Always The Same Blue Sky makes a rather bold claim on its Steam page. In all caps it proclaims “THIS IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL VISUAL NOVEL.” However I am going to have to disagree with that assessment. Always the Same Blue Sky is not bad by any means and does have its good qualities, but it is ultimately way too short and underdeveloped to consider this one to be above average.
Our story is about a relationship between an unnamed protagonist and a girl named Kira. At the start of the game, you are given the choice between whether you want to take the role of a man or woman but it literally has no effect on the plot since the entire script could apply to both a straight man and a lesbian woman. As a result the only reason this choice even exists is for the sake of an achievement. I will have to applaud the versatility of the script though, and me being a lesbian myself I’m always glad to have more gay relationships in games provided they are good ones.
The key issue with the relationship between out MC and Kira is that neither character has much of a personality. The main character is based around whatever dialogue options you select and even then the only notable personalities you can get from said choices are the generic shy person and generic upbeat excited person. Kira has almost no personality to think of other than being the designated love interest. The only thing that I find notable about Kira is that she looks pretty.
By the time I reached the end of the game I then realized what the developers meant when they said this wasn’t an ordinary visual novel. I will just say that there is a twist ending that makes up a majority of the substance or depth that this game possesses, but I’m going to avoid spoiling it. It is worth mentioning however that relying entirely on a twist ending to give your work any substance is a terrible idea. If you do that then you are flat out admitting that the rest of the game isn’t good enough to hold its own.
As for whether this twist works to give this game worth playing, it would… if the game was free.
Unfortunately the game costs $3.00 which is not worth it for a game as short as this. Without skipping any dialogue you will be lucky to get more than 35 minutes out of one playthrough. It is possible to do everything there is to do with this game in under 2 hours.
In terms of the game’s production values, the art style is beautiful and the sights provided probably played more of a role in me liking this game than the writing and the sound effects are also well placed. The music is notably beautiful in the soft and elegant tunes it carries. In fact, the soundtrack itself can be purchased separately on the game’s Steam page and I can more certainly recommend that than I can the game itself.
I’m unsure whether or not I can really recommend Always the Same Blue Sky. I kind of liked it but I’m not able to pinpoint enough that outright says this is worth playing. Maybe it was the music and the art style that did it, or maybe it was because the ending did have a decent impact. I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone but I can say it may be worth playing. Specifically I’d wait to see if it’s on sale, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anything $1.00 unless it also includes the soundtrack.
This review was originally posted to GameFAQs on March 14th of 2016 and has since been re-edited with enhanced presentation.
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