You wake up in a crumbling old mansion with no knowledge of who or where you are. A maid approaches you, promising to help you regain your memory by showing you stories of the previous owners of this mysterious house. Will you take her hand? This is the adventure that awaits you in The House in Fata Morgana, a Japanese visual novel game about fate, forgotten memories, and forgiveness.
In this review, we’ll explore this fantastical game and figure out whether it’s well worth the investment.
What Is The House in Fata Morgana?
What Kind of Game Is It?
If you like visual novel games, then The House in Fata Morgana is a great visual novel to check out. The game is set in various timelines that you will traverse into. Paired with great visuals, music, and sound effects, this indie game will make your experience all the more immersive.
Players will be put in the shoes of the Master of the enigmatic house and meet with the elusive Maid. Learn the sad, beautiful, and tragic stories of the figures behind the three doors and make careful decisions when the time is right.
Written by Keiko Hamada and illustrated by Moyataro, the game was developed for over a year and inspired by fantasy and gothic horror stories. Initially released by Novectacle in 2012 for Japan, The House in Fata Morgana was eventually made available internationally in 2016 by MangaGamer.
Although the game struggled to make sales during its localization, its unique storyline made it beloved to visual novel fans all around the world, garnering a cult following.
You can get this game on Steam for Windows users. For Nintendo Switch players, you will get a release for The House in Fata Morgana: Dreams of the Revenants Edition, which contains all three games available to play, along with updated graphics and art.
A physical edition will also be available for the Switch that you can pre-order.
The House in Fata Morgana Review
The House in Fata Morgana is best delved into without knowing what to expect. Those who play visual novels for the story will greatly enjoy the elaborate storyline in this game.
Without spoiling too much of the plot, this game revolves around the titular House you find yourself in, rumored to be haunted by a witch. Within the confines of this house is a rich history full of romance, regret, and revenge. The Maid will take you over to three rooms in the house, each holding significance over three (or more) generations worth of house owners. By telling you the stories behind the doors, the Maid hopes that you will learn to reclaim your identity as the Master of the house.
Behind the First Door lies the story of two wealthy siblings and a rose garden — they seem closer than they make it out to be. In the Second Door, a ravaging Beast finds its peace when around an odd-looking girl. And in the Third Door, a married couple in a booming technological age is torn apart by ambition and hunger for power. You must listen to each story and decide how you fit into the grand scheme of things, and change the hands of fate.
Like most visual novels, The House in Fata Morgana is a simple choice-based game. You only need to click whenever you make a choice. Many other visual novels, such as Emily as Away or even the Doki Doki Literature Club, take advantage of simple formats like this and create unique gimmicks for more interesting gameplay.
And while those certainly work for those games, the House in Fata Morgana works well with the traditional format, letting you pay attention more to the story and the characters. To take things further, there are even time-based choices where you need to make swift decisions; and each choice you make may lead to various endings, which has great replayability potential.
Hearing “visual novel,” you would usually expect anime-style graphics, pastel colors, and cute characters. The House in Fata Morgana takes a slightly different approach to this with its art direction.
With its gothic horror style, the art in this game gives it an overall eerie vibe. Although it may look like a horror game, it’s far from it. Nevertheless, art director Moyataro wanted a more realistic look to take on the seriousness of the game’s story.
The sound design in The House of Fata Morgana is impeccable. Everything, from the soundtrack and the sound effects, affects your immersion in the game greatly. It adds an element to the game, making it feel like an interactive storybook.
Horseshoes clopping on cobblestoned streets will take you straight to the 1800s. Plus, hearing Petalouda will make you feel nostalgic about a time you’ve never been to. Soon, you’ll even be smelling the roses of the infamous rose garden. The carefully thought-out score gets perfectly paced in time with your gameplay.
Other Games in the Series
Although elaborate enough on its own, the story of The House in Fata Morgana doesn’t end there. Developers subsequently released a prequel and a sequel so that we get to spend more time with beloved characters.
The House in Fata Morgana: Requiem for Innocence
In this harrowing prequel, we get to know the story behind The House in Fata Morgana. This tells the full story of how the house gets “cursed.” And, how a young girl with good intentions gets mistaken for a witch.
The game is available to play individually on Steam, or as part of the Dreams of the Revenants Edition available for Switch.
The House in Fata Morgana: Reincarnation
Set after you’ve achieved the true ending in the game, this promising sequel extends the tale that we know and love. We get to see what becomes of our favorite characters and whether history will repeat itself yet again.
As of writing, you can only get this game individually for the PS Vita and PS4. You can also get it on Switch as part of the Dreams of the Revenants Edition.
The House in Fata Morgana: Final Verdict
In The House in Fata Morgana, the story is the star. What elevates it as a visual novel is that it’s the best platform to consume this story. You get to read the masterful writing, see the visuals, and hear the beautiful soundtrack. Thus immersing you into the story and the world of the Master, the Maid, and Morgana. You get to empathize with each character, helping you make calculated decisions towards the latter half.
Overall, this simple yet wonderful visual novel is one of the best ones out there. It’s definitely worth checking out.