Being the superhero/comic book guy here at the office I do like my graphic novels. It should be no surprise that I get involved in a game that is clearly stated to be an “interactive graphic novel”. Game developer Nova-Box appears to be the developer king of narrative indie games. Their website alone sites at least possibly five such games, of those five we will be able to vouch for two of them. In this review, we’ll cover 2016’s Along The Edge which now sees a port to the Nintendo Switch. While the concept of an “interactive graphic novel” might not appeal to all gamers, those that take some downtime to investigate Along The Edge should be pleasantly pleased. Welcome to our Nintendo Switch review of Along The Edge!
Along The Edge is a visual, interactive novel set in the French countryside. In this “game”, if you can call it that, your choices alter the main character’s personality and appearance.
The story is told from mostly a first-person perspective, that of a Ph.D. student named Daphné. Daphné recently split up with her boyfriend Frank. She seems uncertain about her current life and future and she decides that perhaps she needs more. Then life throws her a curve-ball or perhaps an “opportunity”. She learns of her grandmother’s passing and that she has inherited a castle in the countryside. She takes this as an omen, or opportunity, to start anew. Daphné takes on a job as a substitute teacher and decides to make the “big move”. She goes from a town she grew up in, to a French village where her ancestors have lived for generations and have some baggage. As she makes herself at home, she begins to unravel an unsettling history filled with supernatural/occult undertones.
While the concept of an interactive graphic novel might seem mundane to some, Nova-Box spares no expense at making Along The Edge a fulfilling experience. The developers state that there is enough here to be the equivalent of two years of a typical comic-book series. The development team has integrated over 450 hand-made full-screen illustrations and 20 characters with over 400 different variants and attitudes. There are many points within the story that you as the reader need to make a choice. These choices can alter the personality and appearance of Daphné which includes 38 possible appearance variants.
The amount of text in Along The Edge has been quoted at 80,000 words in English which translates into a 400-page hard copy novel! So yes if you’re not much of a reader then it’s probably best to move on to another game. The extent of the gaming here is listening to beautiful piano music, reading, select the “A” button to advance the text, make a decision occasionally, rinse, and repeat.
The game boasts 60 different endings as well as 28 achievements to unlock. Your on-screen choices will change how the plot ends (6 possibilities), as well as the destiny of Daphné (4 possibilities), Daphné’s romantic relationships (3 possibilities), and several smaller plot points that could result in the life or death of some supporting characters.
A Safe Bet
In Along The Edge there are no wrong choices. However the sum of your choices leads to different scenarios, but there is no “losing” in this game. When you make a decision that affects Daphné’s personality then one or more of the four symbols at the top of the screen will light up.
The game runs perfectly fine in handheld mode making this “novel” game a great companion on the train. There was never an issue reading text while undocked. The interface uses the “L” button to bring up a recap of the dialogue in the current chapter. There is also no manual saving, the game automatically saves so you can quit and re-enter at any point in the story.
Quibbles And Bits
There isn’t much to complain about in Along The Edge if you know what you’ve gotten yourself into. The biggest complaint is that you can’t go back in time and easily change a choice. You would need to replay the game from the start making all the same choices to get to the one you want to change. You can easily fly through text by holding the “A” button but this seems cumbersome.
Another minor quibble is some decision trees start out with three choices and as you pick one the choices diminish. When you get down to just one and the only decision you still need to select that decision either with the D-pad or via touch.
The story material won’t be everyone’s “cup of tea” as it deals with some mystery, romantic relationships and the supernatural. Even so, this interactive novel is one even non-gaming book readers should be able to enjoy if they can get their hands onto a Nintendo Switch!
Note: Our copy was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch with a code provided by PR.
COMPARE TO: Seers Isle