Beyond Eden is a Boys Love visual novel by Studio Pieplus. The story is set during the Victorian era, and follows our protagonist, or more like antagonist, Alex. Alex Wake returns to Ashgrove Park after nearly 10 years. He had spent his childhood with the Eldenic family, and the years he spent with them were anything but nice. Now he’s returned and he’s hell-bent on revenge. The game has six different routes that Alex can go down, five of these are romanceable characters and one is not. The five romaceable routes have a minimum of two endings (good and bad) and a maximum of four endings (two bad endings, one okay ending and one good ending). The non-romance route only has the two endings (good and bad). It took me about 2.5 hours to finish my first route, and 30 minutes to unlock all the endings for that route. A massive thank you to Studio Pieplus for providing me with a press copy of the game.
Beyond Eden is a beautifully crafted revenge story, where each play-through unlocks new mysteries and questions our morality. The game is designed so that you have to play through certain routes before you unlock others. This way, players piece together the secrets of Ashgrove Park and Alex’s past. This in turn ultimately influences the player’s choices. For example, on my first walkthrough I was very much “we must protect everyone, Alex you’re an awful human being!” by the end of my 5th ending I was ready to hand him the matches to burn the Edenic’s to the ground! The story of Alex and his revenge is one that will challenge the player to consider forgiveness and retribution. Endings range from absolutely heart-breaking to uplifting romance, all beautifully written which are sure to bring tears to your eyes.
Besides exploring Alex’s revenge, we also learn that the Edenic’s are not a picture-perfect family. Each character has their own hidden secrets, pain and most importantly things they want to protect. There is almost a sadistic pleasure in this game is seeing how Alex finds and exploits these for his own means. However, because of the very dark theme of this game, I will point out that there are some dubious consent scenes that may upset some players. Each character within the game is so well-developed, but what truly brings these characters to life is the voice acting. It’s so incredibly well done, and helps players connect with the characters – we can hear the pain in their voice, and share in their joyful laughter.
On top of this the game design is absolutely spectacular. Character sprites have a range of emotions, and change fluidly. Background designs are quite enchanting, especially the inside of the mansion which truly makes players feel like you’ve been transported back to the 19th century. Each CG had so much detail, and with over 70 to collect it is truly an impressive collection. As Beyond Eden is a mature game, you can definitely expect some sexier pictures.
Besides the fantastic story and characters, the game has a number of fun special features. First and foremost in their interactive mode which usually comes on when CGs show up. The interactive mode allows players to click around to hear special voice clips and learn more about the scene. It’s a very fun feature, but definitely has some areas that it could be expanded on – maybe where you can cop a feel during sexy time (huhu~). Each ending has a different song, all of which are pretty fantastic to listen to. You can listen to a sample of the soundtrack over here!
Overall Beyond Eden is an absolute joy to play. The story is an intriguing mixture of romance, drama and mystery. Each character provides a diverse story that pulls at one’s heartstrings as well as confronts our own morals. The voice acting is superb and the CGs and general character designs are beautiful. I highly recommend this game for anyone who enjoys visual novels, and Boys Love games. You can purchase Beyond Eden on Steam over here!