I have to say now that reviewing this game is rather hard for me. This is a game that seems almost made for me. From the dark moody atmosphere to the lovely stylized characters to even the simply effective gameplay. And it’s hard to be objective when many aspects are neatly tailored to your interests. Regardless, this review will be as impartial as any other review on this site. So, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at MIST by 395games!
The game begins with the Main Character—whom you can name—in the forest listening to an emergency broadcast about a mysterious mist that seems to be sweeping through the city and bringing about strange occurrences. He makes it to his late grandfather’s cabin before the mist gets to him. At the cabin, He saves a young woman named Robin (pictured below) from a shadowy creature and they retreat to the cabin. From then on the MC has to find out what is going on and what connection the titular mist has to do with all the strange happenings. What is interesting here how the story brings in creepy aspects and spins it into a moody atmosphere without it becoming depressing or gloomy. The beginning also sets up a certain tension between Robin and the MC which obviously leads into some very interesting and sexy scenes.
The MC also meets two other girls later in the game—one of them being his sister if your game is patched—and slowly uncovers more of what’s going on. What I love here is that the overarching mystery is genuinely interesting and many aspects of the story fit into the picture like puzzle pieces. As you learn more of what’s happening previous incidents start to make sense and the bigger picture gets all the more clearer.
All the female characters here are lovely as well, and I don’t just mean they’re easy on the eyes. All of them have distinct personalities and feel like different people. Robin for example starts out a bit fearful but then later finds her footing in her relationship with you. And then you find out how different she really is in the bedroom. Another character is very openly-natured but also very immature. The character dynamics here are interesting to watch unfold.
However, one thing I did notice was that some segments of the story could have been slightly better paced as there were certain sections in between story beats that dragged just slightly too long for my taste. Nevertheless, this is really a minor quibble in an otherwise well-crafted story with fantastic characters.
One last thing I have to say before I close on this section is that I have to commend the developer on how they included and handled the mild themes of mental illness. It’s easy to mess up here but they have managed to have a realistic portrayal without weighing down the game.
MIST is not your typical VN where you can choose which girls you pursue. All the girls open up to you as the game progresses and you are clearly going to end up in a harem. Where it differs from traditional VN’s is in its survival and combat mechanics. When you first arrive at the cabin, you realize that your food reserves are low and you will have to forage for supplies. Granted, the developer has added an option that eases this mechanic by giving you a surplus of food for those who want less of a challenge. When foraging for food or completing quests in the forest, the player will be attacked by shadow monsters that lurk within the forest. These sequences are turn-based and you have different options of attack.
You have a health bar and a stamina bar and if either depletes entirely your scavenge run comes to an end and you return home. You also have a light attack and a heavy attack which consumes stamina (as seen in the image on the right). And later on, you gain stats that you can level up through combat.
This setup might seem a bit simple on paper but in practice, it works surprisingly well. It’s engaging enough to be enjoyable in between story segments but it’s not so intrusive as to distract from the rest of the game. The balance is perfect here and I don’t think any large change to the combat system is necessary for the game’s current build.
I have to point out, however, that halfway through the game—if the player is unprepared—they will have to grind stats in order to get past a certain section. This is a problem only if the player undervalues the boons that leveled stats provide. Still, it creates a bit of undesirable grind. Maybe a buff to XP gain might mitigate this issue.
There are a few other mechanics that appear as the game advances but they’re relatively simple to grasp and use. On another note, the player can gain a bit of extra stamina per run if they were previously intimate with one of the girls or as the game calls it “morale boosts.” This incentivizes the player to replay previous scenes so that they can push just a little bit further in their next run.
One of the best things about MIST is how detailed and beautiful all the set pieces are. Almost all of the locations are beautifully rendered and are thematically diverse. From mountainous taigas to plant-overrun cities. The locations in the game are just as pretty as the girls.
And speaking about the girls—they’re just as lovingly rendered. All scenes with the girls are fully animated and are rather erotic. The quality of the animations is superb and is always a treat to watch.
Although, if you aren’t too keen on cartoon-styled character models, you might not find much value here. If you do in fact enjoy this type of style, there’s a lot to love here.
In terms of UI, navigation is pretty straight forward and most things are self-explanatory. The few things that require further insight are decently explained such as the introduction to combat and the in-game gallery menu. The buttons are all well detailed and thematically fit into the style of the game.
MIST was a game that I had discovered only recently but quickly fell in love with. The story was enticing, the girls were sexy and the gameplay was interesting. There was a lot here that was very well done and some that could be done a bit better. Slight pacing issues and a bit of a snag on the gameplay bring it down marginally but on the whole, it was very much an enjoyable experience. I hope that 395games continues to work on MIST and keeps it at the high standard it has already achieved.