Three Visual Novels from Nikita Kaf!

Nikita Kaf - Featured Image

Introduction

Nikita Kaf Productions, led by Russian author Nikita Kaf, is a publishing house dedicated to both fiction and non-fiction. Starting with the creation of the Russian literature website dystopia.me back in 2012, Kaf has since worked on both fiction and non-fiction, leading up to his interest in turning fiction into a video game and with it the creation of My Name is You.

This review will cover the three visual novels created by Kaf, all dealing with different subjects. Each game includes the original Russian script and its English translation, as well as voice actors for the two languages.

Lighthouse Keeper

Lighthouse Keeper - Banner Image

Released: November 2020
Price: $2.99
Engine: Construct

Platforms: Windows
Available on: itch.io, Steam

The briefest game among the bunch, Lighthouse Keeper follows the life of a lonely lighthouse operator. Equipped with only a tear-off calendar, the titular protagonist has zero connection with the world at large and even prefers not to interact with anything other than the lighthouse – a surviving relic from the first World War.

Lighthouse Keeper - Screenshot

Made for the Russian Keep Calm Do Games jam, the game very briefly explores the mental toll of extreme isolation and the idea that holding on to it deranges the soul and mind. What sets the English version of the game apart from the other two is the narration by the Russian VA Andrey Voronin, giving Lighthouse Keeper a unique touch.

The game includes two minigames, mostly maintenance of the lighthouse, that affect how the ending will play out. Unless you fail one of them, you might never know there were other endings at all.

My Name is You

My Name is You - Banner Image

Released: August 2020
Price: $2.99
Engine: Construct

Platforms: Windows
Available on: itch.io, Steam

My Name is You. And it’s the only unusual thing in my life is a game following the daily life of the weirdly named protagonist You, a weak and tired man suffering from an incurable illness. Unlike Lighthouse Keeper, there are a variety of choices that You can make, leading to vastly different endings.

My Name is You - Choices Screenshot

The game deals with You’s “unusually usual” life and the various absurdities that interrupt it. Starting from an invitation by a former special one, to a new guard hired to protect the two-man insurance company, and even thugs from the past, You’s monotonous and boring life has an aura of mystery and intrigue only explored by seeing all the endings on offer. Despite the lackluster ending, I found You to be my favorite across all three games, especially when it comes to character development.

The English narration, done by the VA Frank Fernandez, is unique in that he provides each character with a distinct voice, breathing a lot of personality and liveliness into My Name is You.

Monsters of Little Haven

Monsters of Little Haven - Banner Image

Released: August 2020
Price: $4.99
Engine: Construct

Platforms: Windows
Available on: itch.io, Steam

The longest of the three, Monsters of Little Haven feature the trappings of little boy Kenneth Murphy, as he fends off the monster chasing his sister, Esme. Compared to the other two games in this collection, Monsters has a juvenile feel to it since the siblings drive the story and often quarrel over the simplest things!

Monsters of Little Haven - Screenshot

Like My Name is You, choices allow you to reach one of eight possible endings, each of which let you learn more about the history of the Murphy family, Little Haven, and the monsters that are lurking in the darkness. The game has more extensive dialogue than Lighthouse Keeper or My Name is You and may take an hour or two to see one of its endings.

The narration by English VA Jim D. Johnston does not give each character their unique voice, however, he makes up for it with some hammy voiceovers, such as whenever he says the phrase “Thunder rumbled!”

Artstyle and Audio

All three games share the same base aesthetics of black and white visuals combined with effects such as film grain, with some differences. Lighthouse Keeper uses looping pixelated images, emphasizing the monotony of the operator’s life and his strange ways. My Name is You’s film grain, along with the portrayed backgrounds, not only sets the game in the past but adds to the gloominess of the setting. Monsters of Little Haven on the other hand uses cartoonish sprites for the characters, adding to the innocent, child-like feeling of the game.

Lighthouse Keeper - Radio Screenshot

The soundtrack is also varied in all three games, with Lighthouse Keeper‘s music evoking a sense of loneliness, My Name is You’s emphasizing just how boring the man’s life is, and Monsters of Little Haven setting the carefree yet dark mood of the children’s explorative antics.

In Conclusion and Giveaway

With a wide array of topics, superb voice acting and unique visual aesthetics, you can’t go wrong with Nikita Kaf’s interactive fiction, especially if you want a brief fiction experience. Overall, I recommend checking them all out, but especially My Name is You.

In addition, we’re giving away ten bundles of Steam keys for the three games, in addition to Schastye and Milk inside a bag of milk inside a bag of milk! To have a chance at winning, simply join our Discord server and respond to the giveaway announcement! The winners will be chosen on Monday, 23 November.

Interested in other narrative experiences? Come take a brief look!
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