Along the Edge Is An Exquisite-Looking Visual Novel

I’m a big visual novel fan. Typically I go for games like Saya no Uta or something of that sort, but it’s a genre I’m well-versed in. That’s why I’m interested in Along the Edge [official site], an adult-oriented tale that touts player choice as one of its biggest features, noting that you can’t change how your character looks or behaves at the beginning of the game, but it all changes as things wear on. It’s probably just a bunch of marketing speak, but nevertheless I want to see what it’s about.

Set in the European countryside, it follows young Daphné, who’s unsatisfied by her personal and professional life. So she jumps at the chance to move to a different part of the country after inheriting a family house. It’s up to you to decide what she does with her “new beginning” of sorts.

At a glance, the game looks incredibly angsty, like Daphné herself will lay about and feel sorry for herself a lot, but I can forgive that because it’s such a pretty visual novel. I really dig the painting-like scenes and character designs. Supposedly there are over 450 handmade illustrations with 80,000 words in English and French, which makes sense as the developer Nova-box is based in Bordeaux, France. There are also 60 different endings apparently, so there’s plenty to work through.

The game has been sold on for a while but it’s now on Steam for £8.99/11,69€/$11.69, if you’re curious like I am. It’s on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

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  1. Vermintide says:

    RPS Contributor Uses Headlines That Belong On Buzzfeed

    • Eight Rooks says:

      “Here is a thing which exists, and is pretty” is ‘clickbait’ now? Jeez. EDIT, just so I’m not simply feeding the troll: I mean, I’m not really interested in playing it, but I noticed it in the Steam new releases list and thought the art was certainly quite something.

    • gwop_the_derailer says:


    • Brittany Vincent says:

      Actually, This Was A Pretty Regular Headline, But Okay Guy

      • Vermintide says:

        Noun Is Adjective Noun Tells Us Nothing- And Here’s Why!

        Nothing personal, of course, it’s just becoming a pet peeve of mine.

        • Sizzkesticks says:

          I’m not really sure what you’re complaining about here. The headline tells you the name of the game, what genre it is, and one of its appealing characteristics, which is about what I would expect from a post letting us know of its arrival on Steam. It’s not flashy, but it is totally functional.

        • ey says:

          There’s a big difference between a headline that doesn’t say enough (which is expected to a degree; you can only put so many words in a headline) and an actual clickbaity headline.

          To be an actual Buzzfeed-style headline, it should follow one (but usually two or more) of these patterns.

          – A Headline Isn’t Catchy Enough Unless We Put Ourselves In It
          – You Won’t Believe How Often We Put You In The Headlines, Too!
          – 37 Ways to Write Lists Of Things
          – Some Generic Group — Let’s Say Dairy Farmers — Will Think This is Stupid, For Some Reason
          – This Is Perfect: Only Superlatives And Absolutes Have Just The Right Zing

    • April March says:

      I can think of at least ten other headlines, used by the RPS core team, that use the same formula (“[Game Name] is a [Adjective] [Genre]”).

      Number six will shock you.

  2. Zankman says:

    One thing I never really got about VNs is the multitude of different endings.

    Like, who is going to replay/reread a long-ass story just to have a mildly different ending?

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Can’t speak for this one, but the majority of them let you skip over any text you’ve already read, and they do so very, very fast. The populist/otaku-bait stuff is largely written to cater specifically for this – you get a “common route” which is the bit of the story that plays out roughly the same every time, and then a point where it branches out more widely, so if you play a lot of these things you get used to speeding through 50% of the game every so often, maybe pausing to tell it which choices you want to pick this time round, then turning FF off to get back to reading whichever path you just unlocked.

      • Zankman says:

        Hm, thanks.

        Not that much of a completionist and I feel like I’d need to be that in order to do what you described; likewise, getting to a different ending yet speeding through what you already know, ironically, doesn’t sound like would be worthwhile.

