Depression is never a laughing matter, and as a sufferer of it, Samantha deals with a lot. Lillian, someone she used to consider her best friend, no longer speaks to her. Go into Samantha’s mind as she tries to get her friend back.
Asphyxia is depressing. It goes into some of the dark truths of being depressed. The self harm, the suicide thoughts, the feeling like you’re constantly bothering everyone, people saying awful things. All of that. And yet, it’s one of my favorite visual novels I’ve read in recent history. Why? Perhaps because I can relate with Samantha so well.
Asphyxia revolves around a school trip for the girls of St. Mary’s Boarding School, particularly on Samantha. Samantha has severe depression, and her only “friend” can only complain about how unappreciated she feels and how much “work” she has to put into their friendship. Samantha is extremely hard on herself, and always seems to go for the hardest path for stuff – such as trying to get her friend Lillian back.
A lot of the time in Asphyxia will be spent seeing arguments amongst the other characters. I didn’t feel like the story really got going into something until the second half, after Samantha had escaped from the constantly arguing character.
The setting of Asphyxia is sort of like a modern day version of 18th and 19th century poets. All of the characters are based on these poets and it makes for quite an interesting tale. It even goes so far as to emulate how their relations were. Of course, they were turned female for this VN, but the main story is still there. The writing captures the setting wonderfully, and the visuals just add to provide a great experience – once you’re past the slow paced constant arguing.
You have the choice to choose your own path. While there is only a handful of options available to choose, what you choose at them will determine which of the four endings you receive. I only went towards one ending, though some day I may go back for the other endings. Luckily there’s a skip function that you can use to quickly get through text you’ve already read. If you also want to reread a recent line you can scroll back, though you’ll have to proceed through if that particular one had multiple sentences.
Wrapping up the great experience – minus the slow paced arguing – is the music. It always seemed to perfectly fit the mood of what was going on. While there’s no voice acting in Asphyxia, there didn’t need to be.
Despite how depressing Asphyxia is, I still suggest it. Of course, if you’re someone who can’t handle depressing topics or female relationships, then you’ll want to avoid it. I thoroughly enjoyed Asphyxia however, only really finding it tough to make it through all the arguing. It’s definitely a worthwhile read for visual novel fans, as long as you’re okay with the subject matters. As another small warning, there are some minor typos on occasion, mainly just with small grammatical errors. It’s either that or they were going for a really odd writing style that just didn’t make sense to me.
Asphyxia Review Score
Asphyxia is available now on Steam.
I would like to thank the developer for providing me with a copy for review.