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Game Info:

A Clockwork Ley-Line: The Borderline of Dusk
Developed by: Unison Shift: Blossom
Published by: Sekai Project
Release date: December 18, 2017
Available on: Windows
Genre: Visual Novel
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $19.99

Thank you Sekai Project for sending us this game to review!

I have seen many games begin with a disclaimer about the names and characters being fictitious, but A Clockwork Ley-Line: The Borderline of Dusk takes it a bit further to note that the characters in this game are also 18 or older. While there are some moral concerns in this title, this review is based on the Steam version without the available 18+ patch installed.

The story begins with the main character receiving a letter of acceptance for a college he did not apply to. Besides the magical blue birds flying out of the envelope, the promise of granting any wish catches his eye. With his sick brother in mind, he sets forth on his adventure in checking out this mysterious school.

On his first day at school, Koga Michiru meets his first friend by catching him as he accidentally falls out of a window. In order to save his life, he winds up breaking a valuable statue of the school’s founder. As it turns out, this wasn’t an ordinary statue, but a seal that kept magical mists at bay. With the seal broken, chaos ensues and Koga Michiru along with his new friend are recruited into a bureau to solve these mysterious cases. The principal accepts their duties as repayment for the valuable statue that broke.

A Clockwork Ley-Line: The Borderline of Dusk
Highlights:

Strong Points: Good story and character development; funny scenarios
Weak Points: Steam integration does not work 
Moral Warnings: Lots of references to magic; blood and talismans are required to seal magical items; sexual references and imagery; a male butt is shown along with up skirt shots of females; lots of strong language and blaspheming

The Libra Lapis Lazuli Private Academy isn’t your typical school. After classes, the students are whisked away to their dorms and are not allowed to leave until the following day. A disciplinary committee strictly enforces these rules. The Bureau for the Investigation of Special Affairs and disciplinary committee often work together to solve cases affecting both the day and nighttime students. At night, the school magically transforms and students from another dimension appear and attend classes there.

Some of the cases you’ll get dragged into involve missing items, students acting abnormally or even left unconscious. Most of the time a magic infused item called a mist is behind the fiasco. For example, there was a rash of keys missing and the main character and a female bureau member spent more than a day handcuffed to each other as a result of the key being taken by a mist right before their eyes. It took him a while to be forgiven for his little pranks but he had no idea that there was a fairy on the loose swiping keys on the campus. As it turns out, the fairy was asked to find a key, but no details of its appearance were given so she took every one she could find. Once getting to the source of the fairy and unlocking the handcuffs, this case is solved.

Like many visual novels, you are given choices on how to answer various questions. I like how you can save at the questions and I highly recommend doing so. Answering incorrectly will cause you to lose the respect of your colleagues so loading and retrying is worth the effort. Some other nice features include the ability to lock save files or to skip ahead to the next prompt if your previous save was a ways back.

A Clockwork Ley-Line: The Borderline of Dusk
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 54%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 0/10
Sexual Content - 6/10
Occult/Supernatural - 2/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The overall interface is really nicely done and has a lot of polish to it. I like the animated clockwork gears in the pause menu and the voice overs on the menu is a nice touch as well even if I can’t understand it in Japanese. The voice acting is all Japanese, but there are subtitles for native English speakers. Unfortunately, the subtitles have some character spacing issues and some trailing letters appear out of place from the words they go to. Graphically, the artwork is really well done and I like the appearance and facial expression changes of the characters.

Each of the characters have distinct personalities and much humor is derived from their differences and clashes. The dialogue and language get heated at times and pretty much every curse word (d*mn, h*ll, *ss, b*stard, sh*t, f*ck) and some blaspheming is seen in the subtitles. In order to dispel mists, a bureau member must cut herself and place a talisman on them. The blood dripping from her hand is shown. Some awkward situations are present in this game and nudity is referenced but not explicitly shown other than a male’s rear end and some female underwear shots.

Since the Steam overlay wasn’t working for me, I’m not exactly sure how much time I spent playing this game. I will estimate about six hours since A Clockwork Ley-Line: The Borderline of Dusk is broken down into five episodes and a finale, and each of the episodes are roughly an hour in length.

If the magical and moral issues don’t bother you, there is much to like in this visual novel. It’s part of a trilogy and I look forward to the release of the future installments. The all ages version on Steam sells for $19.99.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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