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Path of the Midnight Sun Review – An ambitious path to follow

Path of the Midnight Sun is an ambitious game with a lot of care put into it, and is a truly unique experience to play.
Path Of The Midnight Sun Review Image
Image: Studio Daimon

Before anything can be said about Path of the Midnight Sun, the game’s humble beginnings have to be acknowledged. This indie title began life as a romhack for Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones created by the developer, and through a successful Kickstarter and a lot of hard work on their part it has evolved into something much bigger.

Knowing that alone helps me to appreciate Path of the Midnight Sun a lot more. Ambition is something that’s sewn into the game’s very core, and that ambition is easy to see in pretty much every facet of the game. Path of the Midnight Sun tries things in places other indie RPGS wouldn’t, and while not every feature works as well as others, you have to appreciate the developers for trying.

One such ambitious step the game takes is with its voice acting. From the very start of the game, Path of the Midnight Sun features full voice acting. I’ve got to give the actors some credit here, as they really put some work into voicing their characters and it does the game some serious favors. I felt most characters had a voice that really fit them and it wasn’t very jarring even at its worst.

Another ambitious feature that unfortunately doesn’t work so well is the animation. The game features original art that the developers chose to animate not through traditional means, but with what seems to be photo manipulation. It works better sometimes than at others, but overall I found it kind of jarring and distracting.

I felt like the effort gone into animating a lot of the game could have been better spent elsewhere, and at times the visuals would have been better without any such animation. The only time I really appreciated the animation was during the visual-novel dialogue scenes. The characters in these scenes were animated differently, and while they were still a little stunted and jarring, it was a weird kind of like that I actually enjoyed a lot.

Unfortunately, I found aspects of the story to be the least ambitious parts of the game. The story is inoffensive and easily digestible and makes use of a lot of tropes pretty common for JRPGs and anime. The use of a Demon King and giving the main character amnesia were both pretty tropey and had payoffs I found pretty predictable.

That being said, it is a story carried by its likable characters. I had a few favorites pop up, but overall I found all of them to be pretty great and memorable. That alone makes the story worth playing.

Faratras is easily the most interesting character in the game, and I appreciated the time the game gave to explaining her duties as the Demon King’s seal. Her arc in the story is the most engaging, and I generally enjoyed the game more whenever she was on screen. Suzaku is clearly meant to serve as a blank slate for the player to project upon, which in a fully voiced game just comes across as him lacking personality.

Path Of The Midnight Sun Helios Image
Image: Studio Daimon

The game’s music is passable, but nothing really stands out. I found this especially disappointing as JRPGS tend to have some of the best music you can find in games, but there’s nothing offensive about the score.

Path of the Midnight Sun combines visual novel-type gameplay when exploring towns and interacting with characters with a turn-based RPG with some clear inspirations from other JRPGs. Combat is easily one of the most interesting and unique mechanics in the game, your success in which is not only determined by careful planning in battle but also your choices made outside of it.

Combat begins on a tactical map which you navigate by moving your party to different spaces. You enter battle if your group touches the same area as an enemy, making you the attacker if you approached them on your turn or the defender if the enemy approached you. Different spaces provide buffs or debuffs to attackers and defenders, rewarding careful planning or punishing recklessness.

The combat itself is turn-based, with you issuing commands to your entire team before the turn ends and then watching them execute them based on the turn order. Skills require mana or health to execute, and mana is generated during each battle and discarded at the end.

Path Of The Midnight Sun Farantras Image
Image: Studio Daimon

A character’s sanity determines their mana generation, and sanity is raised or lowered based on dialogue options in the visual novel segments. This means its really important to pay attention to the well-being of your strongest or favorite characters.

Sort of like Valkyrie Chronicles, every action you take in the game is tied to a ticking clock. And I do mean every action; Moving on the tactical map, exploring towns and even taking turns in combat will cost you time.

Story progression is tied to time, which means it quickly becomes your most valuable and stressful resource to manage. The game makes you decide if it is worth taking on that side quest or even healing your party when everything costs precious time. Eventually, I found the time mechanic more stressful than engaging, which I felt took away from the overall experience.

The Final Word

Path of the Midnight Sun is an indie game full of ambition. While not everything the game tries works so well, you have to appreciate it for trying. With great characters and interesting mechanics, overall I had a good time and I can see this game being someone’s hidden gem favorite.


Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! Path of the Midnight Sun is available via Steam.

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