Mahou Tsukai no Yoru Demo: House on Haunted Hill

SPOILERS! I played the Mahou Tsukai no Yoru demo and enjoyed it immensely. I know this is s shocking development that no one could have seen coming but it is true. Mahou Tsukai no Yoru is the newest Type-Moon visual novel that comes out on April 12th. Mahou Tsukai no Yoru is based on an early unreleased novel by Kinoko Nasu and takes what can be seen as the foundation of the Type-Moon universe and turns it into a visual novel. It stars Aozaki Aoko and looks at her before she became the force of nature that is the Magic Gunner Miss Blue that we have come to love in Tsukihime and Melty Blood. Type Moon recently released a demo of the upcoming game that got a surprisingly fast English patch. I finally decided to sit down and test it out before the game came out.

My goodness this is a gorgeous game. It is worth checking out just for the beautiful backgrounds. The majority of the story seems to revolve around the house on a hill where the three main characters live and it is an amazingly little mansion with a breathtaking view. It might be blasphemous to say that it has Makoto Shinkai levels of delicate and beautiful backgrounds that make the setting a character of its own but I will say it anyway. There is also a good deal more animation in the visual novel as a whole. The character sprites move more and there is more of a sense of visual direction. It is still more of a picture book on the computer than an anime but it takes more advantage of being on a digital medium. The opening shows how far Type-Moon has come since its humble origins. I am a little sad to see that Takashi Takeuchi is not doing the main artwork but Koyama Hirokazu has been with the company for a while now and can draw quite the attractive character.

The demo itself goes out of its way to give you a broad idea what the game is about with spoiling any major plot points. It has five segments of the story. Interestingly enough the opening is the last story to be shown. The other 4 segments each focus on one of the three main characters.  It gives you a good sense of who the characters driving the story are and the setting without giving away too much of the story.  You know that Aoko and Alice are witches who hide their supernatural talents and have a somewhat Odd Couple banter.  Sojuro is a sheltered boy from the mountains who has inadvertently got mixed up with these two women. There will also be some magical ass kicking going on. But the overall arc of the plot has still not been revealed. I have to say it is a pretty smart way to do a demo. It gives you enough of the feel of the setting and the pattern of the writing to know if you are going to enjoy the game but allows you to go in with many secrets to learn.

While we don’t see much of them we do get a decent impression of the main cast of Mahou Tsukai no Yoru. Aoko is still a student of life and magic in this game as opposed to wizened mentor we see in Tsukihime. But at the same time she still has the vibrant ferociousness she had when she met Shiki. She has that earnest charm that made her stand out in her first appearance but with a distinctly fresher look on life. Alice on the other hand took a little more for me to warm up to her character. She comes off as a very flat Rei Ayanami styled character but as the demo goes on it is clear that she is a quirky multidimensional character. It just takes a little time for her nuances to unfold. If nothing else she seems to be a powerful summoner. Sojuro is pleasant enough if somewhat well-worn in his naive but hardworking stereotype. I am curious how much his martial arts skill will factor into things. You don’t really see it in the demo but it has the distinct ability to make his character more interesting. The only other character we get a real look at is Kumari Kojika. She really reminded me of Taiga Aisaka from Toradora. Since Mahou Tsukai no Yoru is the far older story I have to wonder if the similarity is a coincidence or did they modify Kumari’s character to be more like Taiga for this adaptation?

It is nice to see after several delays that Mahou Tsukai no Yoru is finally done. Type-Moon fans have been aware for quite a while that there was a detailed back story to the enigmatic Aozaki Aoko but now it is finally being revealed to us. I am most curious about the fact that Aozaki Touko will be in this story. The story of the sisters falling out is often hinted at but has never been fully explained. I am also curious if we will get the details of what exactly is the 5th True Magic. I wonder if we will get the full story here or just more hints. Either way I enjoyed what I played and cannot wait to tear into the full story.

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