Sometimes there is beauty to be seen in the mundane, and Blue Reflection: Second Light seems to excel in creating an enjoyable experience focused on building relationships with its cast of characters and performing day-to-day tasks. While the game is still a fair bit away from its official release, I was more than pleased with what I was able to play. And walking away from my experience with this Blue Reflection sequel, I’m eager to see what the full release will have in store.
Blue Reflection: Second Light opens with Ao, the protagonist of this sequel, being mysteriously transported to an impossible landscape of what appears to be an average Japanese school surrounded by an endless, blue ocean. Like the other girls that live here, Ao has no recollection as to how she came here or any greater knowledge of her past. The narrative is concerned with unlocking these memories and forging bonds with the other girls that arrived in this mysterious space between. The mechanics of the game tie this into the narrative neatly, as deepening your bond with Ren, Kokoro, and Yuri rewards you with TP which can be spent to upgrade passive stats called Talents for each individual character. It encourages players to accept fetch quests, which are relatively easy and are usually concerned with gathering items or fighting a certain amount of a designated enemy to complete.
Combat in Blue Reflection: Second Light is fast and exhilarating in these early hours. Players need to rack up combos to increase their damage potential by swiftly and fluidly selecting abilities to defeat enemies. Ether is a type of energy players can consume to unleash their skills, which can quickly be gained through attacking. This leaves little down-time during encounters, as it functions on an active time battle system almost comparable to the Atelier series.
Additionally, every character falls into their own niche, with Ren fitting into a more healing-focused role as opposed to Kokoro, who is more or less a damage-dealer. A support system also exists, with a character at the bottom right-hand of the screen players can track. An auto function is also available, but is fairly lackluster and I found myself grinding through fights more efficiently by playing out the battles myself in the build.
The PC version of the game also offers controller support, which I found functions a bit better than its keyboard and mouse controls in the build I played. In regards to accessibility, keybinds can be reassigned at any and all times. However, subtitles are relatively small, which isn’t great when running the game in windowed mode.
The visual presentation of Blue Reflection: Second Light seems second to none. The user interface is sleek and minimalist in a way that functions well without it being impossible to read. While certain menus do have an overabundance of white space, the stylistic flair of its menus is a lovely touch. Motion graphics transition smoothly and the color scheme compliments the overall design well. Additionally, the environments and the look of the character models are just lovely. Everything has this sort of sketch-like quality to it, which makes everything somehow feel soft. It suits the melancholy tone of the story and beautiful piano and synth score impossibly well.
Blue Reflection: Second Light is set in a world that seems like it might be wonderful to simply walk around in it. To watch the soft yellow light pour in through autumn leaves or to listen to the chirping of birds accompanied by its gorgeous score. I loved gathering things to cook and craft for my companions, and I was always more than eager to return to The Faraway–another impossible space that exists through a shrine just situated outside of the school. After some initial time attending the “school,” I’m extremely excited for the full release of Blue Reflection: Second Light. Its current narrative hooks have me interested to see where the story will go and what new environments I will possibly be able to explore.