothing’s happening. So I went outside… And the MC thought “I should give up on Darien… I should leave… blah blah blah” (By the way, these are my own words but the idea’s the same) And it was unsatisfactory! I didn’t like the ending so I thought, maybe I forgot something.
So, playing again… First, I investigated all the items on the first part of the house… Going to the second part of the house, I checked the bedroom, the paintings, rereading the letter again… And since I knew that the description of the objects changes when you read the letter, I examined all items again in the second part of the house. Going to the first part, I examined the items, too… This time, I didn’t go outside. I went back to the second part of the house, to see if I forgot something… THEN!!!
This is the thrill… There were footsteps… And the door made sounds… Someone was trying to get in!!! (At first, I thought the sound effect was knocking sounds… But after Coren replied to the thread, said that the doorknob got stuck… Though it wasn’t explained well… But it’s not much of a big deal though…)
Alright!!! Going back to the thrill! The MC thought it was that woman!!! So she should hide… But where?!!! Then there’s this time watch that appeared on the upper right of the screen, only giving you 20 seconds to hide… And I was so SCARED! I HATE TO BE PRESSURED!!! But I thought I should hide… QUICKLY!!!
Remembering the cupboard, since the description said it was big and all, maybe I could fit in there? And so I hid there…
The door opened and sure enough, it was that woman. She was holding a knife… Creeeeeeepy! She went to the second part off the room where the cabinet was (it’s where I was hiding) and she read the letter… Darien’s letter… She was laughing at first… Then she began to cry… Woah Crazy Woman! It was a little bit voiced… The dialogue said “Nooooooooooooo” But then you’ll hear the voice say “Iyaaaaaaaaaa”.
“No” in Japanese can be pronounced as “Iya” (i-ya). So the voicing was in Japanese, but don’t worry, you’ll understand the story since it’s in English.
Then she started to say “I’ll kill you” a lot of times!
The woman walked to the bathroom to search if Darien’s there. After that, she looked in the cupboard… *starts crying…
Bad End: I got stabbed with her knife because I have nothing to protect myself…
The time watch got me scared that the first thing that went on my mind is to hide… So making sure not to do that again… I loaded some saved slot and before hiding myself, I went to the kitchen first and took some knives.
If you go to the kitchen after the commotion on the door, you’ll have the option of what to pick: knives, spoon and fork, … ….. Of course you should pick Knives! What the hell!!!?
And so picking the knives, I made my way to the cupboard… History repeats itself and when the woman looked on the cupboard… The MC stabbed the girl!!!
I killed her…
Not that I want to, but it’s the way the game was written so don’t blame me…
Then the flashback started to appear… Lines from Darien’s letter…
And it was revealed that I was really the insane stalker that’s been hunting down Darien!!!
Such a wonderful story twist, huh? That’s the True End. If you’ll think about it, the best end for everyone is the Normal End.
Since in the Normal End, the stalker gave up on Darien. It’s definitely a happy ending for the couple… And maybe to the stalker, too. So she could find somebody new <*insert here Adele’s Someone Like You theme song>
The Bad End is really bad… For me… But not for the couple… Since I’m the one ruining their friendship… Even though I’m the bad guy here in the story… I don’t wanna die T_T
The True End is the worst end… But the perfect ending for the story… Since all questions were answered… All the truth revealed… And the twist is there! But it really is the creepiest end… In my personal opinion… (not the insane stalker’s opinion) Darien is the stupid fool who escapes with only himself and leaves his girl… Who does that though? I think he’s a coward for not facing the stalker, and leaving his beloved one… Never thinking that the stalker might already know their house. If he stayed with Mariko, he might have been able to save her, right?
And why does Mariko brings a knife with her? Maybe to defend herself? Does she already know about the stalker thing?
Mariko was misunderstood as the insane stalker, when it was really the MC (… me). Her dialogue were written in red… She laughs then cries then wants to kill me when she read the letter… She really looked insane, but once you understand the story, it all makes sense. She cries because Darien left and it turned to anger towards me… Although I’ll never understand why she laughs at times when there’s nothing funny… Could it be that Mariko is really insane?!!!! @_@
And that was it, folks!!! I wonder if I can also make an RPG style VN like this? I bet this wasn’t made with just Ren’Py? Anyway, thanks, Coren, for this short joy! My older brother will surely LOVE this VN!
I learned something about making super unexpected plot twists… Although I read something with the similar story idea… Search the manga Screaming Lessons: Bloody Valentine chapter, and the story is somewhat similar to this!
Anyway, I’ll try to make unexpected plot twists for my VNs! ❤