Finally got the chance to get on the Baldr Sky train and that sure was a serious delay because I actually planned to read it like when it first came out on steam which is 2019 lol. But anyway, gonna cut to the chase.
Story And World-Building
World-building is not too grandiose, partially thanks to the not so uncommon setting but the atmosphere has a bit of surrealism within which can be quite refreshing. Got some nice locations. The grand scheme of things is interesting, but the lower plane containing multiple factions vying for supremacy can be further polished to make them feel a bit less dull.
Plot-wise, it is pretty straightforward for most parts. But for real, almost everything in this VN is laid out that way because I feel like they are not even trying to hide all of these foreshadowings or twists which is commendable yet a bit funny lmao (can be mindblowing at some points tho).
If anything, it does have some good themes like war drama, AI conspiracy, and the meaning of being alive. They are not rare for sure but I always enjoy that kinda stuff, though it would be nice if they were pushed to 100% since I didn’t quite get the cathartic experience that I was expecting. Regardless, they do make good “spice” for the story overall.
The constant bombard of flashbacks is understandable and makes sense from an in-verse perspective yet annoying regardless. While I understand one of its main purposes is to build up the cast but frankly it’s not really effective to me since it only makes things feel incohesive (switching back and forth) and even confusing because I had to keep up with so many events going at the same time to even have the luxury of appreciating or understanding the heroines.
On a different note, there’re some serious plot conveniences there and then combined with a sudden increase in pacing at some climax which makes things not so convincing. Apart from that, while I don’t have much issue with the MC carrying literally every fight, giving the side cast a chance to shine would have not hurt in all honesty.
With all that being said, when shit hits the fan with some rather whimsical elements, Sky 1 feels much more ambitious than it appears to be and I’m ready to place my bet on Sky 2.
Characters And Routes
The cast in general is not bad (except the villains lmao), to say the least, but feels like the heroine and side characters can be vastly improved by being fully committed to themselves. The romance is also a bit wasted because there is room for improvement but it just feels forced overall, except Chinatsu maybe but that’s just me. Simply put, some of them have a nice intro and premise, etc, but as the story progresses, they are just kinda there… The protagonist is well done anyhow.
The route layout is also a bit wonky, it’s not terrible but I wouldn’t say it’s ideal, like, at some point in the ride, I kept asking myself this question: “Am I really in X route? Why does Y get some serious focus/teaser/foreshadowing here lmao”.
All 3 routes seem to share a recurring concluding trope but not a big deal. The endings are a bit awkward, one is fine, one is abrupt, and one is straight-up meme material, the bad endings on the other hand are pretty good tho. From my observation, while the three routes do have a similar formula, the big pictures behind them are not really the same:
- Rain’s plays the role of introducing the world of Baldr Sky.
- Nanoha’s gave some of the answers to mysteries and raises new ones at the same time.
- Chinatsu’s is more or less a clash of ideals or perhaps a different side of the already established premise.
Route ranking: Chinatsu > Nanoha > Rain. Heroine ranking: Chinatsu > Rain > Nanoha (can’t count the other 3 since they got no route here).
Technical And Design
The RPG part is kinda a mixed bag. The mechanism is fine, easy to understand, and can be fun to goof around but gameplay-wise it’s downright irritating for splitting into many random small skirmishes that interrupt the flow of the climax, makes things long-winded, and kinda spoil the mood. But oh well, guess it’s part of the plot so it can’t be helped. On another note, not having 16:9 is quite a shame though because that would have made the fight more engaging.
Not a fan of the art style despite its futuristic touch, but the cool details about hologram and stuff are a nice treat. Character design is also sadly not striking but not a big deal (some of them have sick CG shots tho). Mecha thingy is fine at best (but again, some of them have sick CGs).
Great vault of music, from sick OP to an insane stack of BGM, kinda gives off a nostalgic vibe.
If there’s anything to complain about this aspect is that the menu UI sucks, putting too much stuff on the screen at once is just confusing and irritating to get through, not to mention bad choices of colors and positions that hinder me a great lot whenever I’m trying to adjust things even for a bit lol.
To make a long story short, Baldr Sky I is a good read overall. It has a solid world-building, intriguing twists, fun and cool cast, a ton of action elements to refresh your mind from a lengthy read, and of course, banging music. Highly recommended for people that are into sci-fi, cyberpunk stuff.