Cover artwork from CNGal.org
Dream Ending is a kinetic visual novel by #workshop and NVLMaker. This game features an unnamed male protagonist, and his neighbor and classmate Eva. They are the last survivors in their neighborhood after the sun was predicted to end all life on Earth, where most of the inhabitants have already left the planet or died. Faced with the inevitable, the protagonist has taken to researching any exam scripts he can find as a form of escape, whereas Eva yearns for his attention and wants him to spend more time with her during their final days.
Originally I stopped playing the game on my first playthrough as players posted spoilers in the Steam community hub alluding to a sad ending. However, I decided to return to the game when the English translation became available. Now that I have had a chance to complete the story, I have to say the plot is the weakest aspect of this visual novel. A post-apocalyptic story is supposed to reveal remnants of humanity, elements of human nature, and the innate desire to survive. Dream Ending does not include any of this. The only characters in the entire story are the protagonist and Eva. One is obsessed with a pointless task, the other is obsessed with him, with neither making any real effort to live longer, or improve their lot in life. There are also a number of spelling and grammar errors that might make this visual novel more difficult to read through although the story is still understandable.
Conversely, the game has cute and attractive artwork for the game cover, character sprites, CGs, Steam achievements, badges, and profile backgrounds that can be used to showcase on Steam profiles. I would have preferred the heroine in this game to have a variety of outfits rather than just two outfits used throughout the entire visual novel though.
Overall, Dream Ending won't break new ground for attempting to be novel, or give readers any compelling reasons to root for the characters in the story. On the other hand, the game has nice artwork with standard profile features, and it can simply be skipped and fast forwarded to get all Steam achievements. The developer has also attracted a lot of interest in its other game Tiny Snow prior to this game's release, and the translation team for this game has announced it is working on Tiny Snow and Epiphyllum in Love next. I have to say this game is not for everyone as it is a kinetic visual novel that does not have a happy ending. If you don't mind this and would like to support the developer and translation team with any of the other upcoming titles, Dream Ending is recommended when it is at discount and is more proportional to the playing time of 2 hours.
Initial Chinese gameplay playthrough with author narration and commentary by 黑天