Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel Review (Switch)

Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel Review: Anything but Shy

Twice Reborn review Switch



Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel has the potential to be a lot for a lot of different people. For me, it was a reminder not to judge a book by its cover. It would not be a stretch at all to call this game “rough around the edges,” and the fact that it begins with a prologue featuring what could literally be called a “vampire Greaser” named Ricky was amusing enough (though perhaps not in the way it was intended to be) to throw me for a loop regarding how it was going to carry itself. But I stuck with it because I wanted to see where it would go—and I’m both happy with and, to be frank, surprised at where it ultimately took me.


Bigger and Better Things


Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel Review Picture 1 - Fangs

Hopefully he won’t have a teething phase…


Initially taking place in 2010 (geez, that was already 13 years ago), Twice Reborn stars 23-year-old graduate student Mark Delaware as he navigates the turbulent waters of young adulthood while preparing himself for what will come after graduation—and by that, I mean a job. Fortunately, Mark, being the talented linguist that he is, already has himself a nice, cushy gig lined up as a translator for the prestigious Society of the Arts—all thanks to some help from his Teaching Assistant overseer and mentor, Professor Michelson. What Mark doesn’t realize, however, is that his upcoming job is something that will ultimately require a lifelong commitment—and more than a bit of blood.

Twice Reborn‘s decision to use a “vampire society” as a primary plot pivot isn’t anything new—in fact, thanks to series like Vampire: The Masquerade, it’s become a bit of a trope. On top of this, the game itself is also quite short—with an average run probably lasting you somewhere between 5 – 7 hours depending on reading speed. Because of this, Twice Reborn had some major potential to end up as little more than a shallow, drama-centric, vampire-themed visual novel. But, to its credit, it didn’t. Naturally, the game did have certain elements that you’d expect a game like this to—I mean, you do literally join a secret vampire society—but these elements weren’t so much driving narrative forces as they were vehicles through which to tell a story focusing on Mark himself. The game deals with a number of themes that I honestly wasn’t expecting—from familial abandonment to the moral (and even religious) implications of being a vampire. Admittedly, I do wish that the game was longer than it ended up being, as you can only do so much with a VN that’s only a handful of hours long, but I was more than pleasantly surprised by what the game’s story had to offer.


Where Your Heart Truly Lies


Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel Review Picture 2 - Decisions

Think before you speak!


Being a Visual Novel and all, the only real interactive element that comes into play with Twice Reborn is the player’s decision to make the occasional decision for Mark throughout his journey—the results of which affect which ending the player gets. Typically, there isn’t a whole lot you can do with the whole player-decision-making aspect without either making a VN ridiculously complicated or turning the game into something else entirely. But, to its credit, Twice Reborn does successfully embellish the formula enough to make it feel somewhat unique.

Twice Reborn features what could essentially be called three primary “stat groups” focused on in-game relationships which will ebb and flow based on decisions made by the player. The first two sets of stats are basically the same—with one tracking how well you’re doing with factions and the other how well you’re doing with specific individuals. The third group, however, is a little different. Consisting of a single stat, “Bloodlust,” this stat “group” measures how hungry Mark is. Unlike the other groups, which can be maxed out or depleted entirely without any kind of direct consequence, filling up your bloodlust meter entirely will immediately result in a premature ending. Because of this, you have to make sure that you feed from time to time—and this, dear reader, makes things a lot more interesting. Rather than always letting players make decisions that they feel will lead to certain outcomes, the Bloodlust meter’s existence will, depending upon the path you choose, have you occasionally doing some things against your better judgment simply so that you can stay sane. It’s a really simple mechanic, but it’s incredibly effective—and I’d love to see more things like this in future VNs.


Growing Pains


Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel Review Picture 3 - Dameon

The mistakes may be little, but they all start to add up after a while.


Given that I started out this review by calling Twice Reborn “rough around the edges,” I’d be remiss if I didn’t delve into things a little further. Overall, Twice Reborn is a more-than-serviceable visual novel. But it’s also got some hiccups that are both noticeable and consistent. Overall, the voice acting is just fine in this game (at least when it comes to the more prominent characters) when it comes to the actual voice acting. The same can’t exactly be said for the sound quality of said voice acting, however—the sound mixing is inconsistent at times, you can hear crackling when certain people speak, and it just feels like there was a general lack of cohesiveness when it came to how much attention was paid to ensuring each character sounded the best that they could.

I also couldn’t help but feel as though this game should have gotten proofread more. I get that a game with a lot of dialogue might have one or two errors regarding spelling and grammar. Twice Reborn, however, definitely had more than one or two—and that’s really not a good thing considering how short this game is for a Visual Novel.


Less Than Perfect, More Than Palatable



Playing through Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel was kind of like receiving a homemade baked good from a friend. Its wrapping might be a little crinkled and the presentation of the product itself isn’t exactly perfect, but after finally sinking your teeth into it, you realize that it’s not just good, but better than you expected. And, of course, you can tell that it was made with plenty of love.

Final Verdict: 3.5/5

Available on: Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, PC ; Publisher: Eastasiasoft; Developer: First Step Cinematics; Players: 1; Released: February 22, 2023; ESRB: M for Mature; MSRP: $14.99

Full disclosure: A Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel code was provided to Hey Poor Player by the publisher.

Starting out with nothing more than a Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Kenny has happily been gaming for almost his entire life. Easily-excitable and a bit on the chatty side (once you get to know him), Kenny has always been eager to share gaming-related thoughts, opinions, and news with others and has been doing so on Hey Poor Player since 2014. Although his taste in gaming spreads across a wide number of developers, consoles, and genres, Kenny holds a particular fondness for Nintendo handheld consoles. He is also very proud of his amiibo collection. Some of his favorite games include Tetris Attack, Pokémon Black Version 2, The World Ends With You, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Donkey Kong Country 2, The Binding of Isaac, Kirby's Dreamland 3, Mega Man X, and Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.

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