        But, it all depends on story quality and how much you’re invested into it or not.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          Very much so. I just played a bunch of the better-known ones to check if I was wrong to dismiss the genre as being poorly-written fluff (I wasn’t, for the most part). Something like Rewrite (silly boys’ adventure anime nonsense) has a common path that branches out into five very different takes on the main story, then two extremely lengthy epilogues to wrap things up, so if you were into the story that would be a lot to digest – but I found it so aggressively mediocre I was practically begging for death by the time I’d hit the second epilogue. Conversely, something like Swan Song is fairly short, and only has one “regular” ending (bad stuff happens), then one “good” ending – which branches off from a scene that isn’t even presented as a proper choice, originally, so you’re reading most of the game again to get an ending you feel like you should have been able to see in the first place. Yet the writing in that is so much better (albeit problematic – think a trashy, ghoulish anime version of The Road) that I didn’t mind being forced to jump through hoops to read it all quite so much.

          • Zankman says:

            Thanks for the shared thoughts.

            So… Not only is this “multiple endings/separate stories” thing likely not for me, but, what you’re basically saying that most VNs are bad and/or trashy.

            Nothing really changes for my PoV, I gues. :P

    • Shazbut says:

      If it wasn’t for the multiple endings, I wouldn’t play them.

      There’s something so satisfying to me about skipping previously read text, making different choices and then seeing how those choices affect things. The delicate balance of skipping text and choosing bits to re-read so you’re still reminded of what’s happening as you go is something I find weirdly enjoyable. The more choices and the more endings, the better.

      Plus they’re not usually “mildly different endings”. They can be entirely different routes which explore the main plot/setting from a new viewpoint.

      Edit: – Basically what Eight Rooks said already

      Also, Brittany I liked how you mentioned Saya No Uta. Ballsy. It’s like someone asking you what books you like and you say The Story of The Eye by Bataille

      • Zankman says:

        Well, thanks for the input.

        I’m someone who doesn’t want to try different routes in a Telltale game; at most I just read about them on a Wiki or something.

        So definitely doesn’t sound like something I’d enjoy doing in a VN.

        • Shazbut says:

          Fair enough, although I suppose I’m mostly thinking of ones where the differing routes and endings tie into one main route or ending, so instead of weakening things by breaking the narrative off into mutually exclusive chunks, it actually adds varying layers onto the one narrative.

          Ever 17’s final route, for example, is widely lauded as one of the most satisfying payoffs in VN history. It’s like revelation upon revelation, like a great last few episodes of a TV series, but which could only have worked with the multiple routes and endings and only worked in the visual novel medium.

          But I also think to enjoy VNs you’ve got to be kind of in love with the Japanese culture/aesthetic on some level, like JRPGs

    • malkav11 says:

      Depends on the VN. Fate//stay night, for example, isn’t so much one story with three endings as three stories that unlock one by one as you complete the previous one, branching off a common opening chapter or three. And although there are overlapping characters, concepts and locations, they are very different stories.

  3. Louis Mayall says:

    Are there any visual novels that are a bit more animated? I find the staticness (staticity?) of the characters and scenes a little dull sometimes. I mean I’m just talking about a videogame with words I suppose.

  4. PsychoX says:

    Looks can be deceiving.

  5. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    I have a question about VNs: just how many of them are varying degrees of softporn? I always saw my friend playing them and was mildly interested, but they always seemed to have elements of gratuitous shagging. Not that I mind a bit of shagging mind you; just the way the Japanese do it disturbs me sometimes.

    • bill says:

      ALL OF THEM! /oldman
      link to

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Not all, but quite a few. Even the ones which aren’t specifically porn per se (as in, there’s a plot and everything) still frequently take the whole “choose girl > impress girl > get to sex her as reward” approach and never even think to shake up the formula. A lot of the VNs people hold up as “classics” break up the more high-minded storytelling with gratuitous boning, too – y’know, just for variety. If that’s what you’re after it’s usually really god damned boring, too, not to mention repetitive, creepily possessive and written more like an anatomy lesson. And even the “all-ages” titles can’t resist throwing in references to porn magazines, underwear, and so on, because men, am I right, fellas?

      Basically while it’s certainly wrong to dismiss the genre out of hand as nothing but poorly-written, overly pandering smut, at the same time there’s definitely a reason – countless reasons! – it has that reputation.

