Disclaimer: I received this game for free from the publisher for a Steam curator page I run. For privacy reasons, I can’t say what that page is.
I’ve been cautiously optimistic about this game since the demo was released. On the one hand, the premise seems interesting, the demo was enjoyable enough, and it has some nice art.
On the other hand, I’ve disliked just about everything else I’ve played by Reine Works so far. Blossoms Bloom Brightest bored me. I hated all but one of the characters in The Seven Districts of Sin‘s demo. I generally don’t like stories that have homophobia in fantasy settings, even if the story is itself anti-homophobia, so that made the demo for The Wilting Amaranth leave a bad taste in my mouth. The demo for Our Lovely Escape was okay, but didn’t really inspire excitement in me for the full game.
But I’m not sure I’d call any of the stuff I played bad. There’s clearly been effort put into them. Maybe they’re just not to my taste. So, despite my previous experiences, I was willing to give Reflections ~Dreams and Reality~ a chance.
There’s some very good art; the backgrounds in particular (by DarkChibiShadow, who’s also a visual novel dev in their own right; I highly recommend Tomai) are stunning.
Case in point: Reina’s bedroom.
In a rarity, there are two different sets of sprites in the game, and it’s possible to switch between them at any time; Set A (the default) matches the main CGs, while Set B matches the chibi CGs. I personally find Set B to be much more expressive and fit better with the backgrounds, despite the CG incongruity. (Also, everyone’s taller in Set B for some reason.)
The game makes use of partial voice acting in the form of “grunts,” short phrases, and the like. I can’t say I’m a huge fan; I’d prefer either full voice acting or none at all. But I don’t dislike it enough to turn off the VA completely, which is good, because there’s no way to turn off the VA without also turning off the other sound effects (which are disproportionately loud compared to the voices; watch out if you’re wearing headphones).
Main characters (in order of introduction):
- Reina: The protagonist. She is known as the “Magic Mirror” because of her magical power to show people their true selves. However, said power takes an extreme physical and mental toll on her, and after having her power continually exploited in her childhood, she ran away to escape it.
- Solmaris: The protagonist’s best (and only) friend, a werecat whom Reina nursed to health after she found him injured as a child.
- Leo: An unfailingly-polite giant-slayer (as opposed to a giant slayer; he’s pretty much average for a human).
- Wynn: The son of the chief of a werewolf tribe. He’s the only LI to have three endings (good, bad, special) instead of two (good and bad).
- Ronah: The flirty, haughty queen of the frozen kingdom of Eisheim.
- Cara: A princess of an undersea kingdom. She’s an optimist who wants to abolish the concept of royalty in favor of democracy. She’s a little bit naïve (okay, a lot naïve).
- Thiria: A half-human dragonkin who’s self-conscious of how small her dragon form is and wants nothing more than to be able to live in human society.
- Sho: A mage with the power of exchange; he can grant people’s wishes for a price. He’s kind of a massive jerk.
- Blanc: The only son and heir of the Descartes family who owned Reina when she was a child, he is determined to protect her from his family. He doesn’t appear until the second common route.
- Peony: An extremely eccentric woman who’s convinced that Reina is a fortune teller. She also doesn’t appear until the second common route.
Whew, that’s a lot of characters. A problem games with lots of love interests can have is that they sacrifice content for variety; rather than taking a few LIs and fleshing them out a lot, they take a lot of LIs and only flesh them out a little, making the whole experience less satisfying. Does Reflections suffer from this problem too?