Though Asphyxia was written by the same person that wrote Strawberry Vinegar, it’s almost the complete opposite in its tone. Seriously, this game is depressing. For a while I thought it was just a morbid tale, but as I kept playing, it became clear that it was rooted in something more.

Looking through the extras in the game menu taught me that it was in fact trying to convey themes of the romantic era, and suddenly everything made sense. It’s a visual novel about the romantic poets, only they’re all teenaged girls at a boarding school. It’s clear that a lot of research went into making these characters pretty authentic, and it does provide insight into the world views of the different poets – it adds a very cool layer of depth. Without that, I’m not sure I’d recommend the story, but as it is, it’s a cool concept.

You should play this if…

You are particularly interested in the romantic poets, or aren’t opposed to reading through something rather morose. There’s a big trigger warning for rape, suicide and depression, and the ‘main’ character suffers with some things that hit pretty close to home. It did kind of make for a bit of self-reflection on my part, but for someone feeling extremely vulnerable, it might be a little too dark/destructive. It’s also a story about unrequited love, so don’t go look to this one if you’re hoping for a happy ending.

Released: August 2015
Played: July 2017
Read the QRM entry for this game →