The House in Fata Morgana is a mystery/horror title that tells the tale of a mansion that has seen many ages come and go, yet it alone remains the same. Stories speak of a witch that resides inside that brings misfortune to all who reside within. We start of the game in this very same mansion, devoid of any color and without a single memory of who or what we are. The only life to be found there is a pale looking maid that while friendly enough has this certain unnatural presence about her. Seemingly out of concern she asks that you experience all of the mansion’s history in an attempt to regain yourself.
This is not a story of time travel but merely observing it’s long history over various time eras. One of the first things that you will notice is how odd the artstyle is. Characters have an uncanny look to them and all the backgrounds are done in a style that resembles paintings. Our first story is one of two noble siblings that spend all their time together and live happy lives. And indeed they do, it takes quite a long while for anything of interest to occur which should be taken into account if you are the impatient type. It isn’t until Chapter 2 that it really picks up and it quickly becomes apparent that this will not be your typical Visual Novel.
Everything ends in ruin due to the Witch as you witness all the tales of people long since gone and forgotten. They all have only two things in common. One is that they take place in the mansion and second is the appearance of a white haired girl with red eyes in every story. Little is known about her while every other character has plenty of background and screen-time to get you invested before the inevitable. While there is no voice acting and the characters visually appear off it does not make any of their actions have less weight or humanity.
As you cannot doubt tell by now this is a grim story that is amplified by an overall amazing soundtrack. It is more than just that however, it’s story is very complex and unpredictable. Just when you think you have a grasp of the situation or what’s to come it will play on your expectations. I quite simply became enthralled by trying to uncover it’s mysteries and could not for the life of me stop thinking about this game until I reached it’s conclusion. As overwhelming as exploring different time periods sounds it handles the transitions very well and focuses on a handful of characters at a time.
There are choices to be made that will decide your fate and it does possess a few different ends depending on your choices. Most will be a simple dead end but there are some fleshed out interesting ones. It is a long way to get the true end, every time you think the end is near the plot reveals something you missed. It is quite something how they put so much seemingly minor things out in the open and have you kicking yourself for not noticing sooner. Overall it took me nearly 40 hours to fully complete from start to finish and minus the first few slow-burning hours, was completely hooked from start to finish.
After getting the true end you unlock all the artwork, music and an awesome behind the scene look of the characters. The translation is of extremely high quality and I was only able to spot one minor error throughout it all. Only small gripe with the game is that it is stuck in a 4:3 ratio so much of the screen is unused. With the technical part aside, this is not the type of game that shows gore but it does have plenty of blood and very terrible things will occur. It is relentlessly depressing yet has enough fun and lighthearted moments as to not dull your sense of caring when tragedy after tragedy occurs.
To put it bluntly, The House in Fata Morgana is a masterpiece. It’s narrative is quite frankly in a league of it’s own compared to not only visual novels but stories in general. The emotion packed soundtrack always plays a fitting song in the perfect moments and has a large selection of tracks to avoid repetition. Art in it is an either love it or hate it affair though it certainly does fit the theme of uncertainty. Assuming that you are fine with pretty dark subjects this is a story well worth reading even if you are not into video games in general.