REVIEW: ‘The House in Fata Morgana’ Is a Masterpiece in Visual Novels (Switch)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The House in Fata Morgana

Welcome to a house locked in perpetuity and time, a place where memories play hide and seek. A place where shadows haunt the halls and tragedy exists behind some of its doors. A place where You will seek the truth… if you’re curious enough. Welcome to The House in Fata Morgana.

The House in Fata Morgana was developed by Novectacle and is published by Limited Run Games. At the time of this article, LRG still has pre-orders for the physical Switch edition of Fata Morgana available. Their edition will include the base title, The House In Fata Morgana, the prequel A Requiem of Innocence, and the fully voiced sequel, Reincarnation. There are also some short stories, which are always a treat.

For many, this will be the first time they’ll have heard of The House in Fata Morgana or even played it. It might be easy to think that this title is new, but actually, the series is quite storied, and this release is one of many in this series’ history.

The House in Fata Morgana was first released on PC and iOS in 2012 in Japan. It would later be released internationally in 2016. In Japan, it would go on to receive a 3DS version in 2016 and a PlayStation Vita edition in 2017. In 2019, Limited Run Games would release a regular and limited edition on the Vita and a PlayStation 4 edition. Now, in 2021, we’re getting a brand new edition for the Nintendo Switch, which is how I sat down and enjoyed my time in The House in Fata Morgana.

Our story begins thus. You awaken in an old, decrepit mansion, and before You (yes, capital Y) stands a woman with jade eyes. She tells You that you’re the Master of this house, and she, Your maid. However, like so many stories before The House in Fata Morgana, you have no concept of Yourself. That is, you have no memories, no sense of identity, and honestly… you’re not sure if you’re still alive. 

However, you’re not alone. You have your ever faithful Maid to guide you through the mansion’s empty halls. She promises to show you the lives of the tragic residents who came before you, suggesting that maybe… you’ll come to know your own nature. Or maybe… you’ll learn too much.

Like many visual novels, this is a single-player game meant to be enjoyed as one would read a novel. You can go at your own pace or rush through, though I suggest you set aside time to indulge and really sink your teeth into the story as you work to unravel who the amnesiac spirit is and why you’re here. 

Because of those factors, I really think The House in Fata Morgana is perfect for new fans of the medium, particularly because The House in Fata Morgana doesn’t rely quite as much on the tropes that you tend to see in more animesque visual novels. Instead, the story crafted within this visual novel, while fantasy, feels much more human and, therefore, far more relatable and accessible if you’re not an anime fan.

The House in Fata Morgana

The House in Fata Morgana has gorgeous art. And when I say gorgeous, that feels like I’m selling the novel’s art short. It’s dripping with a semi-realistic design that uses a lot of shading and less animesque characteristics. In a way, a lot of the detail reminded me of the mangaka group CLAMP, at least in terms of lushness. All of the art works together to create a somewhat dreamy atmosphere in the game, which suits a story that plays with time and memories.

Additionally, The House in Fata Morgana’s UI is really, really nice, blending in perfectly with the interface and the visual novel as a whole. At no point is it obtrusive—in fact, it disappears so well, allowing you to really sink into the world of The House in Fata Morgana. Additionally, this version includes a “Back Door” mode on the main screen. 

This mode will allow players to unlock every story in the game before they even start playing. This is especially useful for players who want everything laid out so they can just sit back and enjoy the story without worry. However, The House in Fata Morgana does recommend following the game’s natural progression, especially for first-time players. I’d suggest that as well.

Additionally, The House in Fata Morgana’s music is downright beautiful. It’s constantly atmospheric, playing pleasantly with the sound design. I frequently found myself plugging in a pair of earbuds so I could sink even deeper into The House in Fata Morgana

Every song underscores the scenes you’ll witness in the story, and all of the leitmotifs feel like they’re playing in your chest. There’s also a diverse range of genres to match the time periods you’ll venture through. Credit goes to the five artists who worked on it: Mellok’n, Moriya Takaki, Gao, Tsutsumi Yusuke, and Razuna Aikawa. I can easily see integrating all of these beautiful pieces into my daily playlist, especially when writing.

I think fans of Raging Loop, Higurashi and Umineko, The Letter, and even sci-fi thriller GNOSIA would really groove on Fata Morgana. Additionally, fans of theatre and musicals—shows like The Phantom of the Opera—who are new to visual novels should give this story a try. Oftentimes, The House in Fata Morgana feels like you’re watching a play on the grandest of stages. If you’re into plays, this might be your gateway into a brand new medium.

Ultimately, I cannot think of a single negative thing to say about The House in Fata Morgana. My time with the game was well spent, and I crave a replay as soon as possible, so I can dive even deeper and appreciate the game at a different pace. This definitive version of the Fata Morgana series is perfectly suited for the Switch, allowing you to read on the go as you move through one of the most beloved visual novels in the genre.

The House in Fata Morgana was released on April 9, 2021, digitally on the Nintendo Switch. At the time of this article, Limited Run Games has pre-orders open for physical copies. Pre-orders will end on April 25, 2021.

The House in Fata Morgana
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

I cannot think of a single negative thing to say about The House in Fata Morgana. My time with the game was well spent, and I crave a replay as soon as possible, so I can dive even deeper and appreciate the game at a different pace. This definitive version of the Fata Morgana series is perfectly suited for the Switch, allowing you to read on the go as you move through one of the most beloved visual novels in the genre.