Mothmen 1966 is a visual novel from LCB Game Studio that’s being published by Chorus Worldwide Games for all major systems. We checked out the PlayStation 4 version for this review.
We don’t cover that many visual novels, but there was a phase where we got really into them. This was when Steins;Gate, Zero Escape and Danganronpa came to the PlayStation Vita, and provided a break from the norm – which to us was the anime-inspired visual novel that’s so popular in Japan, often with overly long plot lines.
At only two hours in length, Mothmen 1966 certainly doesn’t suffer from this, and its story is an unusual one for visual novels – or most genres, for that matter. It takes place in and around a gas station in 1966, with some pretty average characters. There’s gas station attendant Holt, a college couple called Lee and Victoria and a few minor characters. Before too long, a mysterious trio of men dressed in black enter the gas station, and the story takes a turn for the bizarre, with the arrival of the titular mothmen and various plotlines (including the one about Lee and Victoria) all converging upon what’s happening at this gas station and the surrounding area.
To break up the pace of the visual novel, the game regularly introduces short sequences and puzzles for you to solve. None of these pose too much of a challenge, so if you’re mostly interested in the story you can pretty much always head back to it very quickly. You progress through the narrative by press x to continue or select a choice you’re given, but having played through the game twice it doesn’t feel like Mothmen 1966 branches out as much as other stories do – it’s fairly focused in where it wants to take you.
While the story is weird but entertaining, it’s the art style that’s especially striking here. Mothmen 1966 stays far away from the usual look and feel of a visual novel by using a pixelated 1980s home computer graphics style. It may be a low detail look (which doesn’t help in ‘action’ sequences), but it gives it a rare retro flair that we don’t often see in the genre, and the visuals have a nice old timey B-movie feel to them with their 4-color palette. The sound effects could have been a bit more atmospheric for our liking though, to bring the vibe more to life than it currently does.
This is a short but memorable visual novel though, and even those new to the genre should consider it because its short length and captivating story makes it a safe journey to embark on. And it’s a pretty crazy ride, with a story that never drags.