Xbox Series X/S Review: The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel

Can you survive the secrets of Ermengarde Mansion?

When seven people fall prey to a vicious curse, they discover that the true threat rests not within the shadows, but within their own hearts and minds. The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel is an interactive horror-themed drama inspired by classic Asian horror films. Told through an immersive branching narrative, the game casts players in the ever-shifting roles of seven characters as they find themselves entangled in a mystery that’s plagued Ermengarde Mansion for centuries. The choices you make will shape and drive the story forward. Will you mend a relationship on the verge of collapse, or will you let it fall apart? Will you risk saving someone despite the consequences you could face or leave them to meet a gruesome end? Beyond the horror themes of The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel, there is heavy emphasis on character development and interaction. The fate of each of these individuals is in your hands.

The Letter is a visual novel with a horror narrative, plus plenty of mystery to go around. The game itself also has QTE’s (which can be skipped) and choices that have the potential to change the outcome for characters to either live or die. The story is interesting and there are a number of jump scares to be found, which I wasn’t expecting from a visual novel type of game. It can definitely be unsettling at times, not knowing what the next line of dialogue would reveal or if something were to happen when you hit the button to move to the next event.

The confusing thing is that this game came out on PC/Android/iOS back in 2017, so why bring it to Xbox and Switch nearly 4 and a half years later? I don’t have the answer to that, nor why it hasn’t hit PS4 or PS5 either. Maybe it’ll head there shortly afterwards but it’s just another mystery.

As with most visual novels, the game is on the short side, but this does have different paths that will make replaying it an interesting journey. You can skip most of the dialogue if you just want to boost your Gamerscore, but you would be missing out on one hell of a story, one that will stick with me for quite some time.

The characters themselves look a bit anime in design, but it works for the most part. The actual locations and other supernatural elements a definitely more on the darker, grittier side of things. Voice-acting in these types of games are usually hit and miss, but I was impressed overall and the soundtrack definitely has a creepy sinister tone to it, adding to the atmosphere.

The Verdict

While not breaking new ground in the visual novel genre, The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel is still a truly memorable game with story elements that will stick with me for years to come. Definitely not one to let slip by if you like these types of games.

Score: 7.5