      • malkav11 says:

        It’s also true that until fairly recently very few of the non-porn VNs were ever translated and sold in English-speaking markets. I’d assume that the market for the porn was pretty clear, the market for a lot of reading with some sound effects and pictures, less so. I’d also assume that a lot of the porn-intensive ones have lower word counts and are thus less work to translate. But I don’t know for sure.

        • Zankman says:

          I reckon your analysis has merit; it’s a niche market as is and it was originally driven by porn, so, makes sense that those kind of VNs dominated in the West – and, yeah, your assessment that the smaller amount of text requires less effort to translate is likely a key factor.

      • Zankman says:

        Ultimately this will always be confusing to me…

        Why not just strictly separate the two “genres”: Porn ones with porn and non-porn ones without porn?

        The biggest issue caused by non-porn VNs also having porn within them is that, well, you basically can’t have sexual subjects/topics within VNs because they inevitably just end up being porn/gratuitous boning.

        Not to mention this whole thing of a bad reputation.

        As you said, you kind of expect the porn VNs to be, well, fetish-filled and kinda creepy if you’re not into the fetishes they contain… But even the non-porn VNs just come off as *off* and weird/creepy. Maybe sometimes you can even argue misogynistic too.

        Ah, VNs and their surrounding culture will ultimately remain so weird to me.

        Not to mention the phenomenon of blatantly porn-only VNs on Steam nowadays…

        • Shazbut says:

          The one thing I dispute is that sex absolutely can be featured in VNs without it being porn. That’s the whole point. There are at least as many ways to portray sex as there are to have it, and whilst there’s a large potential debate regarding the point of showing explicit sex at all in any story, there are definitely VNs that attempt to show it as, for example, simply a physical expression of love. This is how I got into them and I was amazed, as a teenager, that these things weren’t afraid to actually show the sex. They weren’t ashamed of it basically.

          But yeah, a lot of it IS porn. God knows why cheap sexual imagery is still shown in VNs that have every intention (and every chance) of otherwise being taken seriously.

          • Zankman says:

            Well, ignoring for the moment the debate you alluded to of whether showing sex at all has artistic merit within any story: Can you name three VNs that did that, use sex “properly”, not as gratuitous pornography, for the sake/benefit of the story?

          • Shazbut says:

            Well, you’re right, a lot do have needless titillation or whatever thrown in so it’s hard to choose a perfect example.

            I’d say though that Kana: Little Sister, Katawa Shoujo, and Crescendo are all in English and all use sex in a mature way to tell the story. Their sex is not objectifying or inappropriate. Crescendo is a good example as it uses sex in different ways but handles it sensitively. Some scenes are very erotic and some aren’t, some are beautiful and some are ugly, but they all either further the story or at least say something about the characters. Any usage of sex, especially explicit sex, in a story is going to have to walk a very fine line. Whether that line is always being successfully walked by these games I don’t know, but I’d argue that their intentions were good.

          • Zankman says:

            Well, alright. I might check them out just to see for myself and, well, then try to judge for myself.

            I will say tho, if it is explicit and in any way erotic, it is already problematic; discussing the “intentions” is also then an iffy topic.

          • Shazbut says:

            “I will say tho, if it is explicit and in any way erotic, it is already problematic”

            Is it? Maybe we disagree on this.

            Anyway, this is now on the fourth page so shall we leave the discussion? Nice talking with you :)

  6. Babymech says:

    “Typically I go for games like Saya no Uta or something of that sort” said noone ever.

  7. Rwlyra says:

    Does anyone know any good western visual novels like this one (as in, not specifically targeted at japanophiles)?

    When I saw this I fell in love with the artstyle, there is something about french indie narrative-heavy games with bad english translation that I enjoy immensely (I even played halfway through Winter Voices, despite terrible mechanics, just because of that “french” mood)

    • invitro says:

      There’s a metric crapton of good to great Western visual novels… just search for “best graphic novels ever” and find many handy lists of quality.

    • Shazbut says:

      House of Fata Morgana is not Western but looks like it could be and is supposedly great

  8. invitro says:

    The pictures of the girls are very fetching. About ten trillion times better than that anime crap. Fetching enough to obtain the game just for that reason? TIME. WILL. TELL.

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