Run Away is another in a recent string of Russian made visual novels. This one has been featured in a recent Indie Gala bundle, which is how it found its way into my collection. Set up as a teen slasher type story, it looked interesting enough to give a try. So how was it? Let’s find out.
The story in Run Away is pretty simple. Five (not six as the game description states…although as a funny side note: even the product page picture only features five people despite it saying six in the description directly beneath the picture) teens get together at a remote cabin. Ostensibly, it is to celebrate the life of their dead friend Tommy. However, none of them really seems interested in broaching the topic of his death and in fact avoid it at all costs in favor of getting drunk and laid. One by one, very quickly, the friends are killed off. Whodunnit? It’s so cliche I won’t even bother avoiding a potential spoiler. Obviously one of the friends, conspiring with the angry spirit of their dead friend (or at least, that psychotic friend believes he or she is seeing the spirit of Tommy) to kill off the rest of their group, whose negligence lead to Tommy’s demise.
So, cliche story. Additionally, the writing (or translation…possibly both) is pretty bad. In fact, the writing is so bad that the authors couldn’t even be bothered to keep the characters names straight or gender consistent. Kim is sometimes Charlie, Rin is sometimes Emma, Ai is sometimes a guy and sometimes a girl. The list is vast, and that is saying something considering the game only takes a half hour to play through. Only the dark spirit of Tommy (which I suppose technically counts as the sixth teen, although that is a generous concession on my part), Kei and Yuki seem to be the same the entire way through. However, apparently Yuki is Mediterranean and not Asian despite her name and appearance. Just add it to the list of inconsistencies.
Mildly interesting but ultimately a failure in writing and storytelling. Please at the very least keep the names of your six total characters straight when writing a story….for the love of all things holy!!!
1 out of 10
The gameplay in Run Away is as simple as clicking through scenes. There are no branching paths, no choices to made, nada. You are truly just turning pages in a short story, as it were. It is worth noting that you also have to click through transition screens (which are blank). You might expect the next frame to be loading, but that isn’t the case here. Anyway, that is literally everything there is as it pertains to gameplay. I won’t judge it too harshly since it technically does everything it is supposed to, but that also doesn’t make it good, per se.
4 out of 10
The graphics in Run Away are its saving grace. Not that I would call them phenomenal by any means, but they are nicely drawn and actually quite detailed. It’s actually an interesting study in contrast. The writing and story was abysmal, but some nice attention to detail was offered with the artwork. A fair use of color and artist stroke make this a visually pleasing game with some very interesting frames. The characters were likewise well done. Although not intended to actually convey emotion, the character models were all nice to look at.
7 out of 10
The audio in Run Away was basically all creepy and yet cool music with odd sounds mixed in. This was an above average effort as well. There wasn’t a lot of diversity in the audio track at all, but then again, the game is only a half hour long, so more wasn’t really needed.
5.5 out of 10
As a small part of a much larger bundle, Run Away is a decent acquisition. It won’t take you much in the way of time to complete and you won’t likely regret your decision to play it (nor bemoan the 30 cents or so you will have paid to do so). However, that does not make this a good game by any stretch of the imagination. If the developer simply took the time to work out the very real issues with the story itself however, this could have been a pretty cool teen slasher type visual novel. Instead, it just ends up being a short time filler. Really the epitome of unfulfilled vision.