Before I saw anything about Inverness Nights I want to make something clear. I don’t play visual novels. I don’t usually enjoy them. It takes something special to get me to play one. For Inverness Nights, that something special is that it was written and developed by a friend of mine. So possibly everything I say should be taken with a grain of salt.
Inverness Nights is a weird pitch. Set in 18th century Scotland, you play as an immortal tailor named Tristram going through a break up with his partner Alasdair. Alasdair has threatened to report you for ‘buggery’ as homosexuality is still very much illegal. At the same time a new client has offered a hefty sum for a new dress. If you’re able to complete it, you’ll be set to pack up and move on to the next town. As you’ve done time and time again in your centuries of existence.
From the moment you start Inverness Nights hits you hard with its prose. It’s very classical in its writing style. The sort of thing you would be made to read in English class. It’s indicative of the time period it is set in, but it can get tiresome to read for long periods. Which I find incredibly unfortunate because once you get through that the story itself is highly engaging. The characters feel fully realised and the story is nicely paced to take you through some emotional arcs. Inverness Nights doesn’t pull its punches and I can definitely get behind that.
Presentation wise, I’ll admit that I wasn’t in love with the art style when looking at screenshots. It took until I actually had the game fullscreen for me to come around on it. Having the pastel colour palette without the noise of a surrounding website definitely makes me appreciate it more, and the character art looks much better in full size. I have a soft spot for a lack of outlines. The music nerd in me was immediately drawn to the baroque soundtrack. To the point where I was mildly annoyed when scenes were silent for extended periods.
Inverness Nights is a great story wrapped up in some beautiful presentation, but it can definitely be a slog to get through if you’re not keen on the flowery writing style. I’m glad I didn’t give up on it. I did end up enjoying the story and the characters, but I have to admit I wouldn’t have stuck with it if it weren’t made by a friend. If visual novels are your kind of thing then I’m sure you’ll have a great time with it.