Juniper's Knot Review

Title: Juniper's Knot
Release date: 2012-04-12
Developer: Dischan Media
Publisher: Dischan Media

A short review for a short game. Of course, short doesn't mean it's bad. Not necessarily it's good either. Luckily in this case it's mostly the latter.

"Juniper's Knot" is a short OELVN made in about a month by Dischan Media. It's been on my to be played (or more like read, considering it's a kinetic novel) list for quite some time, mainly because of the few glimpses of art style used within. And the art doesn't disappoint - it's one of the best I saw used in a free visual novel. It is especially vivid and... alive. Actually, it's truly alive, as many effects are used to simulate movement therein sans using actual animations. Panels gently move sideways, darkening and lightening of the picture creates a campfire effect and sprites imperceptibly change positions onscreen in order to reflect movement. So, yes, the art is awesome and so is the music. In fact, the OST is available as a separate free download (FLAC or mp3).
Cordial, aren't you.
The novel goes toward a minimalistic setting and there is basically just one place where the actual "action" is happening. Within old ruins our protagonists: a nameless male hero and a female demon heroine meet for the first time. Yep, two characters, one setting and a blasted good time. Demoness is angry at everyone and everything as she had been sealed in a magical circle for so long, that she doesn't even remember for how long. That gives rise to certain funny misunderstandings as the girl doesn't understand some of the words the boy uses and vice versa.

Despite being such a short work, JK portraits a wide gamma of emotions courtesy of our heroine. The boy, though, is not quite so lucky. Sure, he is characterised as a gentle person, but his role is no bigger than a catalyst for the events to follow and even those events happen way too fast. I don't think there is a chance for him to create such a bond with the demon girl over one night. If his deal lasted for, say, a week or such, I would have gladly believed that they could find such understanding. I also think that the girl's emotions were way too much in turmoil to act so rationally during the climax. In relation to that, I think that the ending should have been darkened with a dash more of uncertainty. On the other hand, it was already ambiguous and we are left to decide for ourselves, what will happen to our "heroes" next.
Through the prism of anger.
It should be noted, that the text used is peppered with expressions that are quite outdated nowadays. Probably it was supposed to portray an archaic setting or at least the archaic mindset of the demoness. It was quite hit and miss, especially in the beginning, where it was actually quite difficult to follow her speech as it sounded stilted and unrealistic. But then, maybe it accurately shewed someone, who hasn't spoken to another person for a few centuries already. It got better overall as the story progressed and demoness interacted more with the boy.

To sum up, this kinetic novel is a oneshot used to portrait a difficult situation, where two very different characters learn to trust each other and work together. If not for a little too much cheese, it would be perfect.

P.S. Why the hell it's "Juniper's Knot" if the tree featured prominently in the story was olive?!!!

Links of Interest

Visual Novel Database
Official developers' page
Lemma Soft forum thread

Final Verdict: 83%


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