Dry Drowning delivers a fascinating, compelling world but loses its momentum over time

You might remember a month or so back we played an awesome little visual novel called Dry Drowning.

In fact, we were bold enough to say that it’s the next evolution of the genre. And having played it through, we absolutely stand by that.

This is a game that just beams with promise and potential. There’s some interesting characters, a complex overarching world, as well as a beautifully designed environment.

But the big problem we had as we made more and more progress with Dry Drowning is that the story did start to lose itself. And the translation truly suffered.

We picked up that there were a few spelling errors in the game, but as time went on, the line delivery became more and more clunky and certain scenes failed to land their desired impact.

As we mentioned before, Dry Drowning is a game about making choices, and a few of the big choices you’re given are followed up with half-hearted retorts.

It does leave you wondering what would have happened if you’d made another decision, but that’s partly because the game makes you feel like it actually has a preferred route for you to follow.

The good news is that the creativity we saw in the early goings with Dry Drowning does hold up, furthering solidifying our claim that is a new standard for visual novels.

For starters, there’s some mini-games spliced in-between the action, one that sort of pays homage to classic Pipe Mania which sees you connect a series of tiles together.

Further still, you’ll need to pick out words in witness testimony and press them on certain points to build your case, and even revisit the past using a photo to link old cases with new.

It all works well into the game’s narrative and does a nice job of keeping everything fresh. Though some of these interludes are definitely more welcome than others, especially when the game begins stuttering toward the finish line.

The later decision making, padded plotting, and unusual line delivery did slow the game’s momentum in the closing stages, meaning it never quite lives up to the strengths it originally sets out.

And some of the evidence used to reach the truth is not fully conveyed to the player before you have to present it, which sometimes makes it difficult to figure out where to go next. With the games three strikes and your out system, that can be a bit of a kick in the teeth.

But on the whole, I enjoyed Dry Drowning very much. My hope is that we get to see more of this world and Mordred Foley in the future. With an established cast, clearer direction, and a grasp of how to make compelling fiction, Studio V are onto something big.

Fingers crossed they get some of the things above ironed out before the game hits Xbox next year.


Dry Drowning is out now on PC and releases on Xbox in 2020

Review code provided by PR Agency

About the author

Jay Jones

Jay is a massive football fan - Manchester Utd in case you were wondering - and lover of gaming. He'll play just about anything, but his vice is definitely Ultimate Team.