Seventh Lair is a visual novel so all you’ll be doing is reading text. Now I actually love reading but I do find books more engaging than visual novel games most of the time because the text in books is usually more dense and the author can take their time with pacing out the plot. However, once in a while I run into stories that are so gripping that I can’t put them down and Seventh Lair was one of those stories.
The game starts out with a basic isekai plot. The protagonist finds himself mysteriously transported into a game he designed many years ago. He finds himself surrounded by the regulars that visit his forums and play the games he developed. Not knowing what is going on, they form a merry band of misfits and make their way to beat the final boss and hopefully return to the real world.
Now I’m not going to spoil any of the details but let’s just say there are many twists and turns the plot takes. Some you see coming from a mile away but others genuinely took me by surprise. The game’s seemingly comical and lighthearted nature hides the much darker undercurrents of themes such as despair and depression.
I really, genuinely enjoyed the plot of the game and some of the reveals and plot beats were incredible and the delivery impeccable. I could not stop playing the game and I played until completion in one sitting, which is a rarity for me these days. Despite me liking the majority of the game’s narrative, there were some things that I found to be flawed, in my honest opinion.
There were some sections where I did feel the pacing was a bit off and lingered a little bit too long on some plot points. Also, without spoiling the plot as much as possible, I did feel the handling of some thematic elements towards the end of the game to have missed the mark. It felt a little disingenuous. Some other reviewers contributed the feeling of awkwardness to a poor translation from the original language, but I feel that it was more than that.
That said, all in all, the game’s narrative is pretty darn gripping. If you go back and read through the dialogue a second time, you seen an incredible amount of foreshadowing that you may have missed the first time through. Things make much more sense. The ending is a perfect balance of bitter sweetness that has a feeling of closure yet doesn’t feel unrealistic.
Overall, Seventh Lair took me for a wild ride. It took me around four hours to get through the story and I enjoyed most of it. I couldn’t write in detail about what happens but I really don’t want to spoil the story for anyone else.