Milky Way Prince: The Vampire Star is a point and click visual novel. Prepare yourself for a romance with a dark side.
The protagonist Nuki, is a bit of a lonely dreamer. He holds onto an old fairy tale book from his childhood about a prince from the stars and loves astronomy. One night he meets a sad young man after following a shooting star. He’s strange but handsome and Nuki can’t help but be drawn to him. Nuki asks the man if he is alright and they end up going to get a drink together where the mysterious man introduces himself as Sune, as they awkwardly converse as strangers. Things quickly escalate and they end up making out in a bathroom and exchanging phone numbers.
Their relationship at first seems sweet and going well, but everything quickly spirals out of control as Sune seems to be dealing with paranoia, depression and low self-esteem. Nuki desperately tries to prove his love and willingness to help but is constantly pushed away. In the process, his own mental health becomes jeopardised.
This game has alternate endings and I’m pretty sure I ended up with a ‘bad end’. There are subtle hints about what you can try to do differently, as towards the end of a playthrough, the game will show you Sune’s perspective and the reactions to what options you chose while playing as Nuki, although it is a little difficult to remember what you chose on a previous playthrough so it could use some ‘quality of life’ hints in that department. I ended up on the same path twice, which you can follow with a chart on the wall in Nuki’s home. There are achievements to unlock to reward you trying different paths and each playthrough should only take a few hours.
Milky Way Prince is an indie project with a minimalist art style. For the majority of the game, it uses black and red hues to give that dark mysterious feel to it. The designs of the menus and splash screens have astronomy and astrology themes and motifs which nicely fit with the theme of the story. I also giggled when I realised that even the telescope image at the end of romance scenes was a metaphor for sex, as nothing graphic is shown. There is a dual use of 2D and 3D artwork, where the scenery is 3D rendered and the characters have a 2D style. There are some slight anime influences in the art style but it is not quite as polished. The characters have a pixel style to them like the art was created in a program like MS Paint.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the music as it used very sparingly, which can make some moments feel a little hollow. It can be completely silent and then the game will blast you with a surprising sound – so be warned! I feel especially that the dialogue scenes where our two boys are hitting it off could have used some music to set that mood. However, the lack of music and only eerie sound effects in some other scenes does create the unsettling mood the game is trying to create. When the music is used, it is quite nice and ambient.
Overall, Milky Way Prince provides an intriguing story that really pulls at your heartstrings. There are some elements of horror and abuse that may put off those looking for a fluffy romance story. But to those of us that love some morbid romance, it is a rare treat!
Milky Way Prince is available now on PC and Mac via Steam, Epic Games Store, GOG, Itch.io, and Humble Store, and is planned for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 and XBox One in the near future.