deIz was released last year by Mike Inel, now famous for making the animated curscenes in Katawa Shoujo. On the surface it appears to be a slice of life high school romance VN, but the endings, oh man, the endings…
The story follows Ceil, a male high school student with a crush on a girl, Iris, whom he worked with on a movie three years ago. Crush may not be the correct word here, stalker-level creepy obsession is more descriptive of their interaction. She barely knows he exists, while Ceil spends significant parts of his free time following Iris around and rewatching the movie they worked on (and which she directed).
His friends, Chamoisee and Cerise, know about Ceil’s stalking habit and tease him with it. Little do they know that today is Ceil’s big chance to finally talk with his crush. The Iris path is very traditional (read: cliché ridden borefest) and played straight, the other 12(!) endings however take the non-stop railway express straight to crazy town.
In any other similarly short VN, having that many distinct endings would be a terrible idea. The endings will be too much alike, or spin off into something barely related to the decisions and events of the main story. deIz takes the second approach with more than a few coming-out-of-nowhere endings. Most endings are worth the read, but please, don’t punish yourself and just use the walkthrough to find them.
Getting all endings is tedious even with the walkthrough. Be careful not to misclick — rollback doesn’t allow you to undo choices. Another odd decision was to self-censor ‘naughty words’ like b#### and c##k (see what I did there). Censorship of this kind always feels rather pointless to me, even more so for a VN containing pantyshots, boner jokes and rape.
The moe sprite art looks good and the rounded lines provide a nice contrast with the very angular backgrounds. The giant foreheads and non-traditional eye designs may not appeal to everyone however. Characters have a number of expressions and a few poses, the effect of these poses is lessened due to the sprites being more zoomed in than normal. The extra-large sprites also make the window feel cramped when multiple characters are visible at the same time. In some cases it becomes so bad you can barely make out the background. It’s almost as if 800×600 resolution sprites are cramped into the VN’s tiny 640×480 window. The effect is further strengthened by the relatively large font size.
Backgrounds are renders of simplistic 3D models with a strong depth-of-field effect. The distance blur works really well, masking the simplicity of the models while simultaneously diverting attention away from the background and onto the characters. The lighting of the 3D models is actually decent for once, not the awful 90’s quality shading commonly found in other VNs using rendered backgrounds. The same 3D backgrounds are used as a base for the many event CG. The characters are then simply drawn on top of the rendered background.
There’s no audio at all in deIz. No voice action, no sound effects, no music… But hey, at least it’s not another Kevin MacLeod soundtrack.
For such a short visual novel, deIz has a surprising amount of polish. It has many sprites, backgrounds and event CG which makes the complete lack of audio even more baffling. Getting all the many endings is tedious even with a guide and a hand firmly glued to the skip key. Outside the crazy endings, the writing is bland and the story unexciting.
My notes for each of the endings, massive spoilers everywhere.
- Ai/Iris :: The whole long lost childhood friends/promise stuff is pretty goddamn generic.
- Cerise :: I sense penis in my future. (some time later) Lol, hermaphrodite.
- Black haired girl (her) :: 4th wall breaking everywhere. Rainbow Girl inspired?.
- Amethyst :: Touching hands while picking up some things she’s dropped, become anime buddies.
- Mikado :: Say "You’re too nice" to girl you hardly know, instantly solve all her problems. Cat-eared dancing ensues. WTF
- Secret Love :: Amethyst is hard gay for Iris, watch lesbian rape through the classroom window.
- Little Sister :: Cerise’s little sister is a giant slut with comically large breasts (a well-rounded character if you know what I mean).
- Secret Film :: Ceil and Chamoisee are kidnapped by Carmine and forced to star in gay porn. Apparently this ending is the result of a deviantART poll. Considering that, I think we got off lucky.
- S&M :: Ceil gets kidnapped, bound to a chair, whipped and raped by a dominatrix. This somehow makes more sense than some of the other endings.
- Chamoisee (homosex end) :: "Fuck them bitches man, us bros gotta stick together", Chamoisee says as he locks the door and starts laughing creepily.
- Chamoisee (bro end) :: "Fuck them bitches man, us bros gotta stick together". Ceil: ;_;
- PX3 :: Forget about Iris, maintain the status quo!
- Alone :: …whatever (turn into Squall end).