Shan Gui is in essence a pleasant walk in the park with some subtle character development and plenty of descriptive imagery used in the text to accompany the setting. It’s extremely short I beat it in exactly 46 minutes. The pace is deliberately ponderous and reflective which is put to great use during the slightly tragic climax of the story.
The characters look a tad off, whilst the general anime style in visual novels has disproportionate characters this one seems to take it further by making the arms thinner and hands smaller. The facial features look a little under detailed and the characters don’t quite meld with the landscape. As for the backgrounds they are lush with a tremendous amount of detail on lighting and shadowing. There is also a decent variety of locales within the tropical setting, giving us a sense of the history from the use of old statues and other landmarks.
There are some great ambient sounds such as cicadas, birds, and plenty of tranquil environmental noises. The BGM itself uses a lot of meditative piano to set the mood. The tracks themselves however can tend to clip a little harshly when repeating. Although the music helps to set the tone fairly well it isn’t memorable. The voice acting for the characters is a little underwhelming both in terms of their performances and the low quality of the actual recording, suggesting this was not recorded using professional equiptment.
This is a standard kinetic visual novel, meaning there are no choices to be made by the player and no puzzles to solve. The game does have controller support which is handy for comfort when you will only be using a single button. It features achievements which don’t really add anything, and are in fact a little distracting. There is also the standard assortment of extras like artwork to examine from certain scenes and the ability to replay any song from the soundtrack. Shan Gui is an enjoyable, peaceful little game with very beautiful backgrounds and likeable characters.
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