Hillside by DarkBlue is about the daughter of a supermodel who is being stalked. You, the MC, get hired to protect her. The only problem is that the supermodel doesn’t trust you. So why did she hire you? Well, that’s for you to find out by playing the game.
One thing that’s going to colour my opinion of this game is the developer’s choice to use single option menus. As far as I’m concerned, if there’s only a single option, it doesn’t need to be a menu. Right up front there are two in a row that serve no point except to make me waste effort and reach for the mouse.
However, I wouldn’t be interested in reviewing this game if I didn’t like it, and there’s a lot to like. For starters there’s surprisingly few typos and grammar issues, which warms this editor’s cold, dead, Grammar Nazi heart. The writing itself is good, if a little stilted at times, but that’s just me being nit-picky. The characters fit well into the overarching theme of the story (so far), and that theme has two main aspects; the supermodel mother who is deeply affected by her history with men, and the daughter you’re hired to protect, who is also deeply affected by the words of a supposed friend. Even the MC has a backstory that has only really been hinted at, but seems like it’ll be interesting if it gets expanded further.
There are many themes explored, with hints towards the #MeToo movement and the dark side of celebrity. The hints aren’t so subtle, but they’re well handled.
The art is fairly standard, but the characters are posed well, with very few clipping issues to speak of, and a few really beautiful renders. The posing especially caught my eye in terms of the interacting figures and the care taken to make sure characters holding hands were realistic and clip-free. The lighting, however, seems to change from screen to screen in the same scene, which is something that needs to be looked at.
The only real problem I have with this game are the single choice menus. They may not be an issue for many players, but for me, they just add an unnecessary interruption. Menus are for choices, and that’s it.
Despite that issue I’ve been ranting about, Hillside is a good game, and I hope DarkBlue gets the support needed to continue the story, because I’ll definitely be looking forward to more.