Chess of Blades is the second BL game by indie developers ‘Argent Games’. Their first game, Requiescence was released a year ago. In their latest Visual Novel you play as Rivian Varrison a sassy, but often socially awkward, noble. He’s just arrived at his first solo social function, which also happens to be the most daunting – a five day celebration of the King’s birthday. Just when Rivian thought it couldn’t get worse, a handsome and rather handsy stranger warns him of the danger he faces. Help Rivian navigate through webs of lies and deceit as he tries to stay alive while also romancing a sexy beau – talk about having your hands full!
The game features between 7-10 hours of gameplay, with 3 romanceable options and one secret route. There’s 8 endings to experience – a good & bad ending for each route, secret story ending and general bad ending. There’s also an incredible gallery of CGs – the overall number depends on which version of the game you purchase. If you purchase the R18 game – you’ll get 10 CGs per route, if you purchase the PG13 you’ll receive 7 CGs per route (just missing pictures from the sexy time scenes). There’s also a selection of general images and pictures from the secret story. The game has a lovely selection of music and, incredibly, is fully voiced in English!
As mentioned, there are three key guys Rivian can romance – Arden, Franz, and Linnaeus. It’s impossible to choose a favourite route as each guy was so loveable, their routes so well written and their designs so gosh darn sexy! Just to give a quick insight into each of these gorgeous men;
Arden: is Rivian’s childhood friend, he follows Riv like a loyal guard dog. He’s incredibly sweet and often clumsy, but he’ll do anything to protect Riv!
Franz: I never understood why youngsters called handsome guys ‘daddy’ until I met Franz. Dear me, his husky voice calling Riv ‘kitten’ melted me into a puddle as I breathlessly whispered “daddy!” Franz is the stranger that warns Riv of the danger he faces and strives to protect his adorable kitty cat
Linnaeus: When I first met Linnaeus I was concerned that he would just fall into a cliche tsundere trope, but oh how I was wrong! Linnaeus is the cool beauty of this trio, and with his poison tongue he melts his way into our heart. But behind that cool exterior is a heart of gold…and some rather romantic desires!
I personally played the game in this order – Franz –> Linnaeus –> Arden –> Secret Story. I would recommend playing it this way too as Franz’s route flows quite naturally on from the prologue and Arden’s route wraps up the game quite nicely. I don’t believe you can play the side story until you complete Arden’s route. But ultimately it doesn’t matter which main route you play first, as the perils you face changes with each guy. For example, in one route you’ll face a murder and in another a kidnapping. This also means that those you trust as allies can quite quickly turn to enemies in the next route – trust no one, perhaps not even your lover!
On top of the fantastic cast of gorgeous guy, the game also includes some lovely side characters (and villains). From the sweet maid’s daughter, Hazel to the gorgeous noblewoman, Celeste, I really enjoyed seeing how they interacted with Rivian. As much as this game is a romance one, it’s also about learning to navigate court life. Do we keep our cards close to our chest, or blab about anything and everything? Is Rivian kind to the servants or cold and curt like the other nobles? This isn’t just a story about you and your babe, it’s one that involves the entire court, and your fate is dictated by the relationships your form or snub.
If there was anything I had to critique about this game, is that I need at least 4-5 more routes or 100 more hours of gameplay! I absolutely adored this game and wish I could go back in time and play the whole thing once again. I’m going to be praying to the yaoi gods that Argent Games will be creating DLC with new routes or a fan disc. Rivian was such a hilariously relatable character, I want to continue his story, and see how his relationship with his babes continues to grow and flourish in the future.
This game was such an incredible way to begin 2018! The story was gripping, with an exciting group of characters and some hot and heavy romance. I enjoyed every single route, and really appreciated the incredible voice acting which brought all the characters to life! Adding to this, detailed backgrounds, music and the fantastic writing truly made this a top tier game. I can’t wait to see what other incredible games Argent has in store for the future. If they’re anything like this, Argent is setting itself up as a top BL gaming company.
The game is currently available on Itch.io and will soon be released on Steam! The game is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. If you want to join to convo on Chess of Blades check out the Argent Games Discord Server! You can also follow Argent games on these social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
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