Lighthouse of guiding flames is a fantasy visual novel with mystery and horror elements. It features the female protagonist Ethani who, over the course of 12 days, tells her story where she is chosen as a human sacrifice to appease a vengeful god in her remote village, goes to a lighthouse run by the keeper Astaban, meets a few people, and moves on in her life (or afterlife).
The story starts off slow at first as it recounts Ethani's story backwards from day 12 to 1. Then it gets better in the second part where her story is told from day 1 to day 12, and the player gets to choose various dialogue options leading to several different endings. I like the part where each choice towards a specific route has a special colour to help players reach that ending (yellow for run away, orange for fight, and red for accept fate). There also is a compass icon that will show the player's inclination towards a particular route and ending. And finally there is a published community guide to help players get all endings and achievements. In terms of artwork, it has a variety of nice, cute, and spooky CGs. The background music is good and appropriate for most of the scenes. I especially like Timeless shore, Endless minute, and Guiding flame for the fantasy themes, as well as I'll save you during the good endings as they feel rewarding.
There are a few cons though. I have come across a number of spelling errors during my playthrough in which some of them completely change the meaning, which detracts from the experience, although some of the patch note announcements have reported that the developer and translators are fixing them. In addition, none of the endings truly feel satisfying in the sense that there is no perfect ending. The hardest ending and achievement Persistence Lights the Way can be difficult to figure out without referring to the guide, and it feels more disappointing than satisfying after attempting multiple playthroughs of the game.
Lastly, I purchased the soundtrack DLC on Steam but was disappointed to receive a blank folder and Steam music player wouldn't play any of the BGM. Hopefully, the developer can address this major fault sometime in the future.
After spending around 3 hours to get all endings and achievements, Lighthouse of guiding flames is an interesting supernatural visual novel with plenty of background music and artwork at a reasonable price, although with a few faults. Therefore, I can recommend this game when it is at a discount to be more proportional to the playing time, or when the English translation is improved. With that being said, I do not recommend buying the soundtrack DLC on Steam until this major fault is addressed.
Initial gameplay video on YouTube by TheMidcoreGamer
- Plenty of attractive, comical, and some spooky artwork
- Nice and fitting BGM
- Good story with plot twists, surprises and funny moments
- Tracks player progress towards a route and ending
- Easy achievements
- Reasonable price
- A few spelling errors
- One particular ending can be difficult to figure out without plenty of guessing or referring to a guide
- None of the endings are particularly satisfying
- Soundtrack DLC is non-existent in Steam version
- Limited profile features in Steam version