The Midnight Sanctuary
Top Critic Average
The Midnight Sanctuary is certainly not what I expected. I will always applaud any game – or graphic novel – which teaches the audience something new. Educating the player about the history of Japanese Christianity, even if just in passing, is commendable. However, as an experience, The Midnight Sanctuary is a little too slow and disjointed to be truly gripping.
There is no doubt in my mind The Midnight Sanctuary will find an audience. Fans of CAVYHOUSE and Carpe Fulgur may give it a chance out of loyalty and visual novel aficionados may pick it up out of curiosity. This is not a game for a more general audience. Hell, I have been playing visual novels since before they became popular in the west, and I had trouble sticking with it. Lots of strange choices were made in this game, and all of them made it more difficult for me to connect with the story and its characters. I imagine others will feel similarly. But hey, people who enjoy constantly shifting and awkward camera angles, a storyline that takes about an hour and a half to really start getting good, and playing peek-a-boo with a stylized crane will definitely dig it.
Overall, The Midnight Sanctuary's mind-boggling, yet ambitious, storyline failed to impress me. The visual novel could be developed further to improve replayability and entertainment value. Kudos on trying to use 3D graphics in visual novels, but the graphics and pace of the storyline needed much more work, so that it increased the visual novel's quality.
The Midnight Sanctuary isn't worth the gamer's time or money. Neither good or bad, there are better options available on the market to spend your time or money on.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
The Midnight Sanctuary is most definitely not for everyone, but if you would like to try something different in the visual novel genre with a dash of horror and Japanese culture thrown in for good measure, then this is certainly a good pick. With a handful of hours of gameplay in total, it is certainly worth the price – not to mention you can go back and re-watch your favorite scenes with the log feature!
In the end result, while I didn’t love everything about The Midnight Sanctuary, I do feel it’s a story worth experiencing. There’s a lot of poorly designed elements, but they are outweighed by the good. For $9.99, you get a 3 hour adventure that’s perfect for playing while you’re trying to unwind. There are plenty of quirky and interesting characters, and a subtly unnerving plot here. Despite wishing the ending was less abrupt, I do feel the main story gets resolved. I just wish there was more story to draw us further into the strange village of Daiusu. If you enjoy VNs or just want to support a strange story this Halloween season, you might enjoy The Midnight Sanctuary.
The Midnight Sanctuary is a hidden gem from 2018 which deserves a lot more credit than it got. Upon launch, the game was a treat to play with its eerie setting and uneasy atmosphere, yet the free PSVR patch added a whole new perspective to the story as you get up close and personal with the big-headed protagonist and relive her tale as her guide to the village. The game itself isn’t horrific, terrifying, or scary but it will leave you feeling a bit freaked out and disturbed as you uncover more about the village you’re currently residing within. Visually, it may look simple, but in motion, the game looks a lot more colourful and psychedelic, VR mode emphasises this and turns the whole thing into a visual treat for your eyes!
The characters offer nothing to care for or get attached to and the plot’s pacing is an absolute mess, wrapping up without answering the majority of its own questions. The visual presentation is much the same, an interesting experiment that ends up being an eyesore.
It'll take you less than four hours to finish The Midnight Sanctuary and at times it is a struggle to see it through, especially that first chapter, but when it gets into the plot there is something interesting here using Japan's history with Christianity as the backbone of a supernatural thriller.