hTol#NiQ: The Firefly Diary Review (PC)

NIS America has been known for a wide variety of localized JRPG’s over the years, but over the past couple of years, they’ve started to introduce a couple new IPs. Dragons Crown, Rodea the Sky Soldier, and The Witch and The Hundred Knight are just some of the many examples, but with many of these games, their great ideas never truly come to fruition. And as yet another localization moves to a more accessible platform (Playstation Vita to PC), we’ll be taking a look to see if hToL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary goes leaps and bounds above the recent yet acceptable track record, or stays safe and placid.

Gameplay:

Mion’s world is never safe to say the least

While I do have deep appreciation for the Japanese role playing genre, it has been over saturated to a point where localizations can end up being duds. (See our review for Langrisser: Re Incarnation Tensei for reference) Yet, hToL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary isn’t a JRPG (instead a platformer) and it uses it to this advantage. One of the prime reasons for this is the game’s challenge and frightening aesthetic, which is all so unforgiving and so nearly compelling.

Story and Design:

One of the happier moments in the game

There’s no denying that hToL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary is a strange game, all the way from it’s title to the gameplay, and story. You’ll play as Mion, a child-like protagonist with some more animalistic features who is trying to explore her way in an unfamiliar world. It’s a tale as old as time, (Alice in Wonderland, anyone?) but hToL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary isn’t as tropey or overused. Instead, the whole game has these mysterious facets that linger throughout each playthrough. And even if you might get more and more frusturated at the tough puzzles and hard to handle controls, the engagement never truly fades away.

Presentation/ Visuals & Audio:

hToL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary is usually devoid of bright landscapes and beautiful color, but it’s symbolism is striking in this respect

hToL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary reminded me how well atmosphere and aesthetic can make a game, and the presentation, visuals, and audio all compliment this. The most dangerous obstacles and enemies will seem truly menacing, and the sense of dread stays with you even after failure. The audio for the most part is ambient, the world brown and grey. But the minimalist nature never feels cheap or ripped out of the book.

Conclusion:

hToL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary is a strong attempt at a new kind of Japanese take in the Western frontier. Not only is it missing most cliches that bring others down, but the game’s misery is tight like no other. Many other, more accessible games may claim this future title in the platforming landscape, but I’ll be happy when I remember that hToL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary was the first to plant flag.

hTol#NiQ: The Firefly Diary gets a 8/10 (Great)

We’d like to thank NIS America for sending us a code!

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