First impressions are not always everything; take Kira for instance. Late to your first day of college, you stop and stare at her in awe of her perfect features. Sure, your classmates snicker as you feel love at first sight in such a foppish way, but you can’t help yourself. You immediately assume she is perfect. The rest of the story of Always the Same Blue Sky is about spending time with Kira, learning about her hopes and dreams, uncovering her story, and setting off into the future together. But you’ll quickly learn that your first impression may have been a bit misguided. I think the same applies for the game itself.
At the start of this visual novel by Crimson Night, the player is given the choice between playing as a male or a female. The difference is negligible as both characters meet Kira and fall hopelessly in love. Most of the story unwinds in a fairly linear fashion, but every now and then the player is able to make a choice. Be careful, your choices heavily affect the outcome of the story and so I encourage you to play a consistent character throughout the game. The weight of the ending will be that much more impressive if you do. Some of the choices seem innocent enough, but a lot of time and attention was put into how Kira would react to each scenario. From what I saw while playing through twice, her character is portrayed very well. There weren’t any instances were I felt an action was out of place or out of character. All to often, that is not the case.
The two most important parts of a visual novel are right there in the name: what does it look like and what story does it tell? The backgrounds of each vignette in the story are wonderfully drawn, although I would have liked to see more of them. For instance, the bedroom scene near the beginning of the story stays for quite awhile before we jump over to the school. I would have enjoyed a view down the hall, or perhaps even of the front of the apartment building. However, I do understand how much time and attention had to go into the creation of these. The effort pays off overall as the game looks stunning.
As for the story, there’s not much more I can say about it without giving spoilers, but I was entertained enough to play through a second time. The difference in the dialogue after making an alternate choice is great and the things you pick up once you know where the story is heading can be very interesting indeed. I highly recommend experiencing the game at least twice if only for that. However, there are also a number of easter eggs hidden around the game. It’s little details like this which made Always the Same Blue Sky really stand out for me.
The game, like it’s main character, is not without flaws though. In its attempt to be poetically descriptive, some passages come across as forced or overly flowery. A nice metaphor can do wonders for a story, but a string of them rapid fire as you’re trying to read is just obnoxious. Most of the game strikes a nice balance, but more than a few scenes had me groaning at the prose used. Despite this, the game largely does a great job of setting the scene and building emotion. I immensely enjoyed both the endings I experienced on my two playthroughs and I recommend anyone looking for a quick but enjoyable visual novel to give this game a try!