Written By: Lauren
Upon searching for more visual novels to play on the Play Store, I uncovered this gem: “White Island: A Flower Unto Death.”
“White Island” is an interactive visual novel reliant on puzzle-solving and quick-thinking to uncover mysteries. Produced by Visual Shower, “White Island” has been translated from Korean into English, opening the game to a wider audience. It’s a mystery-thriller adventure story, with a good amount of horror thrown into it.
What caught my attention right away was the icon, which had dark image with a pretty girl reaching her hand out. The game had a nice title, gorgeous art, and looked intense, so I was interested!
I’m a huge fan of visual novels and simulation games, so I dove right into it after it installed. The first thing I noticed was the friendly graphic interface, which had fonts and colors that corresponded to the dark elements of the story.
“White Island” involves puzzles and player decisions, such as finding items, combining them, and using them. You can also tap on different parts of the scenery to move locations or make observations.
If you’ve played any game on the “Ace Attorney” series, “White Island” has a similar gameplay. You control the actions of the main character, so you can inspect your surroundings or make conversation with other characters.
You can also pick up items and give those items to people, or use them to help your situation (such as placing a coin into a payphone, then tapping the phone to pick it up and dial.)
Intro: When You Open Your Eyes
The prologue, although brief, was as perfect a hook as you can get. The protagonist, Ji Hoon, wakes up in a dark place. It’s damp and it’s raining outside.
He peers out through the small crack between the doors and sees a dead girl lying outside. Two gloved and suited figures appear to retrieve her body, saying things like, “We have to remove all traces of this,” and “This is the freshest one we can get?” and making us automatically anxious.
No thriller is good without the “thrilling” or “hair-raising” aspect of the story, and of course, “White Island” delivers well. The two mysterious figures hear a sound coming from inside the container, and Ji Hoon panics, thinking they’ve discovered him.
Thankfully, one of them dismisses the sound, saying it’s probably a rat, and says they’ll through the “whole damn thing” into the sea. Uh oh. Ji Hoon better get his ass out of there.
Luckily, they don’t notice Ji Hoon peering out, giving him the chance to try to break out. Now we get the opportunity to interact with the game and inspect our surroundings. You can tap on various spots on the screen, and Ji Hoon will make an observation about it. You can also tap the “Action” tool, which allows you to pick up, combine, and use items.
You discover a bloody shirt and an axe head, and a shovel handle. You combine the handle of the axe with the blade to get a makeshift axe. You use the shirt to wrap around the bar holding the doors shut, so that it’ll muffle the noise while Ji Hoon hammers at it.
When he finally breaks free, he realizes with a start that he is surrounded by dozens of dead bodies, and that he has been lying in the container with them for some time. It was eerie, as the light suddenly flashed and showed the corpses surrounding him.
He runs out to the dock and finds the two mysterious people collapsed. They’ve been stabbed to death. He uncovers a notebook on the ground, and sees a bunch of photos of people. All but four people have been crossed out in red.
One of the photos is Ji Hoon himself. The three others who aren’t crossed out are Seo Hyun, Jae, and Jina. He angrily observes that “those bastards” knew the people on the list would be killed all along. But that leaves us to wonder who exactly he’s referencing and what their “plan” was. What are their motives, and how do the people on the list coincide with them?
Ji Hoon has hope Jae is still alive, so he runs out to the village. Before we can even do a single thing, someone sneaks up on him. The screen pans around as Ji Hoon looks around, and a horrifying face appears before him. He’s then knocked onto the ground, and the attackers, masked like the ones before, are standing over him.
Apparently, Ji Hoon is the “experiment” that “survived.” They eerily promise to “make good use” of Ji Hoon for a “very long time…” Well, dammit. Ji Hoon is done for, already?
After the intro is over, there’s a short video clip or trailer showing intense shots from the story, all of which I assume I’ll be experiencing in future episodes. The animation was impressive, and I commend the artists and animators for the beautiful art.
At first, I thought my choices were what brought Ji Hoon to the fate of getting attacked, but that’s just how the intro unfolds, no matter what you do. It was a great hook to the story and got me thoroughly invested into uncovering exactly what unfolded on White Island, and how Ji Hoon got himself into that horrifying situation.
The dialogue, interactive elements, storytelling, and overall gameplay were fantastic. There was just the right amount of suspense for the intro. The writers didn’t try to jam all of the intensity into the short intro, which I really appreciated.
(I’ll also like to mention how cute Ji Hoon and Jae are. Who doesn’t like a game with attractive characters?)
The purposeful ambiguity and mystery of the entire situation leaves me with a lot of compelling questions. What exactly is White Island? Who is Ji Hoon, and why is he there? Who are these creeps in suits, and what do they want with him and those people on the list? Where are Ji Hoon’s friends, and why is he not with them?
There is just so much to be answered and so much anticipation for the unraveling of the story.
Ren’s Rating: 9/10