Ever since Aliya joined Airis’ Vassals as a warrior, she has been devoted to her cause of protecting her country from the creatures that, having lost their senses due to a strange plague, started attacking the cities years ago. Constantly training in dungeons and working to improve herself, she believes she can become one of the best warriors in the kingdom. Unfortunately, there is just one little problem — lately, Aliya has been suffering from blackouts, waking up in different locations with no memory of what happened. Fearful of what this means and what may be happening to her, Aliya is determined to get to the bottom of her strange condition. During her search for a cure for her affliction, she might just discover more than she expected — about her friends, her beloved country and the plague that threw the country into chaos in the first place.
★ ☆ ✰ Rating: 8/10
After some time, I finally sat down and played AIRIS, and I am happy to say that this game took me for a ride. First off, I should say that the GUI does a good job in welcoming the player to the world of AIRIS since it is sort of adventure-based, but it feels a bit darker once the player learns the through behind everything that is going on. However, it is cute to see the bear be part of the aesthetic as well. The cast is very diverse and their attire fits the “class” that they are supposed to be in. The backgrounds are very detailed and it is just surprising that all of this was done in a month! However, the story isn’t what someone might be expecting.
The player is introduced to AIRIS through Aliya’s eyes, a young, hardworking, and sometimes impulsive vassal working for the kingdom, who hunts down monsters and takes requests that are sent to the guild. However, she seems to be having blackouts as of recently and she tries her hardest to find the reason why. Her friends, Everea and Lyall, try their best to help her, but they seem to be hiding their own set of secrets as well. At the same time, she meets Kylan –a retired vassal– who doesn’t seem very trustworthy, but promises to help her find a cure to her blackouts. As she discovers the truth and that it runs all the way up to the King of AIRIS, but all in the name of the country she loves so dear, Aliya is going to have to make some tough choices for both her duty and her newfound love.
Aliya is a hardworking and cheerful vassal that cares deeply about her country, which is shown in her earlier actions though she doesn’t remember them anymore. With her friends, she likes to tease them but she is also very emotional after everything that she learns and isn’t from cutting them off for awhile. Everea, Lyall, and Kylan all care about Aliya in their own ways, while doing their best to protect her in different ways but they can’t really be together until everything has been cleared. Everea’s route deals more with players and their connections to AIRIS and how it effects people like Aliya. Kylan’s route deals more with the tension between AIRIS and the “other world”, as well as how to make amends for past mistakes. Finally, Lyall’s route deals with more of AIRIS’ side of the situation and how it has effected the King and the people in the long run. All of them handle different aspects of the story, but Aliya is the one with the final choice about how things will end in some cases for everyone.
The game also does a good job in world building, as the player comes to learn a bit more about AIRIS and its characters through each route. All the characters seems to have a strong backgrounds, though this is shown more in Lyall’s and Kylan’s routes. It is also good to see that Aliya has her own set background and that its aftereffects are something that she still struggles with. The story also does its best to explain everything through the different viewpoints of the story. Yes, there is a strong explanation as to why the people of AIRIS picked a certain path, but there is also a POV to the other world and why they are looking towards AIRIS –even if it might not seem like the best– and even the king’s own motivations are looked at and questioned in certain points of the story.
The game is very ambitious for what it could achieve during the one month limit of Nanoreno and I think that it showcases everything very well. All the character are diverse and likable, while the story is interesting though it does take a little while to lift of the ground, even with the constant revelations. Though, I do feel that both Kylan and Lyall have stronger routes in terms of character interactions and story development. Yet, it is great to just a dating sim game with diverse group of characters!