~ Welcome to Hermitage! ~
But beware: Ye who enters here might start questioning reality as they know it…Investigate mysterious cases by taking on the role of a less than motivated bookshop owner, a former anthropology professor who for unknown reasons has never been seen outside of his bookstore. With the help of a hacker genius on the run, a self-proclaimed detective, and a short-tempered legal consultant, you must get to the bottom of a row of horrific incidents, bearing in mind the supernatural horrors that lurk within the pages of Hermitage’s Lovecraftian book collection.
Hermitage is a visual novel type of game, with plenty of text-heavy emphasis among choices that dictate the way the story path is determined. There’s also a level of detective work to be done as you collect clues, get leads, link, and analyse characters and events, and even check character backstories if you reach a dead end in your investigation.
The stories themselves are well written and will please fans of Lovecraft, which highly influences the supernatural theme of the game. I’ll say that Hermitage isn’t going to be for everyone though, as it takes a while to get going and because it is so text-heavy, I can see some players unfortunately losing interest before the pay-off. It’s a shame because the stories are great, they just have a few pacing issues that might make gamers tune out.
The art style of the visual novel is quite typical of what you would expect, and there’s plenty of Lovecraftian art to be found here. It’s nothing ground-breaking, but it does look impressive overall. The soundtrack is also impressive, adding to the creepy and supernatural atmosphere.
While not reinventing the genre, Hermitage: Strange Case Files is a solid visual novel with some great writing that Lovecraft fans will love. It’s just a shame that the pacing may make players give up before it gets good.