As the saying goes, dead men tell no tales. They only leave tales behind.
Toma Andrews, aged 14, has always felt like an outsider. She enjoys spending time in graveyards, and feels more comfortable among the dead than the living.
That is, until Toma meets a strange girl in her local graveyard who might be a real ghost.
The girl asks Toma if she will stay for a while and listen to a story. A story about a girl called Emmeline Burns, who died a tragic death back in 1851.
Toma is compelled to listen, but at the same time, she feels uneasy. After all, what can she do? How could she ever hope to help somebody who has already died?
The Sad Story of Emmeline Burns is a short, free-to-play kinetic visual novel released by ebi-hime (Asphyxia, The Way We ALL GO, Strawberry Vinegar), and it’s available on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux via Steam. With the latest patch the game also includes Steam achievements, so for those interested in a short yuri-VN and some easy achievements, this is a solid choice.
Reading the synopsis and the title of the game will already tell most players how the story will ultimately pan out, and as such there are no twists that would be unexpected, but as the whole package works nicely, this is not a major flaw. Reading through it all will take between an hour or two, depending on your reading speed, and due to the kinetic nature of the game, there is really no replay value, but after completing The Sad Story of Emmeline Burns for the first time, players are served a little extra scene for some more.
Artwork is very beautiful, and while it’s completely understandable that some might find it overly cute, it fits the theme of the novel very neatly. The occasional little animation in the background also adds a nice touch of life to them, despite the backgrounds looking very good and varied to begin with.
Biggest problem with the game are the lackluster sound effects used. Not only do they sound very muddy, they’re way too loud by default, and overall hardly add anything to the experience anyway. Otherwise the audio does its job, and while there is nothing memorable in the soundtrack, it manages to keep up the mood just well enough.
The Sad Story of Emmeline Burns is a pretty solid choice for someone wanting a short and free visual novel experience, and its biggest flaws lie in quite bad sound effect selection and the fact that the story is pretty obvious from reading the mere synopsis of the game. These are not glaring issues, so if you have an hour or two free and a craving for a non-sexual yuri story, this is your game.