Game Info:

The Cherry Orchard
Developed by Team Dogpit
Published by Team Dogpit
Released on November 20, 2020
Available on Linux, macOS, Windows
Genre: Visual Novel
ESRB Rating: None
Number of Players: Singleplayer
Price: $6.99 on Steam

Thank you Team Dogpit for sending us this game to review!

The Cherry Orchard is a 3D visual novelization of Anton Chekhov’s famous play of the same name, and is considered by many critics to be one of his best works. It has a general vaporwave art and musical style, which reminded me of many videos on the Internet that have a similar style that are labeled as “aesthetic.” This isn’t a bad thing, it sets the game apart from many that may be of a similar genre.

This is a kinetic visual novel, meaning that there are no choices to be made, and thus the game is linear. It takes about an hour to fully play through, meaning it’s great for those looking for a quick play. The user can pause, skip forward one line, skip backward one line, or toggle the auto-advancement of dialogue on or off.

The Cherry Orchard

Strong Points: Stellar voice acting that is paced like real conversation; great soundtrack; memorable art and characters; extremely well polished
Weak Points: 3D shaders sometimes act odd due to the angle; some facial expressions are unnatural and awkward; only plays for an hour; lip syncing is barely present
Moral Warnings: Several mentions of abuse, drunkenness, and violence; b*tch used once; several uses of the Lord’s name in vain

The plot centers around an older lady by the name of Lubov who is absolutely atrocious at financial management, leading her to be in immense debt. Thus, she is forced to sell her plot of land, which includes a mansion and the surrounding titular cherry orchard. The co-protagonist, named Hermes, is a peasant-turned-rich man who keeps on bugging her to transform the land into apartments to rent out so she can make more money. The auction for the land is on August 22, and the majority of the story is centered around this date. In all honesty, it’s a complex dynamic that I can’t share without revealing some major spoilers.

Many of the relational tensions in the story are centered around the aristocrat-serf line that was only abolished fifty or so years before the story takes place, which is in 1904. There are several references that the characters make to their childhoods, which are generally full of abuse and drunkenness. There are also a few references to violence that the characters have had to put up with. The characters use the Lord’s name in vain several times throughout the game, and a use of b*tch is encountered near the beginning as well. There’s even a moment where a character calls another an incel, which I found quite humorous, as the usage of that word is an anachronistic contradiction to the setting.

The graphics in The Cherry Orchard are actually quite impressive. They are rendered in real time, and the characters have generally clean meshes and do a good job of providing the vaporwave effect that the developers were intending for. There were a few moments where the facial expressions looked unnatural for the emotion that they were trying to convey, and the lip syncing was not matched up to the voice actors’ voices that well. Models occasionally phased through themselves or other models as well. There were also some moments where the shaders were acting up, by rendering shadows in strange ways on some of the polygons, or where an effect wasn’t quite turned off yet.

The Cherry Orchard
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 89%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics – 8.5/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 72%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 2/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 6/10

Speaking of effects, there were actually some incredible visual effects that were pulled off in this game that wouldn’t have been possible in a 2D or even a live-action environment. I was blown away by some of the transformations that were pulled off, and they really brought me deeper into the story and made me feel invested in the characters. I found myself rooting for certain characters in suspenseful moments, and facepalming at their stupidity in others, in the same way I would if I was listening to the firsthand account of my best friend.

The text is very polished. I didn’t see a single typo, which might not seem impressive for a one-hour game, but I’ve seen some games that aren’t that much longer than this one have a few typos. The music and sound were incredibly well coordinated with each other, and the voice acting blew me away. Conversations flowed naturally, and the voices didn’t sound stiff or forced at all. The actors are clearly incredibly talented, and their work drew me into the story’s world even more. The music is well composed and fits the intended vaporwave theme to a T. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is not for sale, but if it was, I could see myself buying it.

Overall, I enjoyed The Cherry Orchard quite a bit. For one hour, I do think a price tag of $6.99 is asking a bit much, however. Perhaps if it was longer, this price tag would be more reasonable.

- Kittycathead

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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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